The Man Behind the Million Dollar Smile …

George Bernard Shaw was a perceptive man with a wry wit who apparently knew a little something about politics.  Shaw, after all, is the one who said, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”

Or to put it less elegantly, “If you can tax the rich and give their money to everyone who isn’t rich, you’re not going to get a lot of opposition from the everyone else crowd.”

This apparently is what President Obama is counting on as he runs for re-election.  The wealthiest Americans, he tells us, need “to pay a little more.”  The implication is that the wealthy aren’t paying – here comes one of those favorite phrases employed by liberal Democrats – “their fair share.”

Actually, the wealthiest among us are paying a lot more than their fair share.  The top one percent of taxpayers pay almost 40 percent of all federal income taxes.  The top five percent pay nearly 60 percent.  And the top 10 percent pay about 70 percent.

The bottom 50 percent of taxpayers pretty much don’t pay any federal income tax – less than three percent.  Those are the ones with no skin in the game.  Let’s call them Paul.

So it doesn’t take a political genius to figure out Barack Obama’s re-election strategy.  This is the speech – with only a little exaggeration — you will be hearing a lot between now and Election Day 2012:

“If the Republicans have their way, old people will lose their homes.  Many of them will be forced to live in cardboard boxes on the street.  They will be eating dog food.  Yes, we have to cut spending.  But not that way.  The Republicans will stop funding research that would save the lives of beautiful little children with cancer.  That’s not the America I want to live in.  And why do they want to do this?  For just one reason:  To make sure millionaires and billionaires don’t have to pay just a little more in taxes.  If that’s the America you want, vote Republican.  But I think you’re better than that.”

Let’s remember that you will be hearing some version of that speech from the man who during his first run for the White House, told us he would put an end to “the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”

From the same man who when he got his party’s nomination, said, “One of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.”

From the same man who on election night said, “I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face.  I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.”

It would be a waste of time to chastise President Obama for his grandiose hypocrisy.  He’s hardly the only politician who speaks out of both sides of his mouth.  But for sheer cynicism, he’s the best.

The same Barack Obama who supposedly abhors partisanship and pettiness  practically called Paul Ryan un-American for proposing a budget Mr. Obama doesn’t like.  And he does this after inviting Mr. Ryan to listen to his speech from a front row seat – an echo of when the President chastised members of the U.S. Supreme Court, who were sitting just a few feet in front of him during his State of the Union message, for a decision he didn’t agree with.

If Barack Obama didn’t have that great smile and easy-going manner, he would be seen for what he really is:  an old fashioned, at times downright nasty, Chicago politician who would throw his minister under the bus if he thought it would further his career.

Sorry, I forgot:  Mr. Obama has already done that.

But with so many people named Paul out there, and with so few Peters, the president’s cynical class warfare strategy may work.  Besides, incumbents usually win re-election.  That’s the bad news for Republicans.

The good news is that the last time he ran everything was going his way:  John McCain was not an especially attractive candidate.  George Bush was an albatross around Mr. McCain’s neck.  The American people usually don’t pick a president from the same party three times in a row.  The financial meltdown ended any chance that McCain had.

On top of that, Barack Obama was new and fresh and plenty of people believed him when he said he was not your typical politician.  And we haven’t even mentioned the slobbering love affair he had with the so-called mainstream media.

So 2008 was something akin to political perfection for Barack Obama, with so many good things falling his way.  The problem is you can only make first impressions once.  Nothing will ever be that perfect for Barack Obama again. The latest Gallup poll shows President Obama with just a 41 percent job approval.  And that ties his low.  Maybe even Paul is getting tired of Mr. Obama’s act.

**********************************************************************************************************

I hope that, over the years, you have come to trust me.  Whether your agree with me on this issue or that … I hope you believe I’ve always been a straight shooter.  I say only what I truly believe.

And I believe in this book.  (Check out the Amazon link above and to the right of my column.)

