In the 1990′s I remember having a conversation with my [then brand new] friend, Andrew Sandlin, about the Bill Clinton Presidency. I had just finished watching a video that a “Christian” friend had sent me regarding the drug-dealing and murder-ring that Bill Clinton had probably been running in Arkansas before being elected President. The video was really funny. It had no evidence, whatsoever, but it did document that people flew in and out of Arkansas a lot, a fact that I am sure Wal-mart executives would be very disturbed to learn. It was some sort of group affiliated with Jerry Falwell that had made the video, and in addition to murder, drug trafficking, and rape, it implicated Bill Clinton in some pretty serious business crimes as well. The conversation Andrew and I had basically revealed that we had come to the same conclusion about this kind of stuff: We found it incomprehensible that people who were supposedly opposed to the policies of Bill Clinton were so willing to focus on things they could never, ever prove, and had no foundation in reality, when there was such an abundance of things we did know that warranted our attention. There was no ambiguity as to the radicalism of his Supreme Court appointments. The incoherence of his foreign policy was as evident as could be. His bizarre hesitation to facilitate a ban on partial birth abortion was a widely known controversy. And yet there were those who wanted to make a half-assed video about Bill Clinton trafficking drugs in and out of a secret airport in Arkansas. Fruitcakes.
Fast forward to the current administration, and I would propose to you that the problem is worse to a power of 100. First of all, Barack Obama is a dramatically worse President than Bill Clinton, and I could not possibly state that emphatically enough. Bill Clinton was pro-dollar, pro-trade, pro-growth, and a reducer of taxes on investment. He also ran a balanced budget, helped by the fact that he presided over the greatest technology and globalization boom in history. Barack Obama is anti-trade, anti-dollar, anti-growth, anti-business, anti-oil, anti-investment, and anti-prosperity. For those who think I am being unfair, I have so far only cited the things that he told us he was. We are living through a time that I honestly believe will represent a fork in the road for America’s future. This man increased the size of government over 30% in 18 months. He has passed three of the top ten most dangerous pieces of legislation in the last one hundred years (the stimulus, the health care atrocity, and the FinReg bill). There is a lot on the line. And yet, despite the unopposed fact that Barack Obama has brought the deficit to a $1.7 trillion level, and despite the fact that he bullied through the most intrusive piece of legislation of my lifetime with this individual mandate and national health insurance nonsense, and despite the fact that he ran roughshod over the rule of law with his inexcusable bailout of GM and Chrysler, and despite the fact that he has crowed for a cap-and-tax bill that would literally strangle the U.S. economy, and despite 30 months of unseemly rhetoric against the heart of American business – the job-creating entrepreneurs who desire a better life for themselves – despite the uncontested, empirically obvious disaster of this Presidency, there exists a large number of people who have chosen to be obsessed about his birth certificate, and his Muslim-sounding name, and any number of other distractions. We have the choice between focusing on the very, very frightening things we do know about this President and his policies, or focusing on things we could never prove, that essentially have allowed supporters of this President to brand a large portion of his opposition as fruitcakes (and frankly, with good reason). It is disheartening.
I am not going to moderate my position so much as to say that I do not believe Obama is a threat to the American way of life. I do. But I think all of liberalism is, especially when it got a B.A. at Columbia and a law degree at Harvard. If only my friends in this part of the right understood how extreme these things were in and of themselves. The radicalization of Barack Obama can easily be placed at the feet of the Ivy League, and even if the problem goes back to his birth origin, who cares??? Many people were born in Massachusetts that became die-hard anti-American lunatics, and many people were born in Africa that became models of Western values and practices. This man was elected President, and that birth certificate distraction was never going to undo any of it. But now not a week goes by where the “fringe opponents of Obama” do not come up in the course of Meet the Press vetting a policy dispute between Obama and conservatives. It has proven to be disastous, and it may get this wildly unpopular President re-elected next year, even with unemployment over 9%.
Here is a news flash: 45% of people who vote have no chance in the world of voting for anyone else at all but Barack Obama. And 45% of the people who vote are absolutely no matter what going to be voting against him. Right now, that other 10% is dramatically set against the President and his record. But their opposition to the President is over-shadowed only by their opposition to the fringe lunacy of the things I am writing about in this article. The folks who have chosen to ignore policy and philosophy for birthplace and other such frivolities have opened the door for a radical President to become a sympathetic character in much of the moderate middle. This is unacceptable to those of us who know what ideological framework the President is governing from. We must win the 2012 election. And I will suggest to you that the President’s best campaign allies so far have been those who have chosen to focus on what they do not know, over what they do know.
We know enough to stay focused on the issues that matter. Perceptions matter. There is no reason to get off point here. We have an election to win.