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The Case Against Obama, According to Romney Rally-Goers

Anger and paranoia were in the air Monday at Denver’s “Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum,” where Mitt Romney held an evening campaign rally. Draped from the hangar rafters was, of course, a massive American flag; miniature American flags were distributed to rally-goers for waving purposes. So, fittingly, Romney mused about “the beauty of the American soul” and related themes. “I love America!” he declared. “I love you.”

The candidate had already been in town preparing for tomorrow’s first presidential debate at the University of Denver. Current polling data [1] and demographic trends suggest that he is highly unlikely to win Colorado, which gave the rally a throwaway feel – as if put on exclusively for the TV cameras and traveling press corps.

Ken Carpenter, 73, and his wife Paula were in attendance; Ken wore a Romney “pilot wings” lapel pin, which were being distributed outside the venue. An Air Force veteran, he contended that Barack Obama is in the process of “systematically destroying America.”

“Have you seen 2016?” Carpenter asked me.

By this, he was referring to “2016: Obama’s America,” the conspiracy propaganda film [2] produced by former Reagan Administration official and “public intellectual” Dinesh D’Souza. Already the fourth-highest grossing documentary of all time, it is a noxious melange of xenophobic conspiracy theories and lies. “I hadn’t considered the anti-colonial stuff,” said Carpenter, remarking on one of the film’s central themes – that Obama seeks to purposefully bankrupt and bring about the downfall of America, thereby fulfilling his estranged father’s anti-Western ambitions, with the ultimate aim of imposing — as Carpenter put it — a “socialist/communist state.”

“Look what he’s done to our Army,” Carpenter said of the president. “No one is scared of us any more!” As a senior citizen, he was also very concerned about the potentially tyrannical impact of healthcare reform. “I’ll be told to take two aspirin and die,” Carpenter said, invoking the age-old “death panels” trope.

But despite the specter of America’s imminent destruction, the rally took on a festive tone. Romney was introduced by John Elway, the two-time Superbowl champion and owner executive vice president for football operations of the NFL’s Denver Broncos — “a pretty darn good football team,” Romney remarked, calling Elway an “extraordinary man.” Both are adherents of the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

As Romney’s address proceeded, it became clear that the museum’s sound system was deeply flawed. “I can’t hear a word he’s saying!” exclaimed a woman standing near me. Thankfully, however, occasional phrases and “zingers” were audible. Romney pledged to “help middle income Americans have a better future,” certainly a departure from his assertion back in May that 47% of the voting public, including quite a few “middle income” folks, are not even worth appealing to for support given their indolence and dependence on government.

change_me

When Romney made some comment castigating organized labor, the same woman who could not hear shouted, “That’s why I got laid off! Stupid unions.”

“The American people are going to have to make their choice as to what path America takes,” Romney proclaimed, because Obama has “fought for a bigger government.” He then went on to decry upcoming sequestration cuts to the military budget, thereby calling for a bigger government.

Steve Haworth, of Aurora, CO – who wore an Air Force cap — seconded Romney’s sentiments in affirming that Obama has abandoned the U.S. armed forces. “Can you imagine any president that would sign a sequestration of the military?” he asked. “Who’d go around apologizing to our enemies?” I requested one example of an enemy to whom Obama has gone around apologizing. “The Arab World,” Haworth replied. “His first interview to any press was with Al Jazeera.” (Not true, of course, but whatever.)

“He’s playing around in Afghanistan,” Haworth continued. But wait, I noted – didn’t Obama escalate the number of groundtroops in Afghanistan? “Only against his will,” he said.

But here was the kicker, according to Haworth: “He went to Cairo and said this is not a Christian country.” Uh huh. At this point, Haworth’s female companion yanked him away.

Among Obama’s many affronts to the military include his failure to pay respects at the Tomb of the Unknown on Memorial Day 2009, posited Ellie, a woman from Aurora who wore an American Flag sweater. Additionally, she said, he “didn’t wear a flag on his lapel till he had to.” Judi, also from Aurora (both women declined to provide a surname) said one of the reasons she supports Romney is because he “believes in God,” unlike Obama.

