President Barack Obama thinks of himself as a master political manipulator. And why shouldn't he? Since 2004, Obama has catapulted himself from unknown Senate candidate to occupant of the White House. And he has done so largely by mastering the art of diversion. When Republicans targeted Obama's association with Jeremiah Wright, Obama diverted Americans by making a vague and infantile speech about race. When Hillary Clinton raised Obama's inexperience in foreign policy, Obama diverted Americans by blabbing about "hope and change."
Now Obama is in trouble on health care. Americans simply don't like his plan to gradually nationalize health care -- the latest Rasmussen poll shows that just 42 percent of voters support Congress' proposal, while 53 percent oppose it. And Obama is going back to his tried and true strategy: diversion. And as usual, he has picked his three favorite targets: race, ex-President Bush and the American people.
First, race. The Obama-Crowley-Gates explosion was deliberately planned and executed by Obama. Taking advantage of a presidential press conference on health care to rip the Cambridge police department and invoke racial profiling was a calculated strategy to distract Americans from the health care debate.
Second, Bush. On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Eric Holder was gearing up to investigate the CIA for detainee "abuses" administered under the Bush administration's watchful eye. The timing of this investigation is troubling, especially since Obama has previously vacillated between interest in prosecution of Bush officials and the more intellectually and politically defensible hands-off position. The Obama administration's sudden revivification of interest in the Bush CIA demonstrates an obvious desire to distract Americans' attention from the burgeoning health care debate.
Finally, there's the Obama administration’s attempt to demonize its health care opposition. This is a clear diversionary tactic designed to put political enemies on the defensive. By labeling private health care supporters a "mob" of "un-American" lackeys paid for by "K Street," Obama and his allies are obviously attempting to discredit anyone who has the temerity to challenge his socialized medicine plans. And he is doing so in the most disreputable fashion: conflating intelligent criticizers with Timothy McVeigh types.