The author is Jim Axelrod, a marathon runner, a CBS News correspondent, and most important of all, Jim is one of the good guys.  His book — In the Long Run: A Father, a Son, and Unintentional Lessons in Happiness – is about life at the crossroads … and the lessons you can learn to get through the rough spots.

In the Long Run is about what happens when you wake up one day and it hits you:  ambition and talent aren’t always enough to ensure success.  And they’re certainly not enough to ensure happiness.  This is a book, most of all, about learning what it takes to be truly happy in your own skin.

Get it for yourself, or for someone you care about.

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  • Haylee

    I think I made a wrong turn and found myself in the anti-Obama room by mistake, but since I’m here I’ll tell you what I think about Obama…..he will be reelected for a second term, AND will go down in history as one of the best Presidents of our time! Sorry to see so many disgruntled Conservatives, you all must be fans of Faux News Corpse….sad!

    P.S. – Who the heck is Tommy Freedom?

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    DING, DING, DING ! COME TO THE CENTER OF THE RING, YOU ARE NOW THE WORLD CHAMPION
    P M NETANYAHU, AFTER 2 HISTORIC SPEECHES AND 2 KNOCK OUTS, WE
    SALUTE YOU, WHAT WILL YOU DO AFTER THIS VICTORY ?? I WILL RETURN
    ISRAEL AND MAKE A SPEECH REQUESTING THAT THE BIG LOSER CHANGE
    BORDERS AND GIVE CALIFORNIA BACK TO MEXICO. THE LOSER GETS A
    VOUCHER TO VISIT IRELAND AND A AAA AUTO CLUB MEMBERSHIP

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    HERES SOMETHING YOU CAN BELEVE IN, LETS DO A SWAP ! OBAMA GOES TO THE
    PALESTINIANS AND PM BENJAMIN NETANYAHU GOES TO THE WHITEHOUSE. I DONT NEED TO
    SEE HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    QUESTION, CHECK WITH REP DARRELL ISSA, WHATS THE LATEST COUNT OF FELONIES FOR

    OUR HERO AND THE ADMINISTRATION. THE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE PROBABLY USE A LARGE

    CALCULATOR & A CHALK BOARD.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    WE KNEW YEARS AGO WHAT HIS MINDSET WAS ON LIBERTY, FREEDOM, CAPITALISM, ISLAM &
    THE JEWS. FINALLY, HE HAS EXPOSED HIMSELF AS ANTI-SEMETIC FOR ALL TO SEE. HE HAS
    BECOME BOLD AND DRUNK WITH POWER, NO ONE IS SAFE. HE IS ENCOURAGING ISRAEL’S
    ENEMIES TO DESTROY THE JEWISH STATE AND MURDER THE PEOPLE, WILL HE BE HAPPY
    WHEN RIVERS OF BLOOD RUN THRU THE STREETS, HE WILL JUST IGNORE IT.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    WHEN OUR HERO MEET WITH THE 9/11 FAMILIES IT WAS JUST ANOTHER CAMPAIGN PHOTO OP,
    SAME WITH PHOTOS AT GROUND ZERO.
    WHEN HE MET WITH THE FAMILIES DID HE ASK FOR A DONATION TO BUILD THE ZERO MOSQUE,
    A DONATION TO IMAM FEISEL RAUF FOR ANOTHER MIDDLE EAST TOUR, OR MAYBE A CAMPAIGN
    CONTRIBUTION?

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    THE GREAT OBAMA GROUND ZERO CAMPAIGN PARTY AND POLITICAL EXTRAVAGANZA.

    ONLY MONTHS AGO THE GREAT OBAMA DECLARED BUILD THE GROUND ZERO MOSQUE AT THE WH RAMADAN DINNER, HE SENT GOONS TO PROTEST AGAINST THE PROTESTERS. NOW HE IS
    DOING A VICTORY LAP AT GROUND ZERO TO CELEBRATE OSAMA. AFTER 10 YEARS HE WILL MEET WTH 9/11 FAMILIES, ITS ALL SHOW FOR VOTES, HE NOT ENOUGH MAN TO SPIT ON.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    OBAMA WANTS TO DO AN END RUN AROUND CONGRESS, TO AUDIT GOVT CONTRACTORS TO
    FIND OUT WHO THE COMPANIES ARE DONATING POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO, MAYBE A LITTLE STRONG ARM COERCION?????? VOTER TAMPERING, NO POLITICAL SPEECH HUGO !

