STARK CONTRAST: Nelson Mandela was a uniter and a healer. Barack Obama is a divider and a well-poisoner.

Nelson Mandela passed away today at the age of 95.

The difference between Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama is just stunning.

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the white apartheid government of South Africa.

The minority white government labeled him a terrorist.

Apartheid ended. Nelson Mandela was released from prison and became leader of South Africa.

Many pundits (including me) assumed there would be a bloodbath — that Nelson Mandela would use his power to exact revenge against white South Africans. I expected that he would exterminate the white minority, chase whites out of the country, confiscate their property, shut down their businesses.

I assumed that he would quickly set himself up as a dictator and that South Africa would become another  Hell hole, like so many other African countries.

By all accounts, Mandela was a socialist of some kind — a man of the Left.

He got along well with the likes of Fidel Castro. Many of his statements indicated he was at times sympathetic to Communism.  He joined the Communist Party in South Africa in 1961, but seems to have left the party in 1962. And he said in court testimony that he had never become a Communist.

Nelson Mandela was on the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list. And the African National Congress, which he led, was classified by our government as a terrorist organization.

His ex-wife, Winnie Mandela, was a radical Leftist who advocated killing whites.  She cheered the barbaric practice of necklacing those who did not march in lockstep with the Communist Party line. She said  ”The Soviet Union is the torch-bearer for all our hopes and aspirations.”

She also said: “With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country.”

Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela parted ways.

She was a radical. He turned out not to be.

Nelson Mandela probably had soclialistic instincts.

He and Barack Obama would probably consider themselves “peas in a pod” in many respects, ideologically and philosophically.

But Nelson Mandela turned out to be a truly great man. In an act of Christ-like super-human forgiveness, he seemed to harbor no bitterness toward whites for the 27 years he spent in prison.

If he was bitter (who wouldn’t be?), he never showed it. Instead, he put South Africa’s future ahead of whatever anger toward whites that he must have harbored.

Mandela’s Economic Miracle

Far for chasing whites out of the country, exterminating whites, and confiscating their property and businesses, Nelson Mandela encouraged whites and their businesses to stay in South Africa.  He did not move South Africa toward socialism and Communism, as many of us expected he would. Instead, he encouraged entrepreneurship and industry.

As a result, South Africa’s economy grew strongly under Mandela — an average of 3 percent growth per year between 1995 and 2003. This was double the average 1.5 percent annual growth rate under apartheid from 1980 through 1994.

From 1994 to 2008, incomes for black South Africans increased by 93 percent, but incomes for white South Africans also increased by an impressive 62 percent, according to University of Cape Town economist Murray Leibbrandt.

So if Mandela was at one point some kind of a Communist or socialist, he certainly did not govern that way.

As a result, South Africa remains by far the most prosperous country on the African continent. It became even more of an economic superpower on the African continent under Mandela than it was under white apartheid rule.

It’s worth noting also that Nelson Mandela kept much of the apartheid homeland system in tact, much reviled by American liberals.

The main substantive change Mandela brought to South Africa was that blacks had as much right to apply for jobs as whites.

Had he attempted to dismantle the semi-autonomous “sovereign” homelands of Bophuthatswana and Kwazulu, he knew that would have triggered a civil war.

There had been a history of bloody conflicts between the African National Congress and the Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party, but Mandela was able to forge peace through negotiation and compromise.

Though Mandela’s party was the African National Congress, the rival Zulus came to trust Mandela.

This was on a level with getting the Palestinians to trust the Israelis.

The Contrast With Obama

Nelson Mandela was a uniter and a healer.

Contrast Nelson Mandela with Barack Obama — who is a divider, a well-poisoner, and a “sower of discord.”

The great poet Dante had a special place deep in Hell for “sowers of discord.”

They were way down there in Circle 8 in Dante’s Inferno.

Whenever possible, Obama injects race into politics. His standard playbook is to demonize his political opponents . . . and even entire industries. He not only demonizes Republicans, he demonizes the insurance industry, the coal industry, the oil companies — just about the entire private sector.

His 2008 campaign machine even savaged “Joe the Plumber.”

Obama refers to his critics as “enemies.”

Obama described his brief stint working for a business as working “behind enemy lines.”

