Recently, White House senior adviser David Plouffe made a comment that didn't receive the scrutiny it deserves. The statement demands attention because it frames President Obama's re-election campaign theme and illustrates how grounded in disinformation the theme is.
Apart from Team Obama's formidable community organizing skills aimed at demonizing Mitt Romney as a wealthy, compassionless corporate raider, Obama has nothing but lies and scapegoating to run on, given his abysmal record.
Plouffe said that Republicans "want to return us back to the same policies that caused the recession -- huge tax cuts for the wealthy, more war, more debt."
You have to give these people credit for chutzpah and for relentlessly staying on message, as warped as it is.
We should hold Obama to his earlier statement that he would not be re-elected if Americans weren't better off than they were when he took office.
But once it became clear that Obama's recovery would be permanently anemic, he shifted the goal posts. Obama told us the test would be not whether people are worse off than they were when he began his hope and change odyssey but whether they are better off than they would have been had he not been president.
This is an important distinction, not simply because it is another Obama deception but because it seeks to alter how the electorate judges presidential performances. This must not be allowed to stand, and it's important we not let him get away with it.
Before examining the veracity of Plouffe's statements, we should see how Obama has fared under his false re-election metric. Are we better off than we would have been had he not been elected?
The answer is no. All other recessions in the past half-century were followed by robust recoveries, with employment completely recovering within four years. But as I point out in my book "The Great Destroyer," in December 2011, payroll employment was 4 percent below its level in December 2007, when the Great Recession began.
Moreover, would other presidents have deliberately extended unemployment benefits as long as possible despite evidence that these extensions exacerbate unemployment? Would they have incentivized states to expand the food stamp program to make more people dependent on government assistance? Would they have amassed anti-business regulations at an unprecedented rate and presided over the largest tax increase in the nation's history, which is set to occur in January -- especially during tough economic times? Would they have engaged in the systematic undermining of our domestic energy resources, destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs and diverting billions of dollars to corrupt, doomed-to-fail green energy projects? Would they have imposed a new uber-entitlement -- Obamacare -- against the will of the American people on top of all our nationally bankrupting $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities? Would they have refused even to offer a plan to restructure our entitlements and otherwise reduce federal spending in an effort to avert what Rep. Paul Ryan has called the most preventable, predictable financial catastrophe in world history?
Of course not. In fact, liberal policies largely caused the recession that Obama keeps complaining about, not George W. Bush. But irrespective of who caused it, Obama has done everything in his presidential power to avoid fixing it. Indeed, he's made it much worse by burdening the economy with oppressive new debt and smothering the private sector instead of letting it breathe and then flourish on the way to recovery.
As for Plouffe's other statements, the Republicans don't want more wars. They only advocate military intervention when they reasonably believe our national security is at stake, as opposed to using it for social experiments and for trying to convince the world that the United States, under President Obama, will take its marching orders from international bodies, not Congress -- as he showed with his misguided intervention in Libya.
Also, the Bush tax cuts and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars did not cause the recession -- nor did they cause the deficits. In 2007, Bush's deficit was $161 billion, despite both wars going on and the tax cuts, which actually increased total revenues, being in full operation.
The tax cuts, Mr. Plouffe, were not just for the wealthy. Every income group received tax cuts. Republicans aren't advocating tax cuts for the wealthy now, only that the rich not be singled out for punishment -- by eliminating the top rate that's been in place for almost a decade. How about some truth in advertising, Mr. Plouffe?
It's time to stop the lies and the class warfare, Mr. Plouffe, and own up to your man's record in office. We understand why you don't want to do that, but November will force you to do so.