Boxer Muhammad Ali had a slogan called “rope-a-dope” where he would dupe his opponent. By pretending to be trapped against the ropes, Ali would tire out the other fighter and then come back to win the bout. Barack Obama has used the concept of hope in a similar way in order to dupe the American public. I call it “hope-a-dope.” Obama won the presidency with his brilliant campaign slogan, “Hope and Change”—brilliant not because of what it meant, but rather because of what it did not mean. All by itself, “Hope and Change” doesn’t mean a damn thing. Obama’s slogan was pure nonsense on purpose.
“Hope and Change” was intended to seduce gullible voters who were fed up after George W. Bush’s second term in office. Hope and change. Change and hope. You could go along with it but you couldn’t attack it because there was no “it.” What would you say? “I am against hope and against change!” You would wake up in Bellevue wearing a straitjacket. Everyone wants hope and change. For millions of voters, it did not matter what Obama meant by hope. They voted for him because of what they thought it meant, not because of what he thought it meant.
Enter Donald Trump. Trump’s election is a rejection of Obama’s concept of hope, which reflects his desire to minimalize all things American. Trump stands for the hopes and dreams of all those who were left out by Obama’s anti-American platform. In an attempt to spin this around, Michelle Obama says that Trump’s election is the destruction of hope. “See, now, we are feeling what not having hope feels like,” Mrs. Obama told Oprah Winfrey last week. “Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept and Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes.” Who do you think you’re kidding, Michelle? That is exactly why he used it.
“He and I and so many,” Mrs. Obama continued, “believe that—what else do you have if you don’t have hope? What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?” She is clearly suggesting that only the Obamas’ definition of hope is correct, thereby invalidating the hopes and aspirations of the millions who voted for Trump. In reality, Mrs. Obama is nothing more than a sore loser. If you don’t believe in what we want you to believe, she is saying, you are an enemy of hope. Wow! That is monumental arrogance and, frankly, it offends me.
Yes, Barack Obama got away with it for eight years, but now his hope-a-dope strategy has been unmasked. Now we know what Obama intended by his version of hope and change. The change he tried to induce was the destruction of American exceptionalism by reducing her influence on the world stage and by bringing her down economically and militarily. Obama hoped that the United States would become Denmark. An unexceptional nation, divided from within, and weighed down by the insatiable demands of a massive nanny state. No thank you, Mr. Obama. Please take your hope-a-dope somewhere else, anywhere else, but not here.
Michelle Obama sees the end of hope. For all our sakes, I hope she is correct…I hope we have seen the last of the Obamas’ version of hope. I’m tired of being duped by hope-a-dope.
Ed Brodow is a negotiation expert, political commentator, and author of In Lies We Trust: How Politicians and the Media Are Deceiving the American Public.
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