The FDR model for buying presidential elections
By Mark Alexander
In the conservative and business media, there is much perplexity and vexation over the inverse relationship between Barack Hussein Obama's rising job approval ratings and our nation's failing economic status.
Typifying the confusion is this missive from The Wall Street Journal: "The paradox of this presidential campaign is that the worse the economic news gets, the more Barack Obama seems to climb in the polls. The lousy unemployment numbers in May, June, July and August corresponded with a slight rise in Mr. Obama's approval rating. Ditto with the abysmal poverty numbers released two weeks ago."
However, given a little insight into human nature, there is nothing contradictory about Obama's polling and the economies decline. The only thing that perplexes me about these popularity metrics is why anyone would be perplexed.
Now that the latest data on median household income indicates it declined by $4,520, or 8.2 percent, since Obama took office, and U.S. economic growth has been revised downward to a meager 1.3 percent, Obama's lead over the Romney-Ryan ticket will likely increase another point.
A majority of the voters who decide presidential elections -- those in the murky middle between Republicans and Democrats -- are experiencing significant distress about the future of their livelihoods. Thus, they are gravitating toward the more convincing promise of safety and security. In the context of the current presidential campaign, however defiant of logic, the "undecided" are being lured by the greatest of lies -- that socialist statism will protect them.
Some erudite analysts suggest that the upcoming election will mirror the 1980 contest between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. However, unlike the Carter v. Reagan paradigm of the last great recession, when Ronald Reagan devoted his campaign to restoring the grassroots optimism necessary for reversing the crisis of confidence miring our economy in the mud, Romney is facing a much more menacing foe -- an ideological socialist who is operating on the FDR paradigm.
In 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, more than 20 percent of the workforce was idle. At that time, Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched a campaign against Republican Herbert Hoover that was built on the populist socialism themes that had spread like a blight over Eastern Europe. The key elements of that paradigm were classist disparity and wealth redistribution -- precisely the themes Obama used during the precipitous economic decline of 2008 to defeat John McCain.
FDR, in his defense of Democratic Socialism, offered this dubious classist assertion: "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Of course, Roosevelt was paraphrasing the doctrine of Karl Marx, whose maxim declared, "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."
FDR was able to implement far more of his statist New Deal solutions in his first four years than Obama -- who has faced stiff opposition from the House of Representatives since Republicans retook the majority in 2010. But Obama, like FDR, is a master propagandist, and his populist socialist appeals resonate beyond the cadres of his state-dependent cult.
Some might argue that FDR had more fertile ground in which to plant his socialist seeds of dissension, but the fact is that real unemployment today is closing in on that of the Great Depression -- 19 percent rather than the current 8.1 percent figure trotted out by Obama's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The latter figure, which is much less alarming, simply ignores the millions of Americans who've given up looking for work and are thus no longer counted in the workforce, and millions more who are underemployed.
Fact is, everyone in America knows someone who has been adversely affected by our economic decline, and most Americans, regardless of political identification, are concerned about their ability to support themselves and their families. In such times of widespread economic distress, the innate tendency to gravitate toward perceived safety, toward even the fantasy of "Hope and Change" in order to move "Forward," is very strong.
As Patrick Henry observed at the dawn of our nation, "It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth -- and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts."
Moreover, Obama has a propaganda tool FDR could not even imagine -- the mass-Leftmedia conduit into the psyche of the American people, which he uses to dupe the ignorant into trading their votes for socialist entitlements from redistributed wealth.
FDR, in his second presidential campaign, had amassed a powerful coalition of Leftist protagonists that included leaders of urban political machines and unions, the intelligentsia and glitterati, and religious and ethnic minorities. His opponent was a Republican governor who had, in his tenure, embraced some of FDR's statist policies, but who objected to the adverse impact those policies had on private enterprise, and the resulting accumulation of national debt and inherent government waste.
Does anything in that campaign contest sound familiar?
FDR won a historic landslide victory in 1936 -- receiving almost 61 percent of the vote, and went on to win unprecedented third and fourth presidential terms. While the economic efficacy of his New Deal policies did little to restore the economy (the build up for World War II ended the Great Depression), the populist political efficacy of his socialist doctrines proved very effective during a time of pronounced economic decline.
So what is Mitt Romney to do?
I'm not suggesting that Romney can't defeat Obama's socialist propaganda, but in order to win this election, he can't only rely on the 1980 political paradigm based on the question, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"
Romney must exit the role of "diplomat" and assume the part of a warrior. He must articulate the threat to Liberty inherent to Obama's ideology.
He must devote the remaining weeks of this election not only to the primacy of free enterprise over socialism, but to the greater cause of Liberty over tyranny. Paul Ryan gets it -- but he is not at the top of the ticket.
Romney must go on the offensive and take the high ground.
For example, Romney wasted most of last week ducking and covering for his remarks about the fact that a large percentage of Obama's electoral support is bought with redistributed wealth and entitlements. Romney should have instead noted that the Left was howling because they believe that all Americans are dependent on government -- which is precisely what Obama himself recently proclaimed in his now-infamous assertion, "You didn't build that. Somebody else [read: "government"] made that happen."
Time is not on the side of Liberty. There is little distinction between Marxist Socialism, Nationalist Socialism and Democratic Socialism. Socialism irrevocably results in state tyranny, and another Obama term may prove the end of the Constitutional Republic established by our Founders and supported by generations of Patriots since.
Though our Constitution's 22nd Amendment, if still applicable in 2016, may exclude Obama from seeking a third and fourth term, he has already laid the foundation in his first term for "fundamentally transforming the United States of America" into the ObamaNation Plantation. He only needs one more term of economic decline to ensure the systemic subjugation of the American people -- at least until the next insurrection to restore Liberty.
Obama recently remarked, "The most important lesson I've learned is you can't change Washington from the inside." Those words may prove more prophetic than he intended.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.