Ex-president Barack Obama on Tuesday lamented the partisan rancor created exclusively by independent-minded conservative-media commentators, saying they had ruined his “connections” with voters whom he had once hoped to ply from their guns and Bibles with promises to remake America in his own image.
“I ended up getting enormous support in these pretty conservative, rural, largely white communities when I was a senator—and that success was repeated when I ran for president in the first race in Iowa,” Obama claimed during a discussion at PEN America’s virtual gala, according to Just the News.
“By my second year in office, I’m not sure if I could make that same connection,” he continued, “because now those same people are filtering me through Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and an entire right-wing or conservative media infrastructure that was characterizing me in a way that suggested I looked down on those folks or had nothing in common with them.”
Obama, currently promoting his third memoir, did not elaborate on what he had in common with deplorables in the flyover states.
Many voters were outraged—and remain so—over his partisan takeover of the healthcare system, as well as his insulting, divisive and condescending rhetoric.
As a result, the Tea Party—a precursor to Trumpism—helped Republicans make historic electoral gains at the state and congressional levels to push back against Obama’s imperialist tendencies.
Yet, the ivory-tower elitist seemed to believe that white, rural voters were monolithic in their views, and he offered as his composite ‘conservative’ a small-town newspaper editor with a crew-cut and bow-tie.
During his four-year stint as a US senator, Obama claimed he would sometimes deign to visit backwoods municipalities in southern Illinois, where such editors would describe him as “a young liberal kid from Chicago [who] seems sensible, had some good ideas” when writing about him afterward.
“That’s how people were receiving me—with a different set of assumptions than they would today,” he said.
Unfortunately, Obama failed to register the ways in which his own ego and solipsism, his lack of interest in consensus-building and, ultimately, his deficiencies in effective, honest leadership when given the chance to prove himself might have polluted any opposing perspectives and closed off avenues for dialogue.
“It’s yet one more example of how the connections that I may see—because I experienced them in my own life—may get harder to make if we’re only understanding people through our phones and our screens,” he complained during the virtual, socially-distanced event catering to like-minded supporters and admirers.
“… [W]e’re not having the face-to-face conversations where, by virtue of that conversation and experience, we can recognize ourselves in each other,” he said.