Rarely do events throw up two antagonists who are direct and total opposites of each other. With the House now moving Republican, a show-down between John Boehner and Barack Obama, both total unknowns four years ago, seems certain. And for all the “genius” label put on Obama, don’t bet against Boehner. Unheralded, White, Working Class, he’s the complete opposite of Obama. He’s worked all his life, and worked his way to his position.
Barack Obama was born to the former Stanley Ann Dunham, daughter of a Honolulu banker, and Barack Obama Senior. Obama Senior being the right hand man of Kenyan Luo tribe king-maker Tom Mboya. Obama Senior of course famously graduated from the University of Hawaii and enrolled in the graduate program at Harvard, and was a top man in Luo politics until his alcoholism got out of control. Stanley Ann Dunham held various US Embassy jobs in Indonesia, and received her Phd from the University of Hawaii (on peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia, no kidding). Obama Sr. was an economist. His ex-wife an expert on Indonesian peasant culture.
Obama himself was an infant and toddler, in the sole custody of his then single mother, who briefly received food stamps. After her marriage Lolo Soetero, an Indonesian national, Dunham and Obama moved with her new husband to Indonesia, then in the aftermath of the overthrow of Suharto. At the age of nine, Obama, after being educated in an Indonesian Madrassa, was sent to live with his grandparents in Hawaii. Residing in their high rise Honolulu apartment, he attended the exclusive and expensive Punahou Prep School, where by his own account he was an indifferent student, often getting high.
Obama then attended Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years, where he was close to a wealthy Pakistani student, and by his own account in “Dream From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” he hung out with radical feminists, marxists, gays, Black Nationalists, and Muslims. At Columbia University, in his final two years as an Undergrad, he was the room-mate of a Muslim who’s lack of devoutness he criticizes in his autobiography. Obama of course later attended Harvard, where he was the first Black President of Law Review. Famously, he never wrote an article while President of Law Review. Holding brief jobs as an investment newsletter researcher, most of Obama’s working life has been as a community organizer, State Legislator, and part-time guest lecturer at the University of Chicago. Obama has also written two books, his autobiography and “The Audacity of Hope,” dedicated to long-time anti-White racialist preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s mentor. The very title taken from a Wright sermon.
Obama has dazzled news people, and the media, and celebrities. He famously recited the call to prayer in Arabic, which he had memorized as a boy, to a New York Times reporter.
John Boehner, by contrast, is completely different. The second of twelve children, he grew up poor, White, and rooted. His parents slept on a pull-out couch. He started working in his family’s bar at age 8. Boehner has lived in Southern Ohio his entire life. Boehner enlisted in the US Navy during the height of the Vietnam War (1968) but was discharged honorably for medical reasons. He earned his bachelor degree much later, eleven years in fact (1977) from Xavier University in Cincinnati, becoming the first person in his family to attend College. [Obama's maternal grandparents attended and graduated, his mother and father were both Masters holders, and his mother held a Phd.]
Boehner has said he has done every dirty job there was. Cleaning toilets, sweeping floors, doing dishes, busing dishes, waiting tables, tending bar, he’s done it. He worked his way up from salesman at Nucite Sales, a small packaging and plastics company, to President. Boehner served as member of the board of trustees for Union Township, Butler County Ohio, then a State Representative. He has been a Congressman since 1990, and was briefly majority leader in 2006 following Tom DeLay’s resignation. Following loss of the House in 2006, Boehner has been Minority Leader.
Boehner’s reputation is one of a hard worker, night owl, and steady but unspectacular. He can play hardball, and is credited along with Minority Whip Eric Cantor for helping the Republican Congressional Wave get larger:
Success came with a fair amount of bickering. House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio decided to oust Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole as head of the GOP re-election effort amid a staffing spat. Mr. Boehner engineered his replacement as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s political arm, by installing Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas.
Boehner’s man, Sessions (son of Clinton fired FBI Director William Sessions), led the effort to demand Republican candidates raise their own money, instead of depending on the NRCC to do it for them. In turn, this allowed the NRCC to target vulnerable Dems. Another Boehner Lieutenant, Kevin McCarthy of California, copied Rahm Emmanuel’s use of statistics and money to find weak opponents. Quality challengers to “safe” Democratic districts were funded, to force some to retire, and others to raise money denied to other candidates. Census maps were studied to analyze demographics.
