2012 and the Polish Question
By Bruce Walker
June 25, 2012
The defamatory remark of Obama about “Polish death camps” in his presentation of the Medal of Freedom for Jan Karski reveals a profound political error which could cost him re-election. Obama made another grave mistake when he rejected the Polish government’s request that Lech Walesa accept Karski’s medal on the grounds that Walesa was “too political.”
Those twin slights trample the feet of nine million Americans of Polish descent who have been historically Democrats. These voters are concentrated in Rust Belt, the battleground in the 2012 presidential election. Polish voters will not only help choose our next president, but these voters may also be important in senatorial races in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Michigan.
Obama has already destroyed many good paying jobs for these voters. His comment that “the private sector is doing fine” shows contempt for blue collar workers in the Rust Belt, many of whom are Polish. Even die hard Democrats like AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka just last month urged Obama to approve the Keystone Pipeline, which would generate lots of good paying construction jobs for union members.
Obama cannot win without Trumpka’s support and the unions who belong to the AFL-CIO are not thrilled about Obama’s Wisconsin flyovers during the Walker recall elections. Trumpka is a labor leader but he is also of Polish descent, and the New York Times has compared him to another Polish union leader, Lech Walesa. The AFL-CIO support for Walesa three decades ago is generally seen as the moral high point of organized labor in America . How can Trumpka feel about Lech Walesa being considered “too political?” How would a black American feel about Martin Luther King being sloughed off as “too political?”
Obama has also alienated Polish-Americans by declaring war on the Catholic Church. The church, to Poles, has been more than just a particular religion. It has been the bulwark against government oppression, the glue which held Poles together as they resisted two horrific totalitarian regimes, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. That saintly man, Pope John Paul II, the Polish Pope, made Catholic support for the sanctity of life a core moral value of his papacy.
The Catholic clergy in America are publicly taking on Obama for his insistence in the secularization of medical care by religious institutions. The Council of National Directors of the Polish American Congress, a non-religious and nonpartisan organization, last month passed a resolution wholly supporting the Catholic Church on this issue. Bullying of the Catholic Church is perceived by millions of Polish-Americans as familiar and odious totalitarianism.
Does this offense resonate in the real political world? Four years ago, Barack Obama carried the First Congressional District of Michigan, a congressional district which had elected Democrats to the House of Representative in every single election since FDR took office. The district had elected the same Polish-American Democrat to Congress in the nine previous general elections, dating back to 1992, and by wide margins. The congressman’s name was Bart Stupak. He was Pro-Life but the House Democrat Leadership persuaded Stupak to support Obamacare for a meaningless executive order, the “Stupak fig leaf” as some called it. The First Congressional District has a large Polish population. The uproar against Stupak was so great that he did not even try to win reelection in 2010.
There is even an uglier aspect to this which should not escape Polish-Americans. Why, exactly, was Walesa “too political?” Lech Walesa fought Marxism. He was arrested for his courage in resisting Marxism. Obama was raised by Marxists who doubtless loathed Walesa specifically for standing up to Soviet oppression. The liberation of Poland by Walesa and John Paul II is an affront to Obama and his friends, proof that Marxism is evil and disastrous.
There are many reasons for Polish-Americans in the Rust Belt to oppose Obama this November. He has casually connected them with genocide. He has destroyed their livelihood. He has launched an attack on the church which has held Poles together in dark days of Hitler or Stalin. These are enough, but there is more: Obama would not have been on the side of Solidarity and the Polish people thirty years ago. He would have been on the side of their Soviet slave masters.
Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.