That’s right, folks. Forget about the “fiscal cliff,” budget deficits and the national debt. The terrorist attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, is also nothing about which to be concerned. According to President Obama’s campaign, the biggest, most pressing issue facing the United States is Big Bird.
As Ron noted yesterday, during last week’s debate, Mitt Romney said that he was going to stop subsidizing PBS, which airs the childrens show, Sesame Street. President Obama’s campaign, needing a distraction from a bad debate performance and foreign policy failures, poked fun at Romney’s in a snarky ad, which has received close to 1.5 million views in a day:
Some of my friends who know I heavily follow politics ask me about the presidential race, saying that I “must love this stuff.” Actually, no, and the reason why are memes like this. It’s annoying and a distraction. That’s not to say that it’s not a smart move from President Obama’s campaign when it all comes down to it, but the ad just contributes to the continuing absurdity of American politics, which is coming from both the Left and the Right. We’re all dumber because of it.
For their part, Sesame Street, which makes plenty of money and doesn’t need a federal subsidy, has asked Obama’s campaign to pull the ad, noting their non-partisan, non-profit status, which means that they do not endorse political candidates.
Despite taking a lump over Big Bird and PBS, Romney’s response to Obama’s ad was pretty good:
“You have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird,” he said. ”I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people and saving good jobs.”
During the Democratic National Convention in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama talked about the Americans’ cynicism toward government, noting the use of scare tactics by political opponents (H/T on the quote to Tim Cavanaugh):
[I]f you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone 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. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping and settle for what you already know.
Barack Obama could have been talking about himself just four years later. Despite all of the hurdles that face our economy and recent foreign policy issues, President Obama’s campaign is, doing exactly what he complained about in 2008, making a “big election about small things.” His campaign strategy is no longer “hope and change”; it’s now avoid, distract, and obfuscate.