Boehner is steady, unspectacular, well known to his Republican colleagues. He has a reputation for toughness in politics, and has not panicked. He held his colleagues together on ObamaCare, the Stimulus, and other Obama policies that early on, looked both unstoppable and politically advantageous. Boehner has presided over, and at least not harmed, a Republican counter-wave that has erased all Democratic House gains since 2006. Which is remarkable, and speaks to his ability to delegate properly, organize politically, and remain focused for long periods of time.
Where Obama has lived a life of rootless internationalism, and is very familiar with Islam, Muslims, Indonesia, Kenya, Hawaii, and rich White liberals in New York City, and rich Black Nationalist radicals in Chicago, he knows nothing of ordinary Americans. Indeed he drips with contempt for them, and it shows, over and over again. Obama has never worked a dirty, manual labor job in his life. Indeed his autobiography is totally absent the kind of crummy Summer job that was a passage of life for most White American teens.
Boehner by contrast has deep roots in Southern Ohio. He knows ordinary working White voters very well, because he is one, along with his family. Where Obama was the beneficiary of Affirmative Action and wealthy privilege, and many personal connections, Boehner’s success is due mostly to hard work and the ability to simply out-wait and out-organize opponents. It took the man after all, eleven years to finish College, working all the while. To move from sales job to President of a small, unglamorous plastics packaging company, is impressive in determination and doggedness, if nothing else.
In the coming showdown over defunding ObamaCare, and administrative Cap and Trade (which Obama will surely pursue) and monetary policy, and trade, and nearly everything else, don’t bet against the stolid, stubborn Boehner. Obama is the mega-celebrity of all celebrities. Obama will always have the media with him. Famously tweaking Boehner as a “fellow person of color” for referring to Boehner’s tan, Obama got his class-based shot in to the amusement of the media. But like Katie Couric talking of visiting the “great unwashed in the middle of the Country,” that may have been a backfire.
Ridiculing “working class” people with “spray on tans” who “look orange” is a way of asserting upper class identity and Obama reflexively took it. Because Obama is at his core, a spoiled foreign prince deigning to rule and oh so obviously punish White America for past sins real and imagined. Against determined to lose McCain, and the huge unpopularity of George W. Bush (mostly because Bush failed to level on the costs and blood required by Iraq and Afghanistan), coupled with a suddenly collapsing economy, Obama cruised to victory. But media adulation cannot help him when unemployment is 9.6% officially, and about 20% in real terms. White voters have turned on Obama, only about 35% of White men and only 41% of White women voted for Democratic Congressional candidates, a referendum on Obama. His support is about that level too, in job performance. White voters have stopped listening to him, as a writer at NRO’s The Corner noted. As they did before, with George W. Bush.
Obama can win the media, but it won’t help him. Not with expected food inflation to hit, along with the effects of administrative cap and trade through the EPA. While wages stagnate and the Fed feeds inflation, with no prospect of a real recovery by employment gains. Upper class ridicule gets laughs from the press, when the target is a working class White guy, but White voters are not laughing. Outside of New York, California, Oregon, Washington State, DC, and Massachusetts, those are the people who vote: working class and harried middle class Whites. Not moneyed elites, secure in ridiculing those “prole.”
In an otherwise whining editorial about how sullen and stupid ordinary Americans are for turning on Global President Obama, the columnist Philip Stephens notes that the US Dept of Labor Statistics paints a dire picture for the middle and working classes and a bright one for the new elite:
For some time, one of the most interesting numbers in US politics has been one not found in the opinion polls’ exit survey. It is published every month by the Federal Bureau of Labor statistics. It tracks changes in the real earnings – and thus the living standards – of middle America.
During the past 20 years the median earnings of these workers have risen in total by less than 10 per cent after adjustment for inflation. During the past decade they have stagnated. Someone has thrown a wrench into the escalator.
To put these figures into perspective, the economy grew by 60 per cent – six times as fast as median earnings – during the 20 years from 1990. Even during the past decade, which included the deepest recession since the 1930s, output expanded by 15 per cent.
For a time the effect on living standards was masked by the explosion of cheap imports and cheap credit. Americans could live their dream by borrowing from the banks and buying cheaply from China. The party came to an end with the global financial crash.
If Middle America has not shared in rising prosperity, the same cannot be said of the most affluent. The proceeds of growth have gone largely into corporate profits and into huge increases in boardroom pay. The richest have had a ball.
