To be sure, politicians must master the art of winning the support and enthusiasm of large groups. But wouldn't it be nice if they had some other qualification for office as well?
It's a measure of how badly our political class has deteriorated that the president of these United States has no other skills:
President Obama on Tuesday levied a partisan broadside against Republicans and their policies before a sympathetic crowd of reporters who frequently applauded and laughed along.
The Republican Party, he said, is seeking to “impose a radical vision” on the U.S. that is “antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility.”
The president spent the majority of his speech before the Associated Press luncheon at the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention in Washington, D.C., attacking the GOP budget resolution proposed by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.).
The president accused Republicans of promoting a failed theory of “trickle-down” economics driven by large tax cuts for the wealthy financed at the expense of federal spending on the middle class.
The GOP vision, as outlined in the Ryan budget, was “nothing but thinly veiled Social Darwinism” and “a Trojan horse designed as a deficit reduction plan,” the president said.
“I don’t think people fully appreciate the nature of [the GOP] budget,” he said. History has proven “their theory” wrong, Obama argued, before chastising Republicans for refusing to “show some humility and moderate their views.”
“Instead of moderating their views even slightly, the Republicans running Congress right now have doubled down,” he said, describing Ryan’s budget as “so far to the right it makes the Contract with America look like the New Deal.”
Though he did not mention Ryan by name, Obama did call out GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney, who has praised Ryan’s budget as “marvelous.”
“He even called [the Ryan budget] marvelous,” the president said of Romney. “Which is a word you don’t often hear when it comes to describing the budget. It’s a word you don’t often hear generally.”
The crowd of reporters erupted in laughter.
Quite a number of questionable, not to say outright false, statements in there, eh?
Show me a business leader who would not profit if more americans could afford to get the skills and education that today's jobs require. Ask any company where they would rather locate and hire workers, a country with crumbling roads and bridges or one committed to high-speed internet and high-speed railroad and high-tech research and development? It doesn't make us weaker when we guarantee basic security for the elderly, sick, or those who are actively looking for work. What makes us weaker is when fewer and fewer people can afford to buy the goods and services our businesses sell. When entrepreneurs don't have the financial security to take a chance on starting a business. What drags down our entire economy is when there is an ever widening chasm between the ultra rich and everybody else....
They keep telling us that if we convert more of our investment in education, research and health care into tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, our economy will grow stronger. They keep telling us if we strip away more regulations and let businesses pollute more and treat workers and consumers with impunity, somehow we will all be better off. We are told that when the wealthy become even wealthier and corporations are allowed to maximize profits by whatever means necessary, it's good for America and their success will translate into more jobs and prosperity for everyone else. That is the theory.
Pure divide-to-conquer slander -- which, in politics, is apparently considered acceptable, at least when it's aimed at an amorphous "they" rather than at a named adversary.
In an interview with CBS News’ Chip Reid in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan was also laughing but not with the President — at the President’s comically, demagogic criticism of his budget proposals. He said, “unfortunately, we’re used to the President acting like this”, called him the “Campaigner in Chief”, and went on to say instead of offering real solutions to fix this country’s problems, Obama offers “these baseless, partisan attacks.”“You know, I don’t think history is going to be kind to a President, that when confronted with one of country’s most pressing challenges – the debt crisis – chooses to do nothing about it, and then waits for those of us who offer solutions, to attack us in these baseless ways….I think what the President is trying to do is offer this big government populism and in an effort not to propose solutions, but in an effort to divide and distract this country for the purposes of his reelection, and I just don’t think people are going to buy this stuff.”
We can only hope that Ryan's prediction is correct. But even if he is, there's a possibility that Obama, a narcissist beyond any other who has ever attained high political office, will refuse to accept the verdict of the November elections, and trigger a second Civil War. To those who pooh-pooh that possibility, I say: What aspects of Obama’s character, his antecedents, or his behavior to date have convinced you so thoroughly that that can’t possibly happen?