Obama brings campaign rhetoric to a new low
In Ghostbusters II, Peter Venkman, played by Bill Murray, is approached by the mayor’s assistant and told that his ghosthunting team should stay away from his boss. Venkman replied, “You know, I’m a voter. Aren’t you supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt?”
That’s the impression that many of us have of politicians. Throught out my time covering politics, especially in the South, I’ve met many politicians who, upon shaking my head, gave me a look that told me that they would lie, cheat, and steal to get my vote. An authentic, consistant politician is a rare breed, and it’s most likely true that you’ve never met one.
So when it was reported yesterday that, during an interview with Rolling Stone, President Barack Obama called Mitt Romney a “bullshitter,” I had a good laugh. Not because it was funny, but because this is true of almost all politicians, including Obama himself.
There is a lot of outrage from Republicans about the comment, mainly because it showed a lack of class from a sitting president to attack his opponent in such a manner. For all of his talk about a “new tone” in political rhetoric, Obama’s campaign is certainly doing a bang up job in leading by example.
Republicans may have a point in saying that Obama’s comments were classless, but it’s unlikely to cost Obama many votes. To his point, Obama’s was pretty accurate. Many of us slammed Romney for his constant flip-flops during the last two cycles. These inconsistancies earned Romney the nickname “Multiple Choice Mitt.”
But instead of focusing on the lack of class that he has shown with his comments, Republicans should start firing back at Obama’s own inconsistancies, flip-flop, and broken promises. In a recent column at the Washington Examiner, Philip Klein laid out some example of Obama’s own flip-flops, just on the issue of health care:
During his protracted 2008 primary fight with Hillary Clinton, one of the few areas of domestic policy disagreement centered around the individual mandate. Clinton was a strong supporter of the idea, but Obama was emphatically opposed. He described how “you can have a situation which we’re seeing right now in the state of Massachusetts, where people are being fined for not having purchased health care but choose to accept the fine because they still can’t afford it even with the subsidies. And they are then worse off. They then have no health care and are paying a fine above and beyond that.”
But Obama signed an individual mandate into law as president. According to the Congressional Budget Office, once it’s in effect, 6 million Americans will still lack insurance but will be forced to pay penalties totaling $7 billion — precisely the situation Obama warned about. Most of those penalties will be borne by the middle class.
While we’re on the subject of the mandate, it’s worth remembering what Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in Sept. 2009: “[F]or us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase.” Yet his lawyer argued successfully before the Supreme Court that the mandate was, in fact, a tax, and therefore constitutional.
And in 2008, Obama ran an ad titled “Billy,” blasting then-PhRMA President Billy Tauzin and the art of deal-making in Washington. “I don’t want to learn how to play the game better, I want to put an end to the game playing,” Obama vowed.
Yet as president, despite pledges to conduct all health care negotiations on C-SPAN, Obama cut a secret deal with Tauzin’s PhRMA behind closed doors. Under the terms of the deal, drug companies would support Obama’s health care legislation in exchange for special favors, such as Obama’s opposition to the reimportation of drugs from Canada. Incidentally, that represented another flip-flop, as candidate Obama supported reimportation.
You also have the promise Obama made to voters during the 2008 presidential campaign that they would see a net-spending cut during his first term. Yeah, that one was not just broken, but completely shattered since the national debt has increased by $5.5 trillion over the last four years. Remember when Obama said he would close the detention center at Gitmo? Promise broken. Oh, and remember that time the stimulus bill was going to create millions of new jobs and keep the unemployment rate under 8%? How’d that work out?
These are just examples and believe me, there are more out there. But in terms of “bullshit,” Obama is just as bad as Romney, if not worse.