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    WHEN QADDFI IS GONE WE NEED TO INSTALL A PUPPET GOVT, WE SHOULD INSTALL AS
    QUEEN OF LIBYA, OUR REP SHEILA JACKSON LEE, SHES THE MOST QUALIFIED.

    THE ROYALS HAVE A LOT OF CLASS, I DIDNT SEE ONE BASKETBALL JERSEY.

    THE SMILE IS A PRIMORIAL GRIN !

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    THE ROYALS FAILED TO INVITE THE OBAMAS WHAT A SHOCK, NO BASKETBALL COURTS

    OBAMA CAMPAIGN SLOGAN: VOTE FOR ME AND TSA WONT MOLEST YOUR 6 YR OLD, (MAYBE)

    NEW EXPLOSIVE BOOK OUT, GANGSTER GOVERNMENT, OBAMA NEW WASHINGTON THUGOCRACY, A MUST READ.

  • TOMMY FREEDOM

    AM I A GENIUS, OBAMAS LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE NAME BARAK HUSSUIN OBAMA

    REAL BIRTH NAME BARRY SOETERO,,,,BARRY PICKED BY MOM, SOETERO

    LOLO SOETERO IS FATHERS LAST NAME, JUST A TYPO ?????

  • Anthony

    I like President Obama smiling, he reminds me of Martha Ray in a Poligrip commercial.

  • Judy O`Leary

    Capitalism is designed so the strong succeed with their own money. More lose than succeed . It is their money to do as they see fit. They own businesses where people are hired and paid.
    Socialism has never worked , any time, any where . It is the prelude to communism !

  • http://mediamatters.org/ Wil Burns

    Bernie, So, now the wealthy are the victims. My heart goes out to them!! They must have a lot of work related injuries doing the dangerous job of stacking their money. I just keep wondering, when will the wealthy have enough of the countries wealth?

    • EddieD_Boston

      You’re not getting it even a little Wil. Do you think that every wealthy person won the lottery or inherited their money? The reality is they worked hard and put in long hours and probably created something of value for society.
      On the other hand, and this is what you learn growing up in the city, people who are poor are poor b/c they chose the easy way out. If you’re pregnant b/c you had unprotected sex with a loser who doesn’t work you’re going to be poor. Education is free through 12th grade and community college is very affordable. The poor decided they didn’t want an education. Why should I pay for their cell phone, Section 8 apartment and their cable TV?
      No Wil, I don’t feel sorry for the poor. Some of them maybe a little but 90% of them are a dragging down whole cities (look at Detriot) and are costing society billions b/w welfare, crime, prisons, healthcare and the loss of property tax revenue when businesses pack up and leave.

    • Will

      Here’s the thing Will… Its their wealth. Not yours, not Barak Obama’s and not the country’s. (I corrected your grammatical error). Maybe if people worked a little harder, understood the difference between countries and country’s their plot in life might be a little different. Maybe if people were more willing to work for THEIR own wealth, they wouldn’t have to wonder about the country’s wealth (or how much of it they can get their hands on).

  • http://bernardgoldberg.com David

    Besides the media’s lovestruck affair with this president there were a few other factors which got him elected. There were the liberal do gooders who were hell bent on getting a black man elected even without knowing what the man stood for and second there were millions of black Americans, many who had never voted prior to, did so for the first time to ensure “one of their own” became president and again without an inkling of knowledge about what he stood for.
    2012 I feel could be different. For one my hope is that those same, many young liberal do gooders have come to realize our nation is at stake and for many their degrees are worthless paper and will vote for their own sakes instead of some silly race reasons and the second group could either feel a false sense of security that he will be elected without their vote or like I’ve heard from many black folks to date are disappointed with him for not “giving” them what he promised.

