Saddled with miserable job approval numbers and an unpopular, failed, corrupt agenda, President Obama will be reduced to running a decidedly unhopeful "slash and burn" re-election campaign. For a telling rhetorical trailer of coming disingenuous and demagogic attractions, look no further than the president's speech at a Silicon Valley fundraiser last night:
"I mean has anybody been watching the debates lately?" Obama said. "You've got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change. It's true. You've got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don't have healthcare. And booing a service member in Iraq because they're gay."
The remarks represent some of the most direct and combative for Obama so far as he has struck out on the campaign trail in earnest following the July debt-ceiling debate and the August break. Obama continued his critique of Republicans, saying of the boos in the audience at recent GOP debates: "That's not reflective of who we are. This is a choice about the fundamental direction of our country," the president said. "2008 was an important direction. 2012 is a more important election."
Let's start with Obama's unfair, unseemly, and factually inaccurate punchline about Rick Perry. "Drew M" at Ace of Spades informs our snarking president that the wildfire currently burning in Bastrop County, Texas was caused by...windstorms uprooting trees and knocking them into power lines.* Obama attributes this to "climate change." Good thing he's all about restoring science to its rightful place, and everything. Incidentally, since we're on the subject, let's recall that Obama's solution to reverse anthropogenic global warming is an economically devastating redistributionist scheme that would cause energy costs to "skyrocket," and wouldn't even measurably reduce the planet's temperature. But seriously folks, isn't that Rick Perry nuts?
Even worse was Obama's repetition of the widespread, dishonest Lefty talking point du jour: Namely, that Republican debate "audiences" cheered the hypothetical death of an uninsured 30-year-old, and booed a gay soldier. In this lie lurks a kernel of truth. A tiny handful of attendees at two recent Republican forums did, indeed, behave boorishly. How many? Let's go to the video tape:
Blitzer: Are you saying that society should just let him die?
Audience members: Yeah!
After reviewing this audio several times, I hear three distinct voices -- two men and a woman -- call out "yes!" or "yeah!" in response to Wolf Blitzer's follow-up question. Rep. Paul immediately sides with the hundreds of other spectators by rejecting this fractional band's callous verdict. Yet somehow the incident morphed into "the audience" engaging in a let-him-die "chant" within left-wing circles. This is a preposterous leap, but the Left promulgates it and hungrily eats it up because it advances their disgraceful smear campaign against conservatives.
Next up, a different Republican "audience" boos a gay soldier. Let's examine the clip:
Once again, I identify precisely three discrete voices booing the soldier's question -- out of an audience of thousands of conservative activists, many of whom reportedly shushed the offenders. Some people have suggested that these individuals were really just jeering at Fox for devoting precious debate time to a non-pressing, divisive question. This is a major stretch. It really sounded like those guys were booing the soldier's intensely personal question. To be sure, there are completely legitimate methods of critiquing DADT repeal (this comprehensive survey of our service-men and -women on the subject offers interesting and conflicting evidence), but heckling a soldier who's risking his life in a hellish war zone to protect our freedoms isn't one of them. Period. The vast, vast majority of the audience understood this, and acted accordingly. Several of the candidates on stage have strongly condemned the handful of jerks for their idiocy -- including Rick Santorum, an ardent opponent of gay rights. "This man is serving our country, and we are to thank him for his service," Santorum said.
Nevertheless, the Left turned this into another instance of "the audience" behaving terribly at a Republican debate. This slander is noxious enough emanating from the fever swamps of the Left-wing blogosphere. It's incalculably worse coming from the President of the United States. Barack Obama chose to impute the actions of a microscopic fraction of random activists onto the broader conservative movement and Republican Party -- and by extension, its presidential candidates. That's what all of his "fundamental direction" blathering is getting at. Notice that he isn't talking about policy here. He's suggesting that Republicans delight in the death of uninsured people and despise gays so much that they're willing to disrespect an active duty soldier. "That's not who we are," Obama told the crowd of partisan Democrats, explaining why next year's election is so important. He's right: That's not who we all are as a people, nor is it who we are as a conservative movement. President Obama knows this full well, but he still deliberately contrived a false choice (to borrow one of his favorite tropes) to cast his opposition as evil. It's a disgusting ploy, but it's all he's got at this point.
Parting thoughts: This is a guy whose spokesman pointedly refused to condemn inflammatory and profane calls to violence uttered by a major labor leader from the rostrum at an official Obama rally. This is a man whose pastor hates America, and who launched his political career in the home of a couple who spent years plotting bombings against US federal and military buildings. His fight-the-smears/attack watch goons and media enablers have decried these sorts of observations about Obama's character as "guilt by association." Now the president is tarring the entire GOP field based on a totally bogus "association" with a small pocket of total strangers -- even after they've explicitly repudiated those strangers' behavior. Ahem.
Finally, a hypothetical: If a US soldier in Iraq were to submit a youtube question during a Democratic debate, extolling the importance of completing his mission and pushing back against politically-timed troop withdrawals, does anyone doubt a few MoveOn / Code Pink types in the audience would boo him? I certainly don't. After all, these are the same cretins who took out a full-page ad in the New York Times libeling David Petraeus as a traitor in 2007. Remember who chose not to vote for a resolution condemning that sickening display? Ta-da. Why does Barack Obama hate the troops? That's. Not. Who. We. Are.
*A correspondent on Facebook suggests that Drew's analysis on this point -- amplified by me -- is misleading. I think he makes a fair point:
The fact that this or that source *ignited* a fire does not undermine the fact that unprecedented temperatures and drought are what has *fueled* the fires and caused them to be particularly devastating. No one is claiming that climate change caused a fire in the sense of making the ground so hot that a tree spontaneously combusts, for example. Rather, the point is that the increased manifestation of heat and dryness militates against denial of the existence of climate change.