Most of us outside of Illinois became aware of Barack Obama in 2004. He was a candidate for senator and asked to give a speech at the Democratic convention that year in Boston. He was interesting. A fresh face — in stark contrast to old Washington embodied by the Democrat nominee Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. He had a certain confidence, youth and ability to grab your attention with how he delivered the speech. It would be a few years before we really started understanding who this man was politically.
In 2007 — when some of the candidates running for the 2008 nominations on both sides of the aisle became apparent — I was brought into New York to do a show for CNN. On the show were: Roland Martin (liberal currently with CNN), Rachel Maddow (liberal currently with MSNBC), and one other man — another liberal whose name escapes me, and me – the lone conservative on the panel. It was assumed I’d be pulling for Rudy Giuliani the former mayor of New York, I guess, because we were both white and Italian. It was odd that the assumption was made. I made it clear, however, that I was not a Giuliani guy because of his stance on abortion. I mentioned I was looking into McCain but was also looking into Obama. Why? Because he was young, energetic and gave one heck off a speech. I still didn’t know much about him other than what I saw and heard — like most Americans. The examination didn’t take long before I found out he was the most vehement supporter of abortion I’d ever heard speak and he was, at his very core, a socialist. He was and is a guy that believes the ruling class gets all the spoils and the rest of us idiots get what the bloated government decides we should get and we should thank said government for the table scraps.
Obama ran on feel good messages like, “Yes We Can!” and “Change You Can Believe In.” He was going to cut the deficit and fix everything George W. Bush did wrong. As soon as he got into office, of course, he raised taxes on regular Americans ($.62 per pack on cigarettes) and pushed through the stimulus package which cost the American taxpayers nearly a trillion dollars after which we saw the economy get exponentially worse, not better as promised. How did he get these things done? There is a formula. Say whatever it takes to get a law passed, smile a lot and do whatever you want in the end. Remember how he would never raise any tax of any kind for individuals making less than $200k per year or families making less than $250k?
”I can make a firm pledge under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” Barack Obama – September 12, 2008.
He clearly didn’t mean it, but it was a talking point he repeated knowing full-well it would resonate with voters. He pledged over and over again to put every bill online for us to see for five days before they were brought to a vote. He would stop “corporate welfare.” He promised transparency, and more. Matter of fact, he listed seven things he’d stop or change:
1. Make Government Open and Transparent
2. Make it “Impossible” for Congressmen to slip in Pork Barrel Projects
3. Meetings where laws are written will be more open to the public (republicans shut out)
4. No more secrecy
5. Public will have 5 days to look at a Bill
6. You’ll know what’s in it (Republican Senators didnt know)
7. We will put every pork barrel project online
This has become a predictable pattern for this president. He’ll say anything and whether he plans to follow through has never mattered. He’ll say anything no matter its validity, and not think twice about it. He’ll repeat it until the words saturate the American psyche and many blind followers will fall in line and continue the repetition for him. He must have gotten bored of the same ol’ same ol’ because now he’s added the non sequitur to his repertoire and he’s brought back a favorite from the middle of last year. It’s really a variation on a theme: The rich have what they have and that’s not fair. The regular/average American deserves it all too and we can get it for them by taking it from those evil rich people and corporations.
Last June, the president put his new-found fondness for things that just don’t have anything to do with one another to good use. He started saying things like:
“If we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, corporate jet owners, hedge fund managers, oil & gas companies that are making 100′s of Billions of dollars, then that means we have to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship. That means we have to stop funding certain grants for medical research. That means that food safety may be compromised. That means that Medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden. Those are the choices we have to make.
Before we ask our seniors to pay for more healthcare, before we cut our children’s education, before we sacrifice our commitment to the research and innovation that will help create more jobs in the economy, I think it’s only fair to ask an oil company or corporate jet owner that has done so well, to give up that tax break that no other business enjoys. I don’t think that’s real radical. I think the majority of Americans agree with that.” – President Barack Obama News Conference 06/29/11
It, on its face, was ridiculous. Do you really think that because rich people have earned a lot of money through hard work or entrepreneurial spirit or invention and have been able to buy nice things that people can’t go to college? Or that the elderly can’t get care? Or that food won’t be safe? Really? It was crazy and without merit but, he must have liked how it sounded because repeated it whenever he saw a camera or a microphone or newspaper writer. The message didn’t work, and taxes weren’t raised on the “evil rich,” but, he must have felt the strategy still had legs because it’s back.
The latest incarnation of the Obama non sequitur reared it’s ugly head on March 29th. This time, the president once again, went after big oil. Much like he did last year, the president said, “Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make. They can stand with big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.” Huh? Are oil companies somehow not American? The reason for the Rose Garden speech was to pit big oil against the American people and playing the two sides against the middle — that middle being Congress. The only problem: there is no back and forth between the American people and the oil companies. The American people lay the blame for the highest gas prices we’ve ever seen this time of the year squarely on the shoulders of the Obama administration.
The suggestion through the rhetoric was that if Congress stopped the tax deductions for the big oil companies, the burden on taxpayers (and gasoline users) would be lessened. He wants us to believe that he’ll either send the money to us (yeah right) or the price at the pump will go down if the deductions were ended. Think about it. Do you really think the price per gallon will go down should Congress decide to increase the tax burden on these companies? The plan, of course, is to divert attention from him and his administration to Congress to cast the blame there. He knows going in that Congress will not stop the tax deductions — but, that’s not the real goal. He cannot run on his record. He cannot point to how he’s held to his campaign promises, or fixed the economy, or not raised taxes on regular folks, or held unemployment to under 8 percent. So, the only real campaign plan is to find a boogie-man (or men and women).
If the gasoline prices happen to fall between now and the election, you won’t hear anything else about it. If they stay high or go higher, the president will remind us all how he tried to get Congress to go after the oil companies and how the REPUBLICANS refused. Smart. Underhanded. Disingenuous. Politics.