July 24, 2012

The Next New Squirrel?

Hatched by Dafydd

The title refers to the animated movie Up, wherein an intelligence-augmented dog who can talk (it's the collar) interrupts his speech, now and again, to stare wildly left or right and yelp out, "Squirrel!" It's the ideal image when thinking of Barack "Big Stick" Obama's campaign, which comprises nothing but a series of ludicrous attempted distractions from the big picture, our collapsing economy.

Squirrel!

Mendacious misdirection

E.g. du jour: The Associated Press reported yesterday that:

The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.

Food-stamp mania has struck the country. More and more Americans are applying for disability payments from the government at the same time that Americans enjoy better health than ever. Unemployment is mired in the eights, with real unemployment about 15%-16% and no relief in sight. Small-business owners and entrepreneurs are still reeling from the president's speech denigrating and insulting them.

Atop this pile of bad news for Obamunism, three new polls today tell us that Americans are souring on the president and especially on his broader thesis, that government deserves most of the credit for jobs and economic growth... and that the "previous administration" must shoulder all the blame for their lack:

  • One from the Hill finds that two-thirds of likely voters blame the (current) federal government for the weak economy, with a plurality saying it's mostly President Obama's fault.
  • According to a Rasmussen poll, 72% believe that entrepreneurs who start a business "are primarily responsible for their success or failure. Only 13 percent disagree." 77% believe entrepreneurs work harder than employees. 57% believe that entrepreneurs and small businesses do more to create jobs and grow the economy than big businesses (16%) or state and local government (11%); only 7% think that the federal government creates the most jobs and wealth. And "61 percent believe that small businesses provide more valuable service to a community than big business or government at any level."
  • Finally, this poll from USA Today/Gallup has a raft of noisome news for President B.O.: Mitt Romney has a "significant advantage" over Obama on "managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs;" Republicans and Republican leaners have a huge advantage in enthusiasm over Democrats and Democratic leaners; 61% of respondents say "the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses." And this is from a poll of adults, not likely voters or even registered voters; likely voters would be even more pro-Romney.

And what is the response of America's Trillion-Dollar Taxman to this incessant threnody of electoral woe?

President Barack Obama dashed to Colorado on Sunday to meet with families of those gunned down in a movie theater and to hear from state and local officials about the shooting that left 12 people dead and dozens more injured.

Calculated compassionizing

Many argue that the visit was a wonderful, heartfelt attempt to reach out and comfort those in dire need of it, who have lost loved ones including children, wives, husbands, and other beloveds. The elected officials of Aurora are convinced that the president's visit was a vital part of the grieving process:

"These families need that kind of contact by our elected leader," said the Aurora police chief, Dan Oates. "It will be very powerful and it will help them. As awful as what they've been through and what they're going through has been having the president here is very, very powerful, it means a great deal to them and all of Aurora," he told CBS'"Face the Nation."

"I think the president coming in is a wonderful gesture," said Aurora's mayor, Steve Hogan. "He's coming in, really, to have private conversations with the families. I think that's totally appropriate." Hogan told ABC's "This Week" that it "certainly means a lot to Aurora to know that the president cares."

But does it really? Does it truly comfort the grieving when the President of the United States shows up with full entourage, trailing a bus-sized complement of paparazzi, and turns grief into a very public spectacle with distinctly political overtones? Particularly when the grieving and the wounded know full well, as do we all, that at least one purpose of the presidential visit to Aurora is to buttress Obama's reelection bid.

I don't speak for anyone else, but I can tell you that the absolute last thing I would want, were I in a situation I don't even want to think about, the very last thing, would be to abruptly discover myself to have become an integral part of a presidential campaign event... even if I liked the president in question. (With this president, such forced exploitation would be intolerable.)

On a silver platter

But I have the feeling that this burst of "compassion" is more than just a momentary bolt, a duck and fade, a quick trip to avoid, for another couple of days, grabbing the bear by the tail and looking the economic facts in the face. Rather, I think there is a distinct possibility that this shooting might transform and refocus the Obama campaign on the next new squirrel, a distraction that could possibly carry them all the way to November without Obama ever having to articulate a solution to our fiscal crisis.

The Permanent Progressivist Presidential Campaign might decide to base their entire campaign on a nationwide series of repressive gun-control laws. He could, for example, make a point of signing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (assuming it get finalized in time), then making great theater of saying he'll present it to the Senate for approval after the election (because he doesn't want to "politicize" such an urgent and vital issue).

This will allow him to ride the gun-control hobby horse, clinging to the pommel until the bell rings on November 6th, without ever having to show any results for all that sound and fury.

Again I caution, this is sheer speculation, a "might," not a "will;" I have no hard evidence of this, since it hasn't happened yet. Consider this merely a musing with a heads-up.

But there are portents; Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA, 90%) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY, 80%) have already waved the obligatory bloody shirt, demanding we cast aside our essential liberty and do something about those awful guns. That supplies the framework on which Obama can hang his new campaign theme.

It's easy enough to coax other anti-gun extremists, never shy about publicizing their cause, to redirect, repeat, and retweet the clarion call. Just look how easy it was, as Korso points out below, for ABC chief investigative reporter Brian Ross tried to falsely blame Tea Partiers for the Aurora shootings with breathtaking alacrity. How many Americans heard (and believed) the accusation but not the retraction? A concerted anti-gun campaign could drum up hundreds of voices, from shrill to solemn, from measured moderation to maximum madness, to try to pull off the greatest presidential-election misdirection of all time.

With so many "reputable" sources blaming this shooting on the guns wielded by that ghoul, can the White House itself lag far behind? How long until some genius in the Permanent Campaign realizes the opportunity that has just been handed to them, the ultimate distraction from that which they cannot discuss?

