Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Obama: So Slimy It Hurts

I was reading the highlights from Obama's recent address to the nation to push his agenda (http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/06/politics/obama-speech/?hpt=hp_t1), and it nearly hurt to read. Not, of course, because the speech wasn't eloquent; I'm confident Obama's writers crafted something with all the bells and whistles. Also not because it wasn't well-read off a teleprompter; I didn't see the actual speech, but I'm wager Obama did a good job of delivering the carefully-crafted message. No, the hurt was more of a visceral reaction to the dishonesty, the half-truths, the creative spin... all the things which just aggravate those of us who desperately wish the voting populace was more well-informed and intelligent, so we wouldn't ever risk having leaders like Obama.

All in all, though, it was just another standard Obama speech... so why does it deserve a blog post? Well, you can think of this as another public service post, to enumerate some of the distortions and outright lies. In the spirit of Discovery shows, I'll call it: President Obama Tells Lies.

"It's not a view that says we should punish profit or success or pretend that government knows how to fix all society's problems."
Um, yes, that's precisely your view, as demonstrated by all your proposals, and reinforced by your actions. In fact, the negative of that statement is probably the best summary of your exact viewpoint on what government should be doing that I could come up with if I actually tried. We'll call this a bald-faced, unmitigated lie.

He framed the issue as a choice between making vital investments in future growth or the Republican position he characterized as maintaining "tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans in our country."

"We can't afford to do both," Obama said. "That is not politics. That's just math."
This is a half-truth; the country indeed cannot afford to both continue its current spending and cut taxation, but it's a false choice, because there is another option he's ignoring (which is, in fact, the option espoused by the Republicans): cutting spending. We can certainly afford to cut spending; in fact we must... no amount of increased taxation will ever compensate for Washington's waste, and cutting spending is the only viable option. That, Mr President, for reference, is accurate math, as opposed to your fairy-tale accounting.

"This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class," the president said. "At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement."
This is a pretty bold statement, in context. It's true, in a sense, although one might argue that the period for determining the outcome is longer than this moment. It's bold, because all the Democrat policies are causing the problems, and endangering the outcomes! Democrats are hurting the economy by demonizing and overly-regulating private enterprise, Democrats are eroding savings through inflationary reckless spending policies, Democrats are making homes less affordable by impeding the market's ability to correct for distortions, Democrats are endangering retirement by refusing to get spending under control. Democrats are the primary driving factor for all the dangers Obama is warning about! It's like warning your local neighborhood that a serial-killing arsonist child-rapist is on the loose, when you are in-fact that person! The audacity is astounding...

"Inequality also distorts our democracy," he added to applause. "It gives an outsized voice to the few who can afford high-priced lobbyists and unlimited campaign contributions, and runs the risk of selling out our democracy to the highest bidder. And it leaves everyone else rightly suspicious that the system in Washington is rigged against them -- that our elected representatives aren't looking out for the interests of most Americans."
I guess I have to give some credit for taking a well-deserved swipe at the various labor unions, associations, and insiders who have disproportionate power in our government. Of course, you only get points if you actually meant to call out those people, and not try to deflect the blame to other people with less corruption and influence. I'll leave it to the reader to conclude if Obama should get credit for this observation; it's correct, but only if it wasn't meant as a distortion.

"This is the height of unfairness," Obama said. "It's wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker (who) maybe earns $50,000 should pay a higher tax rate than somebody raking in $50 million."

He said the issue "isn't about class warfare," a charge leveled by Republican opponents.
I like this one; it is the height of unfairness in the tax code that someone making less money should pay more or less in percentage taxes than someone making more. Hey Obama, you know what would fix that problem? A flat tax. I'd even give you credit for saying it's not class warfare if your proposal treats everyone equally, and tries to fix this "height of unfairness". Or, I guess, if you were a contemptible scum, you could try to "fix" it by engaging in class warfare, and then saying it's not class warfare... that's another disingenuous option, I suppose.

That's all CNN bothered to quote from the speech, so I'll leave it at that. I will grant Obama that I'm certainly not the target audience; surely he's looking to appeal to people who are ignorant or stupid (or both), and his points reflect that. Still, it hurts to think someone like that can and did get elected, and every time he opens his mouth something more insulting to intelligence comes out. Do [much] better next time, America; the future of your country depends on it.

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