The President is making all the right political moves, 2 in particular which will pay off dearly. Unfortunately one will damage the country nearly beyond repair, and the other will simply create social unrest for no purpose for our people.
Consider what he has done in the last week. As baby-boomers reach retirement age in record numbers, he has deceitfully made them believe they will lose their Medicare coverage if the Ryan debt reduction plan is enacted– and that Obama’s plan will not impact Medicare in any negative way. In doing so he has millions of real human beings, many whom are frail and most of whom are elderly (even many of whom are Republican), fearing for their future. The result must be many millions of campaign contributions from one of the most lucrative contribution sources: our seniors.
Then yesterday he upped the ante. In the midst of a nagging recession, 9% unemployment, and a debt crisis unlike any we have ever seen, the President raised the need for immigration reform. Why? Sadly, it’s very clear as to why. He wants that rapidly growing hispanic vote. He received 74% of it in 2008, and he wants that and more in 2012. And, he wants their contributions and those from their PAC’s now. Think about it. There is no other reason for him to have brought this subject up at this time. For 2 years his party controlled both houses of Congress and they did nothing on this important subject. Suddenly, with a Republican House of Representatives, 2 weeks after he announces he is running for President, he is talking about immigration reform?
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of all this– or rather than interesting, call it “audacious”, this is the President who constantly decries the influence of money in politics ($750 million, more than double the record, raised in 2008) and who just yesterday decried playing politics with important issues such as debt reduction.
This President must look in the mirror at night and say one of two things: 1. “Can you imagine these fools who strongly support me as I say one thing and do completely the opposite on the same day”, or 2. “How can I live with myself when I play such games that benefit only me and my party, and yet I’m so dishonest with myself and with the people who chose me to serve them?”. My vote, since he is an elitist and former college professor, it’s number 1.
The money is most certainly pouring in. It is projected that the President will raise more than $1 billion this time around. We in this country want to believe that money is not that influential, but I was once told by a cynical but brilliant political leader that “money wins elections, hands down”.
As I consider what President Obama is doing with his divisive rhetoric, his demagoguery, and his fear tactics, I try to recall a campaign where someone stooped to such levels. As it turns out, there are many examples such as when Governor George W. Bush knowingly used falsehoods against John McCain in the primary, or when John Kerry said such horrible things about Bush 43 during his re-election campaign. But when I think through them, I cannot come up with an example where a sitting President was willing to stoop to such levels. Being the incumbent brings many advantages and some disadvantages, but it is widespread consensus that overall incumbency is a huge advantage. One of the disadvantages, however, is that you have to remain Presidential, that you can’t demagogue or use cheap shots, you are both a candidate but also a leader and certain approaches are simply off limits to you, even when they are methods your opponent uses as their main weapons.
Consider every re-election campaign in your memory, no matter whether the incumbent won or lost. Bush 43, Clinton, Bush 41, Reagan, Carter. None of them were willing to play cheap games or use unreasonable fear tactics or let their presidential agenda be significantly derailed by a re-election campaign.
Obama, who ironically billed himself as the one who would rise above the indignities and lack of ethics of politicians past, is breaking the rules. It appears at this time that it is more important to him that he be re-elected than that he complete his first term by serving the people who elected him. Sure, we’ll grant him a little latitude to campaign in ways we may not be entirely comfortable with, but when he decides to play games with our fiscal security, and to literally frighten our seniors over what will be a sustained 18 month period, he has crossed the line.
Great for him. Terrible for America.