Rep. West: President Obama "Does Not Fathom" Upward Mobility In America

October 12, 2011 10:09 am ET — Alan Pyke

In a recent email to supporters that touched on the Occupy Wall Street protests, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) offered this appraisal of President Obama's understanding of America:

I truly believe President Barack Obama does not comprehend American exceptionalism. He does not fathom that in America the station of your birth does not determine the station of your outcome. America is not about class or caste, it is about rewarding individuals for their drive and determination, for their hard work and ideas.

America is about the individual and not about a collective. We are not like "The Borg" of Star Trek.

Liberal progressives do not want to unleash our individual strength, they prefer to foment collective divisiveness, which is exactly what this "Occupy Wall Street" movement is about.

Never forget that every time in the history of the world that a national leader has demagogued and demonized a targeted segment of society, it has ended up horribly for that country. 

West can go to the D.C. public library and borrow a copy of one of President Obama's two books about emerging from a single-parent, middle-class family into the rarefied airs of academia, the U.S. Senate, and the presidency, in case he's honestly not aware that Obama is a poster child for upward mobility. But it's much more likely that this is another example of West's unfiltered invective coming untied from reality and making him look foolish.

There's a larger point to be had here, though, about what is actually putting a leash on American ingenuity (to borrow one of West's metaphors). A corrupt financial system razed the U.S. economy while President Bush's regulators slept, spiking unemployment and causing demand to sag so far that businesses are sitting on trillions of dollars rather than investing it. Our broken political system has prevented us from making common-sense investments in the next generation of energy technologies — investments which experts say would revitalize the American manufacturing sector. And the tax and regulatory policies promoted by a generation of conservative politicians have failed to produce the steady trickle down of wealth from the upper class to the middle that was promised, putting the dream of upward economic mobility out of reach for many Americans.

Those failures have a lot more to do with the anger that's filling American cities with occupiers than the cartoonish depictions offered by West and his fellow Republicans.