Opinion: Obama Avoids The Issues With Negative Campaign
Though Americans tend to love a good fight, the political bickering thrust forward by President Barack Obama on Mitt Romney really isn’t the type of good fight Americans love at all. The squabbling has been most uncomfortable and difficult to watch. While the “left” has complained recently that they’ve never seen so many Americans speak of the President of the United States so disrespectfully, the “right” has to remind those who are offended that respect has to come from both sides. And respectful discourse has not been the method of which the President has conducted this campaign. Being president does not give a person license to disrespect opponents, and the disrespect and intolerance from Obama when a different opinion is expressed has been atrocious.
While the “right” has definitely spoken harshly about President Obama and his performance as president, it’s difficult to recall a president who has spoken so consistently condescending about his political foes on Capitol Hill – and every president has had political foes. This situation is not unique for Obama. His method of dealing with his foes is quite unique, however.
The President’s style of talking down to his opponents and expressing his views carry an unattractive arrogance. It’s as if he’s saying “those idiots” most every time he refers to his opponents, and it’s a maddening trait that the President has had throughout his campaign for reelection. Respect and civility for other’s opinions would do him well.
Additionally, Obama’s air of arrogant excellence throughout his presidency has transcended to his fellow-Democrats much too often. Can you imagine a United States congressman saying what Nancy Pelosi said about the health care passage under any other president? Any other president would have been embarrassed and would have reprimanded a congressman for saying that Americans will learn what’s in a major piece of legislation after it’s passed.
What other president has stood by as attack ads claim that an opponent is a felon and a murderer as Obama’s supporters have promoted via Super PAC ads? And most recently, what president would stand by and watch someone like Rep. Harry Reid make the unsubstantiated claims Reid has made without crying foul on decency’s behalf?
Obama’s congressional attackers are given a free reign to attack as he disrespects – which is totally nonproductive to the campaigning and election process.
What makes the entire situation worse is that the liberal media and “leftist” talk show hosts jump on Obama’s, Pelosi’s, and Reid’s bandwagon as if this is how politics should be conducted in America. It isn’t. It makes the United States’ political process appear to be nothing more than foolish. Compared to the respect previous presidents and American politicians have fought to have, the reputation of politics in this country has gone to hell during this presidency. One might say that Pelosi and Reid are like National Enquirer reporters with the statements they’ve made on the congressional floors, but that would be an insult to the National Enquirer.
Of course, Joe Biden is out there bashing Romney and the Republicans in the Obama-style, too. But that’s really not a concern since a “leftist” – just like a “rightist” – knows a political joke when they see and hear one. Just two days ago, Biden reportedly hit a new low in political campaigning by dragging Paul Ryan’s deceased father into a campaign speech. And of course, yesterday he mimicked African-Americans with his racist “They’re going to put y’all back in chains” comment – in which the “left” quickly defended Biden again. Lately, they’ve had to defend him on nearly a daily basis when he’s out on the campaign trail.
One would assume that thePpresident would stay somewhat above the fray and keep a respectable degree of dignity for himself and his office during the political campaign. But he doesn’t. He blurts out disrespects to his opponents on the same level as his well-trained and faithful followers Pelosi, Reid, and Biden.
While Romney has attempted to have a degree of respect for the President and his office, it’s a difficult position for Romney to maintain. A summer’s-long criticism of Romney has been that he looks weak by not striking back at Obama’s constant sophomoric insults and criticisms – especially when there is so much to strike back at with Obama.
What’s also disturbing is that Obama pledged to not “go negative” in campaigning in 2012, and yet he’s become the most negative president campaigner in recent history with his constant down-talking and attacks that appear to be designed to keep the campaign talk off the issues of jobs and the economy.
On Sunday, Romney had to stop yet another Obama supporting heckler in Wisconsin by telling him that the people at the Romney rally don’t do that. He told the heckler that he was there to talk about jobs, the economy and the issues that matter to America – not the nonsensical and immature heckling. Fighting the nonsense has become a huge job for Romney and his supporters. The “right” wants serious talk about the future and to bury the “hope and change”-styled slogan nonsense of four years ago. But it’s tough to do when you have people on the “left” still buying it.
Our last ditch-effort in getting anything productive from Obama in this 2012 campaign will likely be the three debates coming in October. Hopefully, Jim Lehrer, Bob Schieffer and Candy Crowley – the three moderators of the three debates – have the skills necessary to stop Obama’s non-productive bashing long enough for America to finally get clear statements from the President as to what he plans to do in the next four years that he couldn’t do in the past four years to make this country great.
All that’s clear from Obama so far during this election cycle is that he really wants to keep his job. How four more years of the same would help America is what we’re not hearing anything about – because it won’t.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.