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Robert Lenzner Headshot

Obama's Inept, Elitist Political Warfare

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Your talk to the Society of Newspaper Editors was more political warfare than a primer in math or or an effective attack on class warfare, Mr. President. You lost me and most of America with all your talk about Trojan Horses and Social Darwinism, as I thought I was back in John Finley's course on classics or Arthur Schlesinger's course on American intellectual history at Harvard in the 1950s.

First off all, the Republican tax plan is not hidden in a stealth wooden horse to take us over by surprise attack. It's right out there in the open, recommending severe cuts in social programming for ordinary Americans -- along with quite alarming reductions in taxes for the wealthiest Americans. We can all see it is a bonanza for the Forbes 400. We can all wonder at the impossibility of getting the budget under control under the right-wing Republican plan. A Trojan Horse, it isn't.

Second, the notion of Social Darwinism is just too eggheaded and obscure to make a real point about what the Republicans are about. The writings of Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner, two ideologues of the 19th century, are not comparable to the Founding Fathers for the ordinary American. You would have earned a major sound byte if you had just intoned that the Ryan plan in exaggerated terms is not about the survival of the fittest -- but about the survival of the richest; Ryan as spokesman for The Robber Baron, the Malefactors of Great Wealth. After all, 62 percent of Ryan's spending reductions would impact the lowest income Americans, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Thirdly, I reckon using the second wealthiest American, Warren Buffett, as your stalking horse for raising taxes on those thousands making more than $1 million in income a year, is not working effectively. It is just raising the hackles of the Republicans who don't like Buffett's politics (he is a Democrat who received the highest honor any American can receive from President Obama) or Buffett's obvious enjoyment as the symbol of change. The Buffett tax, as it is called, is backfiring as critics are wishing Buffett would just pay up his 25 to 35 percent on annual earnings and shut up. Somehow, the Buffett tax is fomenting intensified class warfare -- working up the 2 percent of America who make over $250,000 a year -- and want to keep as much of it as possible.

Please campaign talk in plain language as in your statement that "broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few. It has always come from a strong and growing middle class."

And please amend your untoward comment about the Supreme Court. Your health reform bill may be overturned in part or all in the same way that New Deal legislation affecting industry and commerce was overturned by the Supreme Court during the 1930s.

As well know, Franklin Roosevelt was so upset by the Supreme Court overturning parts of the New Deal program, he tried to pack the court with additional liberal judges -- which resulted in one of the most embarassing constitutional blunders in American history.

This post was originally featured on Forbes.com.