The indecency of inappropriate silence

A quick, self serving, justification detour...

We are continually lectured that we should not "politicize" tragedy, generally by liberal "instructors" doing precisely that. Republicans and conservatives rightly see themselves as much better mannered than Democrats and liberals; but the latter exploit that Republican reserve and dance, booted and spurred, upon our politesse. And despite the effrontery, they make great inroads in the meme wars by doing exactly what they demand the rest of us to abjure.

Consider the case of Hurricane Katrina: George W. Bush did more to mitigate damage and prepare for the disaster, even before that catastrophic storm, than any president in history. In the immediate aftermath, the Left warned the president, in stentorian and censorious voice, not to politicize the devastation -- then instantly fell to attacking Bush for his "incompetence," "disconnect," and "indifference."

The president, in an excess of good manners and basic decency, refused to fight back; and the Left had the airwaves all to themselves for many days. The result was that the false stench of presidential failure was firmly established, despite reams of evidence that the response to Hurricane Katrina was perhaps the best example of federal disaster response. Today, even most conservatives have been brainwashed into seeing Katrina as the nadir of Bush's presidency. Worse, it colored Americans' perception of his entire tenure, and perhaps helped saddle us with the current Occupier in Chief.

We must not enable yet another one-sided war in the name of seemliness, when those who would destroy America from within -- for example, by obliterating our cherished right to keep and bear arms -- are about as unseemly as it's possible to imagine. If I offend, I won't apologize; the loss of traditional American virtues is too dire to be held hostage to inappropriate silence.

Now back to the main road...

The tee shot

Let us be clear what I suggest and what I do not. First, there is no chance in Hades that the Arms Trade Treay could garner 67 votes in the Senate; there are already 57 senators who have come out against it, at least as envisioned by the anti-gun crowd.

But that's irrelevant to the Progressivist point. Obama need not actually enact gun control or confiscation; he need only change the subject (again) away from the economy to something else, anything else.

Many Americans would be "up in arms" about such a bait and switch. But with the stakes so high -- four more years of Obamunism to finish transforming our nation -- the Obama campaign might well calculate that the ill-will generated by going after guns is the lesser of two evils.

Look at the size of the hole they've already dug on jilted jobs, guttering growth, risible regulations, and just plain mean-spirited mudslinging at "the rich," which today appears to mean everybody not ensconced beneath the liberally defined and infinitely movable "poverty" line.

Obama cannot fix or even staunch the bleeding of our economy, because that would require the Big Stick to embrace Capitalism and the free market, anathema to Progressivists. But his other option is a simplistic, "black and white" battle cry: "Cling" to evil, talismanic guns, and you'll have a bunch of dead innocents in movie theaters.

And every minute spent discussing something other than the economy is a minute precious and helpful to Barack Obama.

The whiff

But in the end, I believe this (speculative) distraction would explode in the president's face like a trick cigar, as have all the other sleights he has tried. Obama's biggest and most intractable problem is that he fundamentally does not understand what it means to be American, proudly American, uniquely American. I don't care where the man was born, he is not one of us.

If the president gives in to his baser instincts and his clueless advisors, or the other way 'round; if he pulls the trigger on running a "gun-control campaign;" he will discover that the roots of American independence stretch much deeper than he could possible imagine. Even many liberals would be outraged by a campaign at war with guns, when our problem is a government at war with prosperity.

So if that's the direction the permanent campaign has chosen, bring it on. I have no proof that gun control is their Plan B, and I'm certainly not making such a prediction; there are so many other distractions to choose from! But an anti-firearms campaign knits together so many threads that Progressivists love that I cannot imagine they haven't at least kicked the gong around.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 24, 2012, at the time of 1:03 AM

Comments

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Well, this rings true for me. I have always had ADD: Attention Deficit - (oh, look) Doughnuts!

As usual, though, I remain stubbornly un-optimistic. After reading article after article about the president's ridiculous pathetic campaign, he remains somewhat ahead in the polls, and there aren't that many unconvinced people left out there. We'll see.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 24, 2012 5:52 AM

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

I think the proper response is to paint such a campaign as exactly what it is-- ridiculous and an attempted distraction from The One's complete and utter failure. A simple note that Colorado has lots of laws against murder, that Aurora has a law prohibiting the use of a firearm in the city and that the theater prohibits the carrying of any weapon whatsoever into the theater, should be enough to illustrate the idiocy of the idiot.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 24, 2012 7:04 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

MikeR:

After reading article after article about the president's ridiculous pathetic campaign, he remains somewhat ahead in the polls, and there aren't that many unconvinced people left out there.

Actually, there is a huge chunk of Barack Obama supporters who are unconvinced; they just don't know it yet.

The only thing left buoying Obama to parity with Mitt Romney is Obama's "likability;" but (a) that's a thin reed to base a vote on, and (b) likability itself is transitory and liable to being dissapated by ever more frenzied and mean-spirited attacks on Romney's character.

As the conventions approach -- ours begins on August 27th, theirs on September 3th, the day after ours ends -- and voters start really focusing on the momentous decision they must make in November, focusing on the striking, paradigm-shifting chasm between Obama's America and Romney's America, I expect that a great many Obama supporters will drift into the Romney camp.

I stand by my prediction that on the eve of the RNC, Romney will have held a significant lead in nearly all polls for the previous week or two -- and that gap will widen during the convention. It will slip back a bit during the DNC; but Romney's lead will remain somewhat larger than it was before the convention... and he'll ride that 5-6 point lead into the election.

(I further predict that Romney will outperform the polls on election day, because pollsters are still short-changing Republicans when they weight their samples to produce a "likely voter" model.)

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 24, 2012 5:35 PM

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