Conservatives Need To Focus On The Two Scandals That Matter

There have been a lot of silly “scandals” during this election season, which is a usual and normal waste byproduct of the American election process, though this year has been notably intense. Unfortunately, between the “scandals” of Obama having eaten dog while a child in Indonesia, criticism over a flubbed line in Poland, guffaws about him using the word “thingamajig” in a speech, and the resurgent “Birther” nonesense, conservatives and libertarians are losing sight of the real problems with the Obama administration. As I see it, there are two that need to be focused on relentlessly:

  1. The absolutely dismal economic situation, exacerbated by this president’s misguided and foolhardy policies
  2. The utterly atrocious record on civil liberties that President Obama has engendered, a holdover from the Bush administration (so much for “Change”)

Everything else can pretty much be secondary to this or just treated as nonsense. These are the real core problems with the Obama administration, and they are all that conservatives need to hammer him with. Forget the memes, forget the social conservatism, just focus on two things: jobs and civil liberties (which does, in case you’re wondering, tie into foreign policy. A bit.)

The economic problem is fairly straightforward: this is the worst recession since World War II, bar none. From the Calculated Risk blog, this chart shows you how badly:

worst_recession

I don’t see any other need for dredging up other scandals or misadventures to pin on the president. “It’s the economy, stupid,” plays very strong and safe with voters, for good reason. Quite frankly, Obama’s Keynesian (or pseudo-Keynesian; I’m not entirely sure he follows even that school anymore) have been an utter disgrace.

12.7 million. That’s the number of Americans who are looking for a job but can’t find one. There’s another 8.1 million Americans who want full-time work but can only find it part-time. I don’t pretend that the President has complete control over the economy, and surely this cannot entirely fall on Obama’s shoulders. However, Obama’s “stimulus” programs and cronyist government loan schedules have done exactly zip to benefit the economy, and may have damaged it for the long-term. His pursuit of Obamacare has only contributed to the doldrums, as the regulatory uncertainty with the bill has made many companies be cautious about hiring. Obama does not have control over the economy, and he did not make this mess, but by Jove he has done squat to help out the average American.

We can reasonably certain that the Republicans will hammer Obama on this. After all, that’s practically the raison d’etre of the fiscal conservative wing of the Republican Party. However, on the other major issues, civil liberties, I don’t expect the GOP to do much at all, precisely because George W. Bush has such similar policies.

Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic covered this in his column titled “Hey Voters: The Kill List Is What Matters.” He’s been very good at calling out Obama on his numerous civil rights violations. There’s more to it than just the kill lists, naturally: there’s the whole issue of drone strikes in general, followed up by the use of drones on American soil to spy on American citizens; the airport security procedures sexual molestation by TSA agents; the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act that allows him to throw anyone in jail at any time; his intial support for SOPA which would have basically shut down the Internet; his utterly lukewarm and merely political support for same-sex marriage; his continued war on poor Americans who smoke pot, even though he’s had pot himself; and numerous other issues. (Oh yeah, and Guantanamo. Did that ever get shut down? No? Didn’t think so.)

Obama should be castigated by those on the left for such things. He should be roundly denounced by folks such as Andrew Sullivan, MoveOn.org, and Code Pink. Yet I hear very little denouncing from that side of the aisle (or the other, for that matter, aside from Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Republicans.) It is a sad fact of life that in this country, the civil liberties front and the anti-war movement are both utterly political beasts, opposed to such depradations by their opponents, but indifferent to the same depradations by their patrons.

Neither the Keynesian economic policies nor the Orwellian Department of Homeland Security have any place in this country, yet Obama has maintained and expanded both. They are literally the only scandals that the voting public needs to focus on to recognize how disastrous this administration has been for America. Unfortunately, conservatives continue to avoid these matters and focus on slips of the tongue and stupid stories about things that happened in the president’s childhood. Why? Why don’t they press the real attack, where Obama is most vulnerable?

I will bet you dollars to donuts it’s because the Republicans know their attacks would be hollow and not mean anything. They have consistently promised to cut spending…and have consistently failed. They have no leg to stand upon on civil liberties, unless they repudiate George W. Bush…and that’s not happening any time soon.

No wonder our election has devolved to the point it has.


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