Obama’s Campaign Strategy: Redistribution of Voters
Just as President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” gaffe was, contrary to his defenders’ insistence, worse when experienced in context, his “I actually believe in redistribution” remark is more alarming when examined in toto.
Last week Mother Jones released a videotape of Mitt Romney at a Boca Raton fundraiser telling his audience that the 47% of the American population who pay no federal income tax see themselves as victims, automatically support Obama, and cannot be swayed by targeted campaign efforts.
The media went wild over Romney’s statement, accusing him of not caring about half the population and of attempting to carve out an electorate who support his elitist economic policies.
Several days later someone leaked audio of a Loyola College conference on community organizing in 1998 in which Obama remarked, “I actually believe in redistribution.”
NBC claimed that they had a fuller version of the Loyola tape, and insisted that the quote was being taken out of context. The Daily Caller managed to track down the full 102-minute tape and released it this week.
Obama’s Loyola speech proves his intention of using voters for political purposes in exactly the way Romney’s remarks suggested.
Obama’s wealth distribution comment is actually the least shocking thing he said at the conference. Here’s the full quote:
“I actually believe in redistribution. At least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody’s got a shot. How do we pool resources at the same time as we decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities?”
As offensive as this to people who resent subsidizing not only unproductiveness but “decentralized delivery systems” for these subsidies (i.e. overpaid government workers), the comment is basically on par with Obama’s “spread the wealth around” gaffe four years ago.
The rest of Obama’s remarks show that his campaign never should have dared us to check whether his redistribution quote was taken out of context.
In one portion, Obama rails against his political enemies: “The people who are guilty of disempowering the population are not only the bad guys—I won’t be partisan here and say who bad guys are. It’s not only the folks who are representing the special interests, quote-unquote, and the guys with the pinky diamond rings and fat cats. Sometimes it is also us.”
Does that sound like Obama cherishing the opportunity to “represent the entire country”? Does it seem like Obama is following his own advice to Romney to “not writ[e] off big chunks of the country”?
The rest of Obama’s speech aims, as Romney alluded, to Obama trying to build coalitions of voters who receive freebies from the government and support Democrats in return.
Obama repeatedly hypes the advantages of joining policy with politics: “What I think will reengage people in politics is if we’re doing significant, serious policy work around what I will label the ‘working poor,’ although my definition of the working poor is not simply folks making minimum wage, but it’s also families of four who are making $30,000 a year… [W]e are then putting together a potential majority coalition to move those agendas forward” [emphasis added].
Does that sound like Obama selflessly devoting his energy to the needy with no ulterior motives? Is it possible that Romney was on to something in Boca Raton?
Obama continues: “One of the good things about welfare reform, which—the 1996 legislation, I did not entirely agree with and probably would have voted against at the federal level. But one good thing that comes out of it, is that it essentially desegregates the welfare population, which presumably is black and underserved and urban—versus the working poor, which are the other people. Now you just have one batch of folks… That is increasingly a majority population…” [emphasis added].
Translation: I despise welfare reform (we couldn’t tell!), but one upside is that now the left can aim its campaign toward a large, growing, consolidated bloc of voters—the entire “working poor”—and squeeze out Democratic victories more efficiently.
Obama confirms this cynical interpretation: “I don’t think… that that is just a problem for urban areas or the inner city or particular populations. I think that cuts across issues of race and geography, and as a consequence becomes a useful means for coupling policy with politics” [emphasis added].
In other words, “Let’s stick our noses in the affairs of the upwardly mobile and shower them with goodies, then sit back and wait for the votes to roll in.” (For an example of this strategy at work, see Obama’s vast expansion of food stamps to people who don’t want or need them.)
At one point in the speech, after reeling off a laundry list of “important” issues that must be addressed someday, Obama gets to the part that really interests him: “I am actually a strong believer that if we organize policy around issues of economics that diverse populations have in common, we will have the basis, and the conversation will have taken place, and the coalitions will have been formed” [emphasis added]. There’s that word again! I think we could call 47% a healthy-sized coalition, don’t you?
Now that we’ve heard Obama’s off-the-record comments in full context, it’s plain that Romney was absolutely correct. Obama’s raison d’être is figuring out new ways to redistribute wealth so as to form an indebted monolith who will flood the left with votes in perpetuity.
Previously published in modified form at Red Alert Politics