    • EddieD_Boston

      I wouldn’t count on the young. They’ve been brainwashed and still live at home and haven’t experienced “real life yet”.
      I was driving home from work one afternoon during the Obamacare debate and an older guy (in his 70’s) in the car ahead of me had a big sign in his rear window that said something to the affect “Hey all you twenty-somethings, congratulations on electing your president. Now good luck paying the taxes you’re gonna being paying the rest of your lives. Ha ha.”
      Priceless.

  • Cameron D. MacKay

    A few decades ago, Prime Minisister Margaret Thatcher said “”The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money [to spend].” Now that Standards & Poor have come out with their credit warning vis-a-vis the United States credit rating you would think that America would realize they have a spending problem not a taxation problem. Whether your Left Wing or Right Wing, the mathematics remains the same …. America is spending 4 billion dollars a day more than it generates in Revenues. No sane persona actually thinks that any nation can continue on that course.

  • http://mediamatters.org/ Wil Burns

    Bernie, You are forgetting personal Income tax revenues only make up about 42% of the total tax revenues to the government

    . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Federal_Receipts_-_FY_2007.png

    • Tim Ned

      The chart you refer is revenue, not taxes. Included in this revenue collected is social security and social insurance. (Note the word “Social”). Now try rerunning those percentages without the social insurance.

      I think you just helped prove Bernie’s point.

  • T

    “So 2008 was something akin to political perfection for Barack Obama, with so many good things falling his way,” and even then, Obama only won by 7%. There is (renewed) hope for (greater) change in 2012.

  • Clarence De Barrows

    I’m constantly amazed by the folks who claim to have “done their homework”, i.e., researched Obama and read his books prior to voting for him. That should have been enough for any thinking person to rule him out completely. I can understand people who vote simply based on emotion buying in to his rhetoric, but to justify voting for him by alluding to intelligent analysis is ludicrous at best. The man is, and always has been, a con-artist pushing an anti-American, progressive, liberal, Marxist agenda. Talk about wishful thinking, those who voted for him epitomize it.

  • JDO

    The American people are and have been spending money they don’t have for a long time now. It’s called a “credit” card. Is it any wonder they have little to no problem voting for someone with the same mentality? The second I got rid of all of my credit cards (there weren’t that many, but all it takes is one), took some responsibility and started using nothing but a debit/credit card (immediately drawing money out of my checking account) my financial life started getting back in the “black.” I don’t, and will never, see Obama (or many politicians) as a debit card user … take the “i” out of “debit” however …

  • Lew Nitkin

    From this Peter:
    Great article Bernie. From your mouth to G-d’s ear!

    HAPPY PESACH!

  • nicksharky

    I agree with Bernie. In 2008, all the stars were perfectly aligned for Obama to win the election. Especially, the financial meltdown occurred two weeks before the November elections. How lucky can you get?
    This time around, in 2012, I believe that the voters are going to administer a second shock treatment to Obama and the Democrats.

  • RevPettibone

    Hmmmmm, let’s assume for a moment, I mean tossing all logic aside, that this is a serious comment. No, not particularly moving or insightful, just flat-out common sense that says any moron, well almost any moron, should be able to get. That, common sense being, you shouldn’t spend money you don’t have, especially when it’s not your own money to begin with… The former makes Mr Obama stupid, the latter a thief. Bottom line: The President of the United States is a “stupid thief”.

    • JDO

      He’s not the only one.
      I quote the immortal words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?”

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    My name is Peter. I made $19,000 last year. Now you’re telling me I’m Paul. I don’t know who I am anymore.

    • Shirl

      What wit! And what a laugh you gave me. Guess I’m a retired Paul but I still don’t want Obama stealing anyones money for me. Americans need our freedom and independence back. Get rid of all these tax loopholes and regulations set up for the elites running the country. Vote them out and put in alot more Tea Party servants to create an even playing field again. This is all common sense people truly want.

