Home / Culture and Society / The Social Advocacy Lure: Whom Will It Catch?

The Social Advocacy Lure: Whom Will It Catch?

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Last month, the Obama reelection campaign began an effort in earnest to redefine the major issues in this election year. Treating the still weak economy superficially, the persistently high jobless rate and the skyrocketing national debt, Obama’s main messaging is now on social issues. He addresses the rights of discrete groups, like women. But, he speaks most passionately of, in essence, a national “oneness.” It is a social concept he uses to justify the continual expansion of the scope and power of the federal government. From it flow many proposed social engineering regulations that necessarily erode individual freedoms.

Obama’s recent defense of women’s rights in the free contraceptives fight is a good, but not great, display of his social restructuring strategy. It was a twofer: (1) an opportunity to label Republicans as anti-woman and (2) a needed distraction from his freedom of religion gaffe. It seems, as far as the first point is concerned, that the stumblebums at the GOP are all too willing, albeit unwittingly, to help him out. During the dust up, credible discussions about whether contraceptives should be available gratis went largely unnoticed. Not really surprising as those pieces lacked an emotional element.

Individual skirmishes such as the free contraceptive example may be interesting, but they aren’t especially telling in trying to identify a cohesive campaign strategy. That comes from the main theme of speeches over time as well as other campaign outreach efforts. In Obama’s case, the overarching pitch is his oneness assertion. As he sees it, we are one nation, one people. We owe a responsibility to each other and a shared responsibility to future Americans. We rise or fall as one. Under this view, the purpose of government is to protect and expand the interests of the one.

A great example of oneness is the justification for increasing taxes on the rich to raise the standard of living for everyone else. Enlarging the levy on fat wallets was once couched in strictly economic terms, but not any longer, because it makes no economic sense. So, nowadays, it’s mostly characterized as one of the many fair and decent things the federal government can do for all of us. It is a manifestation of Obama’s personal belief that some people simply have too much money and get tax breaks they don’t need.

Complementing that social argument is Warren Buffet’s statement that decent rich people don’t mind having their taxes raised. So, there it is. Decent people don’t object to the government being decent, which means only the indecent protest. But, the government does not exist to protect them. The argument does have a horrifyingly attractive allure, like being transfixed by the lights of an oncoming train. But, it is failed logic.

Taking from the rich is just one example of the application of Obama’s social strategy. Obamacare, with its individual mandate, was an early instance of the strategy. Wall Street regulation is another recurring theme. While Obamacare is an easy target, it is difficult to take a pro Wall Street stance, although the Occupy movement is a great motivator. The president’s social agenda also limits consumer choices. So, global warming justifies shutting down the oil and gas industry in favor of solar energy, high speed trains, algae-based fuel products and so forth. Pipe dreams replace pipelines in the president’s social order.

Team Obama believes that social advocacy will attract the much-coveted independent vote by doggedly labeling the GOP as the party of fundamental unfairness. If the Republicans can be made to look bad enough, voters won’t be able to stomach voting for them, despite razor-thin pocketbooks. It’s a risky bet. Traditionally, voters in U.S. elections cast their ballots based on their economic well-being. If Obama’s re-election strategy is to prevail, it must not merely buck the tide of history. It must do so by convincing voters that traditional virtues such as individual responsibility and achievement have become vices.

Will the strategy succeed? Possibly, but only if voters surrender to the mob mentality that Obama appeals to in every campaign speech. It is never enough for him to state his positions on the issues he chooses to address and criticize those of his opponents. His reelection spiels are clarion calls to grab our pitchforks, light up our torches and storm the castle of the individual rights monster.

You can almost see the trail of lights going up the hill from here.

See you in the mirror.

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About Sidney and Riley

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Somehow I cannot imagine Ford, Reagan, Dole, or Bush Sr. supporting some of the idiotic bills that the GOPers have put out in the past year. Reagan, for his part, surely would have taken the bills’ sponsors out behind the woodshed and told them in his own way that “What you’re doing by pushing this crap is handing the next election to the Democrats!”

    But I guess there’s nobody in the GOP these days with the wherewithal to do that – for in order to do so, they’d have to stand up to Fox News.

  • Igor

    From republican anti-woman actions this year I can only conclude that they’ve gone completely mad. They’re in some kind of suicide spiral.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And here’s another great list of GOP legislation in their ongoing War on Women at the state level.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    That’s why he fits so well with S-and-R – he hears the same “Miller Lite” rhetoric: “Sounds great! Less evidence!”

    And S-and-R in their latest hit-and-run piece that they’ll refuse to defend, decry Obama sticking up for women’s rights, but somehow never seem to notice little Republican initiatives like:

    – state-mandated transvaginal ultrasounds for those who want an abortion.

    – “Thou shalt not teach contraception” in sex-ed classes.

    – a GOP bill in New Hampshire not only requires women to wait a mandatory 24 hours before having an abortion, it also requires doctors to give them false information by telling them that abortion cause breast cancer.

    – a Georgia state bill prevents state health plans from paying for abortions. The measure makes no exception even in cases of rape and incest. But do they still pay for Viagra?

    – also in Georgia (and more directly addressing the oh-so-terrible “mandatory contraception funding” that S-and-R complain about) another GOP bill would amend a 1999 law that required any “religious employer” to cover contraception. If the new measure become law, any group organized for “religious purposes” would be exempted from covering birth control. In other words, it was ALREADY state law in GEORGIA…but I guess since thou-shalt-not-fund-contraception is the Republican issue du jour, well, even that particular law’s gotta go!

    And here’s a list of laws in nine states in the ongoing Republican War on Women that S-and-R seem to think doesn’t exist.

    But you know what? In 2008, women were 53% of the vote. In 2010, a lot of Dems stayed home…and now a lot of us are seeing what we got for staying home, not the least of which is a GOP/Tea Party crowd that thinks 2010 was somehow a mandate for them to work their deepest desires on American culture. The more I think about it, the more I think November’s going to be a near-landslide for Obama, and more states will swing back to the blue side. It won’t be as dramatic as it would have been, thanks to the GOP’s voter-suppression efforts and Citizens United, but it will happen.

    And as the years go by, as today’s younger electorate – already far more diverse and liberal than any in the past – grows older and more influential, they will remember this ‘war on women’. Yeah, I’m pretty enthusiastic about the future, as long as we can get through the next two or three election cycles.

  • Igor

    McCann fails to state even one justification for his broad condemnation.

  • Steve McCann must have majored in journalism with a minor in hyperbole.

  • leslie johnson

    Steve McCann
    Today, so much power is vested in the office of president that honor and integrity must be hallmarks of a president’s character. Unfortunately, they are not with Barack Obama — he may well be the most dishonest and disingenuous occupant of the Oval Office in history, and he will do more damage to the nation than all his predecessors combined.

    His failings can no longer be excused by this historical deference or timidity fostered by race with the euphemisms of spin, obfuscation, fabrication, or politics being used to avoid the truth. Obama is extremely adept at exploiting the celebrity culture that has overwhelmed this society, as well as the erosion of the education system that has created a generation or more of citizens unaware of their history, culture, and the historical ethical standards based on Judeo-Christian teaching.