Next, it would be bracing to see someone on the left side of the spectrum acknowledge President Barack Obama's consistent demagoguery over the past five years. His techniques have included erecting straw men and knocking them down, shamelessly misrepresenting his opponents, and encouraging contempt through ridicule. Conservatives have cried foul, but unless the mainstream liberal press agree, he gets away with it, and the country becomes ever more polarized. From time to time, liberal critics have offered "Pinocchios" to the president or made some mild allusion to his "partisanship," but those are rare exceptions. For the most part, they've demonstrated party discipline the Bolsheviks would envy -- which is a problem, since they're supposed to be independent watchdogs.
At the University of Michigan, Obama suggested that raising the minimum wage was a "no-brainer" except that "Republicans don't want to raise it at all." When the audience booed, the president advised, "Don't boo, organize." He continued: "You've got some Republicans saying we shouldn't raise the minimum wage because -- they said this -- because, well, it just helps young people." Straw man down. No Republican made that argument. They argued the opposite: that raising the minimum wage hurts young people because it makes employers less likely to offer a first job to the unskilled. He knows that.
"Nobody who works full time should be raising a family in poverty," intoned the president. Yet his Census Bureau reported last year that only 2.9 percent of full-time workers are poor. Oh, and 80 percent of those the earning minimum wage are not poor. The man should not be trusted to handle numbers because he plainly cannot use them responsibly.
Last week, celebrating 7 million registrants for Obamacare, the president announced that all was sweetness and light -- except that Republicans were keen to hurt people. The Affordable Care Act is "helping people from coast to coast," Obama claimed, "all of which makes the lengths to which critics have gone to scare people or undermine the law ... so hard to understand. I've got to admit, I don't get it. Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?"
Liberals should proclaim their disgust, as Marcus did, and point out that to oppose the ACA is not to oppose expanded health insurance. It would be good for the truth, good for our political culture, and good for the self-respect of the liberals who shake off the Obama-era harness and say it.