On Monday at the Washington Examiner, Charlie Spiering provided a clip from then-Senator Barack Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination not quite four years ago:
In 2008, he derided the very strategy he would adopt four years later. proclaiming that
. . . if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone that people should run from. You make a big election about small things. And you know what it’s worked before — because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty.
Democrats declaring a Republican “war on women” because they disagree with the GOP’s opposition to federal health care mandates sounds like an attempt to paint the opposition as individuals people should run from. That kind of distortion feeds into the cynicism we all have about government.
Now the president is busy scaring voters about the Ryan budget without presenting a one capable of securing a single Democratic vote in the House (indeed without insisting the Democratic Senate pass a budget). He may be scaring voters about Republican reforms, but still has not put forward a plan to address our growing federal debt or the coming insolvency of Medicare and Social Security.
“As president,” Peter Wehner writes, “Obama has not only discarded” the commitment he made in 2008 to “rediscover our bonds to each other and get out of this constant, petty bickering that’s come to characterize our politics”,
. . . he has turned it on its head. Republicans aren’t simply people with whom he has philosophical disagreements; they are members of the “Flat Earth Society” and have embraced a budget that demonstrates their “Social Darwinism.” The Republican philosophy is “simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.” The Republican vision is for elderly Americans unable to afford nursing home care, poor children, and children with autism and Down syndrome to “fend for themselves.” The GOP favors “dirtier” air and water. And Republicans in Congress consistently “put party before country.”
The president, then, has signaled that he is going to run a campaign built on crude caricatures and false claims, whether they are directed against Mitt Romney, Congress, or the Supreme Court. No individual or institution is beyond libel.