Demagoguery, foolishness and hard reality
Campaign season is demagoguery season, no doubt about it. A brief review of events to this point might be instructive.
The campaign opened with charges that Mitt Romney put his dog on the roof of his car 30 years ago, and later killed a woman by giving her cancer five years after laying off her husband. Republicans, in an equally serious vein, pointed out that Mr. Obama admitted he ate dog — although not the same one on Mr. Romney’s roof, as far as I can tell.
Meanwhile, a few denizens of the right were still prowling about looking for evidence to prove Mr. Obama was not born in the United States, as if that would make the slightest difference to anyone not abnormally maladjusted.
Then, if the current campaign wasn’t focused enough on marginal issues, homophobic chicken sandwiches intervened. Gay activist Floyd Corkins thought it appropriate to shoot people because of their opposition to same sex marriage. He armed himself with a handgun, a box of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches and proceeded to the offices of the Family Research Council and shot the security guard. Seems he didn’t like the group’s opposition to same-sex marriage. What he planned to do with 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches remains a mystery. One might criticize Corkins for thinking gay marriage important enough to shoot people, but he isn’t much different than the Democratic leaders and mainstream press who almost wept when they learned that Sandra Fluke, a 30-year-old Georgetown law student, couldn’t afford the $9 a month required for a month’s supply of birth control pills. She should have contacted the U.S. Olympic Committee. They passed out 150,000 condoms to the U.S. team and might have had a few they could spare for Georgetown Law School.
Paul Ryan joined the Republican ticket at just about the time you despaired of ever hearing a mention of the country’s economic future, and this elevated the debate somewhat. Forget the dog, the woman, the place of birth, now each side is accusing the other of killing Medicare. So far it is not a great debate, but at least it’s is a step up. We learned that Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare to pay for the increase in Medicaid mandated by Obamacare and that Romney and Ryan had also proposed such a cut before dropping the idea. The most confusing thing of all is that Americans watching all this foolishness and demagoguery know that we are doomed on the present course, yet many continue to oppose even those candidates who agree with them.
We need a truly serious debate because there is nothing in history we can compare to our level of spending and debt. We are the brokest nation in history and the signs of decay are disturbing. Since Obama has been in office he has, by his claim, created 2.6 million jobs. At the same time, as I wrote last week, 3.1 million Americans have signed on to Social Security Disability. That we are becoming disabled faster than employed ought to be a warning of some kind. On top of that, The Wall Street Journal reported, “More retirees are falling behind on student debt, and Uncle Sam is coming after their benefits.” Retirees falling behind on student debt payments? The government coming after them? And, you think we’re not in trouble?
Obama didn’t create the dependency that now threatens to consume us. It started sometime in the early century, gained momentum during the Great Depression and went into high gear with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Jimmy Carter managed to add the Department of Education and the Department of Energy to the financial black hole we call Washington, D.C. He also added the Community Reinvestment Act. That is the genius federal program that encouraged people to buy houses they couldn’t afford. (Thanks Jimmy, that worked out real swell.) George W. Bush managed to add $4 trillion to the deficit with his brand of compassionate conservatism — whatever the hell that is.
A lot was already wrong when Mr. Obama took office, but he has spent four years making things worse. He added $5 trillion in debt rather than trying to reduce the $11 trillion he inherited. Instead of working to reduce disabling dependency, he urges more people to use food stamps, unemployment insurance and disability entitlements, even though we can’t began to pay for existing recipients. Now he touts the bailout of the United Auto Workers Union — the GM bailout if you prefer — and thinks he can use that approach to spur more manufacturing. That the president takes this tack even while automotive experts are predicting another bankruptcy for GM is puzzling. Of course, the president doesn’t always allow facts to interfere with his narrative.
So far the Democrats have followed a simple strategy, “talk about anything but the economy and the president’s record.” So, as Mark Steyn believes, Democratic operatives sally forth to inform us that no matter what the issue, Mitt Romney is the issue and he will “put your dog on the roof, you wife in the ground and your Negro houseboy in the cotton field out back — or as the vice president of the United States told a mostly black crowd in Virginia the other day, “he gonna put y’all back in chains.”
Demagoguery and foolishness, like Kipling’s “Captains and Kings,” will depart and we are going to be left with the hard reality our leaders ignore.