Obama’s hatred of Republicans is so total that he carefully crafted health care legislation so that it would not garner a single Republican vote in a 435-member U.S. House of Representatives and a 100-member U.S. Senate — not a single Republican vote. Not even Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins, both of whom vote with the Democrats about half the time on major legislation.

Both Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins would have loved to have voted for ObamaCare, if they could have possibly justified it. Surely, he could have also brought along the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham if he had made any effort at all.

It would have be very easy to throw Republicans a few bones and to have attracted  some Republican votes for ObamaCare.

Why not do that if it costs you absolutely nothing?

Obama chose not to.

He had control of both chambers of Congress. So he wanted to make sure Republicans received absolutely nothing they wanted in the ObamaCare legislation — not even tort reform (which everyone supports, except lawyers).

Obama wanted legislation that would not and could not garner a single Republican vote in either chamber of Congress. That takes some doing. That takes careful thought.

This is not how you govern effectively.

Always, when governing, you want to do everything possible to bring the other side into the tent — even if you don’t really need to.  Why not make your major piece of legislation bipartisan if at all possible?

If your legislation cannot get a single vote in Congress from the other party, there’s a good chance that it’s bad legislation.

Ronald Reagan was able to get 70+ votes in the Senate for his tax-cut plans in 1981 . . . because he reached out to the less ideological Democrats.

He did not spike the football when he won the Presidency.  He did not tell leaders of the other party: “We won, you lost,” the way Obama did.

Reagan did not do any victory dances. He did not give the middle finger to the other party. Instead, he immediately reached out to the other party, without compromising on his principles.

Obama doesn’t even talk with Republicans. He attacks Republicans in every speech. He accuses Republicans of wanting dirty air, dirty water, and of wanting to throw grandma out into the snow. He says Republicans don’t care about children who have autism. He calls Tea Party people “Tea Baggers” (a sexual term).

He (his campaign) actually accused Mitt Romney of killing people.

In every speech, Obama tries to portray Republicans and conservatives as evil. He even sicks the IRS on his political opponents.  One gets the sense that Obama would kill his political critics if he could.

That’s certainly not how Nelson Mandela behaved.

Mandela kept the white minority in South Africa in the tent. He did not assail them as evil. He made it clear to them that they would be welcome in the new South Africa. Whites would have a place at the table.

As a result, South Africa continues to prosper.

Under Obama, the U.S. has gone in the opposite direction. Not only is our economy stuck in the mud and going no where, but America has become more racially divided than ever.

Mandela wanted South Africa to work, to be successful, to be prosperous.

Obama just wants to push his narrow socialist ideological agenda, no matter what the results.

Apparently, he doesn’t care that ObamaCare is a total disaster.  He’s determined to see the ruinous law through to the finish, no matter what harm it brings. No adjustments. No compromise.  Certainly no discussions with Republicans on how to fix ObamaCare.

There are ways to fix most of what’s wrong with ObamaCare. But Obama won’t listen

Obama could score amazing political points by changing course, by making adjustments, by listening, by fixing what’s not working.

But he won’t . . . because he sees his critics as evil.  He won’t even entertain the possibility that his critics might have some ideas worth considering.

It’s too bad Barack Obama learned nothing from Nelson Mandela’s example of how to govern a country.

Nelson Mandela fostered good will and trust. Barack Obama fosters ill will and distrust.

Nelson Mandela was modest and humble. Barack Obama uses the word “I” more than any President in American history. For Barack Obama, it’s always all about Obama.

I truly love Nelson Mandela, even though we probably disagreed on a lot of issues.

He was a great man — one of the greatest in world history . . . because of his actions, because of how he actually behaved when he had all the power.

He certainly could have set himself up as a dictator. He chose not to. He could have become the world’s richest man by seizing all the diamond mines and business assets of South Africa.  He chose not to.

I was dead wrong in my predictions about what Nelson Mandela would bring to South Africa.

But who could have predicted he would turn out to be the saint he turned out to be?

Who could have predicted that he would put all the personal anger he must have felt aside for the 27 years he unjustly served in prison . . . to do what’s best for his country?

Nelson Mandela was a true patriot.

Nelson Mandela is the model for how to bring people together. He is the definition of leadership.

I put him on the level of Mother Teresa and George Washington in terms of being a true force for good in the world.

What a stark and jarring contrast to Barack Obama’s smallness, pettiness, and nastiness.

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