      • begbie

        You’re not a Paul if you worked hard and earned that retirement. Pauls are people who want what’s “owed to them”. Pauls are those who collect handouts and accept the excuses of those who dole them out. Pauls are people who live in public housing and drive a Lexus. Pauls are people who complain about their financial troubles then continue to vote for Democrats. Pauls can mostly be found in states like New York, California, and Louisiana…….and/or anywhere Democrats control the legistlatures.

        Shirl, maybe you’re a Peter…..um, well…you know what I meant!

    • http://mediamatters.org/ Wil Burns

      CY, Isn’t it amazing how the wealthy get the less fortunate folks (YOU) to vote against their best interests.
      The efficacy of the right-wing noise machine is really a sight to behold.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        The noise is coming from all over the place. And if the country collapses, no one’s best interests are served.

      • EddieD_Boston

        The wealthy create jobs. If you want to work you support them. If you don’t want to work vote democrat b/c they’ll support you.

      • Paul Courtney

        Amazing, though some of us less fortunate realize that being less fortunate in this country ain’t so bad. The wealthy didn’t get me to vote as I vote, the gov’t did! Seems to me the more revenue the gov’t gets, the more harm it will do. Savvy folks like you think that if the gov’t gets more revenue, it’ll be “invested” wisely and do good. Your instinct tells you that a dollar taken from the wealthy can go right to another shovel-ready project and turn into a buck fifty. Isn’t that what Nancy said, before Obama admitted there was no such thing as a shovel ready project? And where’s the buck (never mind $1.50) now? We have a different perception, that our gov’t, in its current form, will do more harm than good, and giving it more money will only make things worse. Our perception is all clouded by nostalgia, for a limited-gov’t America that produced prosperity beyond the imagination of Louis XIV, enough that even the less fortunate have still got it pretty good. For how much longer?

        • http://mediamatters.org/ Wil Burns

          Paul, The very wealthy in this country have quite a racket going. Their goal goes beyond simply using their influence and money to buy Congress (and I am sure, in the future, the White House). They want to control government for a reason, and you can bet that reason is self-serving and short-sighted. The end-game here is having all the wealth and power in the hands of a few billionaires and multi-national corporations, while the vast majority of the population is left to fend for themselves, with the deck stacked against them, and with NO help from any level of government. In other words, this is Class Warfare with the destruction of the Middle Class as the goal. That’s the class warfare that is going on!

          • CCNV

            You must be talking about Soros and Immelt.

          • Paul Courtney

            Your powerful logic has opened my eyes. Yes, the deck was stacked, I see it now, the very wealthy, crushing me… can’t hold out… much…longer. Oh, wait, it’s not the wealthy, it’s a g-man, and he’s here to help. Then why the hell is he sitting on my chest?
            Friend, you can save that stuff for when you write comic books for community organizers. The very wealthy were buying congress when T Jefferson’s hair was still red, to serve their own interests and protect/acquire more wealth. Leaving people to pursue their own interest is how we got the largest and most prosperous middle class in history. To extrapolate out a conspiracy to destroy the middle class is, in the immortal words of Jonathan Winters, a “special kind of stupid”. Sorry in advance for the name-calling, but you’re sitting in the class warfare war room, accusing others of class warfare.

  • Terry Walbert

    I knew Obama was a phoney the first time I saw him. His election proves only one thing: that it’s just as easy for a mediocre black man to win the presidency as a mediocre white man. I’d like to see him function in the business world.

    • begbie

      In the business world, you must build relationships based on mutual prosperity or the promise of mutual prosperity. Trust comes after that. The President would indeed fail in the business world because he’s burned too many bridges. The trust is not there because the prosperity is not there. And REAL business leaders don’t see prosperity down the road—-just uncertainty.

      Obama’s Chicago style of muscle politics would only last so long in the business world.

  • Bruce A.