Figures from the Congressional Budget Office show that the share of overall incomes of the wealthiest 1 per cent of households stood at about 12 per cent in 1990. By 2007 that had jumped to more than 19 per cent. Measured in 2007 dollars, the incomes of this group more than doubled from a little more than $800,000 a year to $1.8m.
Globalisation, from this vantage point, has been good only for the few. It has enriched bankers and chief executives, but left the middle classes at once no better off today and more insecure about tomorrow.
Of course, read the whole thing. Even an elitist like Stephens (who goes on to excuse Obama with “Bush did it” and “racism” and of course, Obama not at all being in any way sympathetic to Muslims) can see it.
The case to be made against Obama and Democrats is that they will enrich a few elites, with sweetheart deals, flood America with Mexicans made instant citizens for votes to keep those sweetheart deals, sell out remaining manufacturing and agriculture to “save the polar bear” (and enrich China by killing competition), and turn the White middle and working classes into dispossessed, discriminated against, bottom of the diversity totem pole, people in their own land. All to benefit a few. The case against this is a massive border fence, massive tariffs, particularly at Chinese goods but also other low-cost labor manufacturers, oil and gas drilling here and now, tight money, a sound dollar, and a rebuilt industrial base with military stimulus. One that puts millions of Americans back to work, building latest generation fighter jets, or UAVs, or carrier groups, or attack submarines, or the latest nuclear missiles and warheads.
Closed borders. A closed economy (like China’s). Massive military spending and build-up, to put people back to work and threaten bad actors. Drilling for oil and gas. An America that exports grains and manufactured goods, and imports relatively little from China or anyone else. One focused on pushing wage gains to average workers instead of a privileged few.
Can Boehner sell this? That remains to be seen. But it is clear from the character of both men, that Obama on the attack as the man against Boehner, who is indeed, not the man, turns Alinsky’s rules on their heads. You cannot attack the man when you are the man. Freezing and personalizing the target does not work when people expect you to put money in their pocket and produce results. Obama has never been responsible for anything, nor can he grind out daily tasks.
There is this gem from Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s closest advisors and a Michelle Obama crony (which right there says it all):
I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. … He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. … So, what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. … He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.
Yes, too “talented to do what ordinary people do.” About 90% of success in anything comes from grinding things out. White voters have soured on Obama because he has not been willing to work. Work hard, long, tedious hours. White voters expected Obama to make their lives better, and he has shown them time and time again, he is only interested in parties for himself and Marie Antoinette Obama, at the Costa Del Sol, or with 34 warships guarding him in India, to the tune of $200 million a day, with over 3,000 people going with him.
Obama’s weakness is that outside campaigning, he has not been willing to work. He is in fact, lazy. Bored. And rather untalented. Because he is both Black, and can string two sentences together without sounding like an NFL star who has sired seven kids with six different women, he has been told, and believes himself, to be brilliant. Obama has no ability to understand, or even affinity, with Americans outside Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Jeremiah Wright, and Louis Farrakhan. The world of hard work, loyalty, doggedness, and lack of privilege that encapsulates nearly all of White America escapes him.
When Obama lectures the out of work plumber, who has spent his entire life since 18 working, on his innate racism and “White privilege,” he loses him, as he does the waitress, or the out of work program manager for a fiber optic manufacturer, who as a teen worked as a roofer. Obama literally does not understand that the average White person has had a much harder, tougher, less secure life than he has had. And that his princely ways arouse their anger not their admiration.
John Boehner may lack Obama’s ability to read a teleprompter, impressively. He is not Black, with all the social and political advantages that being Black brings to political figures. He has no followers among the media, or the glitterati. He does, however, like the hedgehog know one big thing very well. And that is to keep working. I expect the political showdown between Boehner and Obama to last fairly long (Obama has many resources as President). But in the end, I expect Obama to lose. Simply because Obama does not know how to fight a man prepared to simply out-tough and outlast him. Boehner may be simply a dogged, establishment and professional Republican politician. But as the man with the one thing Obama lacks (a work ethic) he is far better prepared than Newt Gingrich (who was and is, in many ways, just like Bill Clinton) to stare down the President. If the fight elevates him, which I think it might, he could even be a player for the race for President. At any rate, he more than Obama understands America and its voters.