Woe is President Obama. His re-election already clouded by a bad economy and a chaotic world, he has picked a lousy time to run against the DNA of America.
The latest bad news for him comes in a Gallup poll showing that a huge majority of Americans aren’t buying what he’s selling. It’s a “fear” survey, and Big Government turns out to be the scariest thing that goes bump in the night for most of us.
The poll finds that 64 percent of adults believe government is the largest threat to the country, far more than those who fear business or organized labor.
It’s not just Republicans (82 percent) and independents (64 percent) who feel that way. Now, 48 percent of Democrats also fear government most, up from 32 percent when Obama took office.
The poll also is bad news for the Occupy Wall Street movement, which, like Obama, has demonized bankers and other business leaders. Despite those attacks, big business is seen as the top threat less now than in 2009, declining from 32 percent to 26 percent, Gallup reports. Organized labor is the top threat among only about 9 percent.
The survey captures the mismatch between Obama’s central planning agenda and what most Americans want and don’t want. It also helps explain why he is having trouble in many states he won in 2008.
The problem is not just the “lousy” economy, as Bill Clinton called it. It’s that Obama has responded to the mess he inherited with attacks on private employers and calls for more and bigger government programs. He has expanded Washington’s power and cost, and most people believe his choices have come at the expense of their future.
So much so that they now see his helping hand as a threat. It’s a trust issue, but it also goes to the heart of American Exceptionalism.
The entitlement culture notwithstanding, most people still don’t want handouts or a president to protect them from all of life’s vagaries. They want a job and freedom from government.
But Obama demonstrated last week that he’s firmly on the other side of that divide. In a speech that some supporters said illustrated his campaign theme, the president was fixated on income inequality.
His Kansas text can be boiled down to this: America is broken and he needs more power to make life fair.
“For most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people,” he said. “Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success.”
He moaned about “those at the very top” who got wealthier and “everybody else” who didn’t.
That’s the Occupy Wall Street message writ plain: 1 percent versus everybody else. I have suspected that was the gist of Obama’s view of America, but rarely has he expressed it so clearly.
He railed against Republicans by distorting their policies as every man for himself, then painted his own view of society in the warm bath of liberal welfare.
“I’m here in Kansas to reaffirm my deep conviction that we’re greater together than we are on our own,” he said vaguely.
“I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules.”
That’s what he says, but here’s what Americans hear: More government is coming, run for your life.