President Obama’s disastrous record in office was recently characterized by Louisiana’s principled conservative Governor Bobby Jindal as the “most liberal and incompetent president since Jimmy Carter. No offense to Jimmy Carter.” Governor Jindal also observed that, “We have a president who hadn't run anything before he was in the White House.”
However, to be fair to President Carter, who was arguably the most lackluster president of the 20th Century, at least he ran a peanut farm before becoming President.
President Obama, by contrast, really didn’t “run anything” before becoming President and while many may take that as a comment on his experience, we prefer to see it as a very telling commentary on his choices.
Whatever his failures as President, Obama is a talented and educated guy. As a Harvard Law grad, he could have chosen a career in the private practice of law or in the corporate sector -- but he chose to be a “community organizer” instead.
And at the heart of Obama’s personal choices and politics has always been a strange antipathy for capitalism and entrepreneurship.
The politics of resentment are not just a cynical ploy with Obama, as they are with many other Democrats. It is obvious that deep down inside, Obama really dislikes the private economy and those who achieve economic success through it.
Dissecting or psychoanalyzing from the outside where all this resentment comes from -- perhaps a mother who hated America, a childhood spent as a biracial outsider, a family commitment to Depression-era progressive politics or all of the above – will never move beyond the realm of speculation.
However, the results of this resentment have a profound effect on the policies Obama has pursued.
From his tax plan that is intended to achieve what Obama calls “fairness” by penalizing success, to his support of the Dodd-Frank law’s creation of a federal credit rationing scheme, to his recent comment that, “If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen” -- practically all of Obama’s domestic policy has its roots in that strange resentment against private sector success.
Jimmy Carter’s well-intentioned incompetence did a great deal of damage to the U.S. economy, but he never sought to fundamentally remake American society as Obama is attempting to do.
Say what you will about Jimmy Carter, but as far as we can tell, he never claimed American business owners didn’t build their own economic success. Perhaps it's because unlike Barack Obama, Carter knew who drove the tractor and risked the capital on the peanut farm before he got into politics.