Former President Barack Obama officially began campaigning in full force for the Democrats in the 2018 midterms Friday, taking credit for the Trump economy, calling Republicans the party of “division” and “paranoia,” and implying Trump supporters are “bigots and fearmongers.”
Speaking to college students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Obama explained his “silence” up to this point as an attempt to follow the tradition of past ex-presidents.
“Truth was, I was also intent on following a wise American tradition of ex-presidents gracefully exiting the political stage and making room for new voices and new ideas. We have our first president, George Washington, to thank for setting that example,” Obama said. Then he tossed tradition aside and leapt full-force into campaign mode, accusing President Donald Trump of “capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.”
“The politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican party,” Obama said. He mentioned conspiracy theories about his birth certificate and opposition to climate change to launch broadsides against the Republican Party and lecture his audience on what conservatism is.
“I don’t mean to pretend I’m channelling Abraham Lincoln now, but that’s not what he had in mind, I think, when he helped form the Republican party,” Obama said. “It’s not conservative. It sure isn’t normal. It’s radical.”
Obama blamed the rise of this “resentment” on economic anxieties and took credit for President Trump’s success with the economy, saying “by the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high, and the uninsured rate hit an all-time low, poverty rates were falling.”
“I mention this just so when you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,” Obama said. But turning back to the conditions he claims gave rise to Trump’s election, Obama said his administration could not reverse “40-year trends” and blamed the Republican-controlled Congress for “block[ing] everything we did.”
“So we pulled the economy out of crisis, but to this day too many people who once felt solidly middle class still feel very real and very personal economic insecurity,” Obama said. In Obama’s telling these people felt “the fix is in” and were exploited by “politicians who have no compunction and no shame about tapping into America’s dark history of racial and ethnic and religious division.”
Obama said that in a “healthy democracy it doesn’t work. Our antibodies kick in and people of goodwill from across the political spectrum call out the bigots and the fearmongers.”
A “vacuum in our democracy” is created when “we don’t vote,” Obama said.
In case the point of this speech wasn’t clear by now, Obama explicitly made the point later, saying “in two months, we have the chance, not the certainty, but the chance to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics.”
So there’s the Obama playbook. Trump and his supporters are bigots. His policies failed where Obama’s policies were great. You need to vote for Democrats to stand up to the racist, bigoted, evil Trump administration and its supporters.
Folks, Obama the demagogue is back.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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