    Bernie, this campaigh strategy reminds me of Jimmy Carter. I hope Pres. Obama stole it from Jimmy Carters & winds up with the same results.

  • Sasha

    I have a younger sister who blamed everything on “Bush” and no matter what I said went on about OBAMA helping her with Health care. I tried to educate her and convince her that her Health Care was going to go up. She accused me of being a Bush Lover and a Republican. I am an Independent. I just waited and sure enough she is now paying $250.00 more in health care. Boy is she complaining but guess what she still blames the Repulicans. SHE HAS NOT HAD AN ORIGINAL THOUGHT IN YEARS. She is wondering about OBAMA. I have hope.

    • nicksharky

      You should have hope. It’s a generational thing. Just give her time and, chances are, she will eventually agree with your views. I, myself, became a moderate conservative later in life, after gaining wisdom and experience. Some examples of celebrities who went through a similar transition are: Jon Voigt and John Stossel.

  • Bob

    I can only speak for myself, but by any accepted income standards I am not even close to “rich”. But I, for one, do NOT want to see the “rich” pay more in taxes. They shoulder FAR too much of the tax burden already.

    I do not want their taxes raised because I am busting my ass to become one of those hated “rich”, and am happy to admit it.

    To fan the flames of political incorrectness even more, I would add that anybody who buys a lottery ticket and also laments the position of the ‘rich’ is a hypocrite. Think about it. A lottery ticket buyer has, by definition, taken time out of their day(!).. to plunk down their own money…for the sole purpose of becoming one of the people they seem to hate so much.

    Any lottery ticket holder that rails against the so-called rich is either a monumental hypocrite, or in need of professional help.

    • begbie

      Good Post, Bob. Here in Virginia, the lottery came about with the promise, and still promises, that the money goes to public schools. The truth is, the money DOES go to public schools……but the budget for the schools was also adjusted DOWN to compensate for the extra revenues. Therefore, the added revenues go to the government for other purposes and the schools don’t see extra funding.

      So those people standing in line at convenience stores trying to get rich are only filling the pockets of the government. The lottery is a critical component of the nanny state….bread and circus to keep the masses happy and hopeful.

      • Bob

        Hi Begbie. Now I don’t feel so bad. The lottery came to Ohio in the mid-70’s with exactly the same pitch – the money would go to schools. And local school districts are broke. oh well.

        And don’t get me started on the nanny state. LOL.

  • EddieD_Boston

    As I posted many months ago I was actually happy when Obama was elected even though I didn’t vote for him. The country needed a change and Obama was from my generation, he’s almost exactly a year younger than I am. But this guy had been a disaster and he’s done nothing but divide us more. Europe has begun to figure out that socialism doesn’t work but our “brilliant” president hasn’t yet.
    See what happens to a person when he takes his looney liberal Ivy League professors seriously. How brilliant can he really be?

    • EddieD_Boston

      Why is my last post “waiting for moderation”????

    • nicksharky

      Good point, Eddie. As Bernie said, all the stars were perfectly aligned for Obama to win the election in 2008. This time around, in 2012, I believe that the voters will administer a second shock treatment to Obama and the Democrats.

  • Ron Kean

    I forgot about what he did to the supremes. Obama literally has to be the most in-your-face combative president ever. Bring a knife bring a gun…boot in neck…I don’t have horns. Horns? Is he constructing a straw man on the right who thinks he’s the devil? Or do I fear he doth protest too much?

  • http://seepamblog.com Pamela Grothaus

    One of the most annoyingly liberal people I know is named — you guessed it — Paul. We haven’t talked since the ’08 election; I wonder if he’s tired of Obama yet.

    • begbie

      I have a friend, a conservative, who voted for Obama after reading his books and doing considerable research. He was impressed by him and hopeful, so Obama got his vote.

      Now he’s so hopping mad at the President that he gets red in the face just for bringing it up. It’s a classic “buyers remorse” response. My friend is a good man and successful, but he admits that his vote was squandered and that it was a terrible mistake. I try not to rub it in his face with the “I told you so”.