I don’t recall Barack Obama making many speeches to the NRA. Maybe he did, but somehow I doubt it. He liked talking to the press and rubbing elbows with celebrities at White House bashes. Obama hung around people who helped him look good. It made sense. PR is important to a president.
People who adored Obama don’t like Donald Trump. The media will spend this Sunday picking apart what CNN’s David Gergen labeled a divisive speech.1 Never mind that it was intended for the president’s supporters, or that Trump obviously thought the Pennsylvania rally was a better use of his time than spending the evening with a press that despises everything about him. Obama would have made the same decision but the opposite choice. Speaking to a conservative crowd would not have played well.
No one would have blamed him.
Divisiveness is what the media says it is?
The press isn’t used to having its negativity returned and obviously doesn’t like it. With Obama it wasn’t something to worry about.
The president had few good words on Saturday for the news outlets that have hammered him since the earliest days of his campaign. On Sunday we heard about a divisive speech and the failings of his first 100 days in office.
A president isn’t divisive because he refuses to repeat what the left wants to hear or says no to liberal demands. Twisting the meaning of his words and deeds can make him appear that way. That is what happened after campaign remarks about criminal illegal immigrants were misconstrued and taken out of context. Suddenly Trump believed that all Mexicans are rapists. The negativity hasn’t stopped since.
To incite real division, do this
How the nation and the world react to what a president does shows divisiveness. Under Obama we saw race riots. Police officers were attacked and even killed. Illegal immigration was out of control. The world’s bad actors scoffed at our president’s inability to stand up for his country. These things divided us. The press celebrated Obama’s victories.
Inciting division doesn’t have to be overt or intentional. Michelle Obama had a problem being proud of her country. The view from on high probably helped make America more appealing, but Obama’s base got the message. Her husband, the consummate politician, was restrained but he found plenty of fault. Racial tensions escalated as the dialogue over police conduct, hate crimes, and race in America was crafted to pave the way for another Democratic president.
The applause only got louder after Hillary Clinton called Americans deplorable. Everyone knew Trump’s base was composed of white trash, racists, and immigrant-haters. How did we know it? It’s what we were told to believe by the same people who worshiped at the feet of the Obamas and excused every Clinton transgression.
Talk isn’t always cheap. It was a surprise to hear that our former president isn’t averse to accepting a hefty sum from the Wall Street he demonized during his presidency. An ex-president doesn’t need his base and wealth is always appealing even if it comes from the enemy. Still, this seems out of character. It’s completely at odds with what we were told we should believe about this man.
Could the lefty media be wrong about Trump?
Trump populism is bad. Obama’s was good. Why?
Populism is now a dirty word unless it comes from Democrats. The party suckered its base into believing that Trump’s populism is about deplorable Americans. Obama’s was about working families and ordinary people:
The running thread through my career has been the notion that when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together in collective effort, things change for the better.2
Can one group be bad and the other good when they are the same, ordinary people? Apparently so. “Trump’s base” is a popular insult to the middle and working class voters who supported him. “Obama’s base” meant good people deserving of our help. This schism defines divisiveness. Trump didn’t create it. Neither did the Republican Party.
Divisive speech worse than we thought
By the time Trump’s 100 days talk is sliced to ribbons it will be the most divisive speech in history, worse than anything we could have feared. How many of the Americans who will damn the president’s words know what he said? Not many. They will get their information from media outlets they trust to deliver their version of the facts.
That’s a lot of power for the media to wield. Too bad it takes a Democrat in office to do it fairly.
1. Balluck, Kyle. “Gergen slams ‘divisive’ Trump speech.” The Hill. April 30, 2017. http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/331272-gergen-slams-divisive-trump-speech, retrieved April 30, 2017.
2. “Weekly Address: President Obama’s Farewell Address to the Nation.” The White House. January 7, 2017. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/07/weekly-address-president-obamas-farewell-address-nation, retrieved April 30, 2017.