Brian and Garrett Fahy

Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where hostages develop and express empathy and positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.

Such feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who mistake a lack of abuse for an act of kindness. Electoral Stockholm Syndrome is apparently alive and well in America. How else to explain Barack Obama’s victory in the very states most hurt by his policies the last four years?

During the campaign, President Obama spent months and over a billion dollars blatantly misrepresenting history and his record to struggling swing voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Virginia, and Nevada. They nonetheless rewarded him with a second term. A few examples of this swing state Stockholm Syndrome are illustrative: the stimulus, the cause of the recession, Wall Street “reform,” and energy policy.

First, the president misrepresented the effects of the $860 billion stimulus, which stimulated nothing but the pocketbooks of the unions to which the stimulus bribes were directed. No jobs were “saved or created” by this unprecedented waste, which kicked in after the recession ended in June of 2009. Indeed, the swing states experienced no measureable decline in unemployment after the stimulus. Yet exit polls inexplicably showed voters thought Obama’s policies, more than Mitt Romney’s, favored the middle class.

Second, president Obama blatantly ignored his party’s principal culpability for the financial crisis. He knowingly and falsely claimed that George W. Bush’s deregulation caused the recession when he knew the truth was otherwise: that Democrats, led by Bill Clinton and Barney Frank, forced banks, at legal knife-point, to provide mortgages to unworthy borrowers. He further knew that Democrats legislatively thwarted every effort by Bush to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and called such efforts “racist.”

Remarkably, swing state voters, though suffering record foreclosures (Nevada) and unemployment (Michigan) were apparently eager for another swig of Obama’s hemlock. These voters accepted the president’s untruths as gospel and voted accordingly. Incredibly, Nevada went for Obama 52.3% to 45.7%.

Third, President Obama blamed the recession on Wall Street while knowing that Wall Street, which gave heavily to his election and reelection efforts, reaped huge rewards from the suspect financial instruments created to profit from the mortgage scheme Congress created. The President further knew that Dodd-Frank does nothing to prevent a repeat mortgage meltdown, and it implemented no safeguards for under-capitalized banks which his Treasury Department deemed “too big to fail.” Yet he talked as if Dodd-Frank was the second coming of the SEC.

To compound these falsehoods, the President painted Mitt Romney as the archetype Wall Street villain responsible for the economic meltdown, and peddled vicious lies about Romney’s personal investments and his tenure at Bain Capital. Despite the thousands of jobs created in America by companies restructured by Bain, Obama painted Romney as an out-of-touch corporate raider intent on shipping jobs to China when in fact, the stimulus bill created more overseas jobs than domestic jobs. Amazingly, Obama handily won reelection despite the fact that most voters indicated the economy was their top priority.

Fourth, President Obama’s untruths were nowhere more on display than in the crucial state of Ohio. President Obama claimed he was responsible for the bailout of GM and Chrysler, yet his own administration noted that the Bush administration initiated the loans to General Motors and Chrysler that avoided the uncontrolled liquidations of these companies at a critical juncture.

Obama further lied when he claimed that Mitt Romney opposed federal intervention for Detroit. In his New York Times editorial on the subject, Mitt Romney clearly said he supported government-backed private loans accompanied by a managed bankruptcy, which is what essentially occurred. Notwithstanding this, Obama repeatedly claimed that Romney opposed federal support for the car companies and their workers. And, as reported by the Toledo Blade, the lie worked. “What may have been the key issue in Ohio, a crucial swing state that no Republican president has ever failed to win, was the contrast [between] Mr. Obama's 2009 bailout of the auto industry and Mr. Romney’s recommendation” for the managed bankruptcy. Obama won Ohio 50.1% to 48.2%, and won Michigan handily, 54% to 45%.

Fifth and finally, electoral Stockholm Syndrome was on display in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, states ravaged by Obama’s war on carbon fuels, especially coal and fracking. The Obama administration opposed domestic drilling, dramatically limited licenses for further exploration and production, and his EPA shut down any efforts to construct new coal plants. Yet the lies about Obama’s energy record somehow became truth on Election Day: Obama took Colorado 51.2% to 46.5%, Pennsylvania 52% to 46.8%, and Virginia 50.8% to 47.8%.

As Californians, for us this is déjà vu. We are used to electoral majorities repeatedly embracing the lies of our political captors, and this year was no exception: Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, a tax hike ostensibly intended to funnel money to California’s public schools, passed with 53.9 percent of the vote, even though the proposition itself noted the money raised through the proposition was not required to go directly to schools. Lying is not a solution for profligacy, but one expects little else from Sacramento Democrats.

Unfortunately for America, Sacramento has come to Washington. Barack Obama beckoned Americans to join him in the fiscal abyss and amazingly, many hurting Americans looked over the edge, saw what he offered, and jumped anyway. Assisted suicide may have failed in Massachusetts, but economic self-ruin is alive and well nationally. Forward indeed.


Brian and Garrett Fahy

Brian and Garrett Fahy are attorneys from Los Angeles who previously worked in the White House and Senate Republican Conference, respectively. They write on national legal and political affairs. They can be reached at BGTownhall@gmail.com.