By VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, April 17, 2012
Campaigning on Grievances
In 2008, a mostly unknown Barack Obama ran for president on an inclusive agenda of “hope and change.” That upbeat message was supposed to translate into millions of green jobs, fiscal sobriety, universal healthcare, a resetting of Bush foreign policy, and racial unity.
Four years later, none of those promises will be themes of his 2012 reelection campaign. Gas has more than doubled in price. Billions of dollars have been wasted in insider and subsidized wind and solar projects that have produced little green energy.
Unemployment rates above 8 percent appear the new norm, when 5 percent in the past was dubbed a “jobless recovery.”
From the Middle East to the Korean peninsula, the world seems on the brink. Modern racial relations are at a new low.
If borrowing $4 trillion in eight years was “unpatriotic,” as Obama once labeled George W. Bush, no one quite knows how to term the addition of $5 trillion in new debt in less than four years. Obamacare is unpopular with the public. Its constitutionality now rests with the Supreme Court.
After four years, the claims of “Bush did it” and “it might have been worse” grow stale. So reelection will rest not on a new agenda, or an explanation of what happened, but on a divide-and-conquer strategy. Translated, that means Obama will find fissures in the voting public over fairness, expand them, and then cobble together various angry partisans in hopes of achieving a bare majority. Such an us/them strategy is not new in American history.