An Ugly Victory
November 12, 2012
By Tom Barrett
Obama won his first election by large margins, sweeping onto the national stage with soaring rhetoric promising “Hope and Change,” transparency in government, and “the most non-partisan presidency” in history. He won re-election with a scant two percent of the popular vote, using the ugliest tactics I have seen in my many years of watching presidential elections.
What happened over the last four years? When did “hope and change” morph into “whatever dirty tricks it takes to win?” The answer to that question is easy. Obama has always been a down-in-the-gutter Chicago-style shady politician. He simply disguised his true nature in 2008. In 2012, faced with a good chance of defeat, he took off his nice guy mask.
Although the electoral win was much greater than the popular vote, just a few percentage points difference in four key states would have meant a Romney victory. After the first debate Romney certainly had the momentum. So what were the lies that Obama spent millions polluting the airwaves with that turned the tide?
Obama was remarkably successful at spreading the lie that Republicans were working to suppress the black vote, although he never offered a shred of evidence in support of this monstrous lie. He garnered 93% of the black vote.
Obama pushed the narrative of a mythical Republican “War on Women.” This resulted from Obama’s war on the Catholic Church in which he used his health care “reform” bill to force Catholic institutions to provide abortions and birth control to their employees in violation of their faith. Republicans opposed this attack on religious freedom. Obama turned it into a birth control issue, and made it appear to be an attack on women in general (even though most women polled said they would be happy to pay the $10 per month for birth control out of their own pockets rather than trying to intimidate the Catholic Church). In the single women category, Obama received 67% of the vote.
Obama ran ads in which Republicans pushed grandma in a wheelchair off a cliff, knowing full well that the Social Security system is bankrupt and that Medicare is in serious jeopardy. In 2008 he promised that one of his first priorities would be entitlement reform to fix these programs. Yet he has done nothing in the last four years in this regard, nor has he proposed or accomplished one piece of legislation. But when Republicans offer solid ideas to save these programs for future retirees, he accuses them of trying to push Grandma off a cliff.
But on the back burner, even more venomous ads brewed. Early on, in an anti-Romney ad created by Priorities USA Action “super PAC,” a man named Joe Soptic accuses Mitt Romney of actually being responsible for killing his wife, ailing from cancer. In reality, his wife died in 2006 - five years after the plant closed. Mr. Soptic admitted in a CNN interview that his wife actually lost her own employer-sponsored coverage a year or two later. She had no coverage after that. But the ad permeating the airwaves claimed his wife died of cancer “a short time” after he was laid off from a steel plant owned by Bain Capital. The facts that followed proved that everything in this ad was a lie. Soptic was not laid off. The GST plant was closed a full five years prior to his wife’s death. More importantly, per the above timeline, Romney had left Bain over seven years before she died. Obama and the action league were fully aware of these facts, yet they chose to run the ad anyway.
Obama ads accused Romney of “outsourcing jobs” to other countries, again fully aware that any outsourcing that took place occurred long after Romney had left the management position of the company in 1999 to run the 2002 Olympics. But this is not even the central issue. The fact is that the U.S. Government, which has the highest corporate tax rates of any nation, is the chief reason for jobs moving overseas. Simply speaking, when corporate taxes rise, more companies move plants to foreign nations. And Obama is about to raise corporate taxes even higher.
There is no question that Obama ran the most unscrupulous presidential campaign in history, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on personal attack ads and outright lies. He told hard-working American business owners that if they had a successful business, “You didn’t build that” with an immediate second affront: “You're not so smart! Others are smarter, more hard-working!” The “most non-partisan president” advised his own followers to get “revenge” by voting for him.
Jeff Jacoby, a respected columnist for the Boston Globe, put it this way: “Obama may have eked out a victory, but he won it ugly, and his first term will go down as one of the great squandered boons in American political history. Rarely has a president come to office with such a reservoir of goodwill; rarely has any done so much to poison it. To cling to office, he spent a vast fortune trashing his opponent - a ferocious campaign that epitomized everything he once claimed to oppose.”
We would have felt pride in America once again, calling Mitt Romney, a man of honor, our president. Yes, Obama won, but I can’t imagine he is proud of the way he did it. If he is, he is devoid of conscience. Being proud of this ugly victory would be like a boxer taking pride in decking his opponent using lead-weighted gloves.
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