“We need leadership in this country,” Ellie enjoined, “and Romney will stay in Washington, not be out playin’ golf and traveling around the country.”

Claudine Schwartz-Feagin, of Englewood, CO, exited the rally wearing an official Romney/Ryan campaign t-shirt which blared the words, “Government Didn’t Build my business! I did.” She noted that she and her late husband “built” a realty company in the 1970s without any help from government. “If he hadn’t been sick,” Claudine said of her husband, “I would’ve sent more money to Romney’s campaign.” But with medical costs and other expenses, she has been unable.

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#1 Comment By Tom Piatak On October 2, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

The case for Obama, according to a vociferous Obama supporter: [3]

#2 Comment By M_Young On October 2, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

These people — no doubt the worse this ‘conservative’ writer could find — are as gods compared to the ‘Obama phone’ lady and millions of other Obama supporters.

Oh, and Obama was apologizing for a US resident’s exercise of his First Amendment rights, even as our embassies were being stormed and before his own murdered ambassador’s body was cold.

It’s fine to be anti-interventionist, but there are times when you need to step up to being ‘dissed’, without hemming and hawing and acting like a doormat.

#3 Comment By Joe the Plutocrat On October 2, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

interesting. when Obama is acting as commander-in-chief (Somali pirate take down, bin Laden raid, drone strikes taking out Taliban and al Qeada leaders); he is ‘showboating’ and ‘taking credit’ or ‘politicizing” the armed forces; but in Romneyworld; he is ‘decimating the armed forces’. FYI, John Elway is not the owner of the Denver Broncos. He is a former Bronco and NFL Hall of Fame inductee who is now an executive (Football Operations, I believe) working for Broncos owner Pat Bowlen. Elway is co-owner of an Arena Football League franchise in Denver. I guess my question is; did the Romney people present Elway as “owner”. wouldn’t be the first time they fudged the truth.

#4 Comment By Ampersand On October 2, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

M_Young–I can’t say that I’d ever want a President who based foreign policy on how “dissed” Americans felt. But that sort of resentment does seem to be fueling the current incarnation of the Republican party.

#5 Comment By PA15017 On October 2, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

I confess I don’t quite grasp the purpose of this article…..

Oh! Wait! “Anger and paranoia”!

Sorry, I didn’t catch that until the FIRST THREE F&@*ING WORDS. Hot tip for the editor: when you send a reporter to a political rally and get back a piece that starts, “Anger and paranoia were in the air,” just keep the first sentence and chop the rest. Point made. I think it’s called “pyramid style”.

#6 Comment By Ben, Okla. City On October 2, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

M_Young:

What are you talking about? Apologizing? Please provide evidence.

#7 Comment By Red Phillips On October 2, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

I saw 2016 partially out of a sense of obligation since I comment as a conservative and felt I needed to know what people were talking about. I knew I wasn’t going to like it because I knew it was going to portray Obama as anti-American because he isn’t enough of a bellicose interventionist, and I wasn’t disappointed. It even threw in that Obama is apparently OK with American decline because he isn’t funding more NASA Moon missions. (Perhaps conservative Dinesh can point out to me where the Constitution authorizes Federal Government funding of science, but that is for another thread.)

That said, there is nothing at all conspiratorial about the movie and using that term is simply a way to cut off debate. In fact, the movie goes out of its way (in a way that would be unnecessary if he weren’t directly addressing “birther” concerns) to affirm that Obama was born in Hawaii. What Dinesh is attempting to do is explain Obama’s leftism as a result of him adopting his father’s anti-colonial resentments. This explanation is certainly plausible and is not “conspiratorial.” The problem is it is speculative and impossible to prove. Perhaps Obama was influenced by his father’s (who he hardly knew) anti-colonialism, but perhaps Obama is just a run-of-the-mill leftist who started out as a radical and adopted a more pragmatic political approach as he got older. That describes literally millions of people in the country. There is simply no need to invoke a unique anti-colonialism to explain Obama’s politics.

But again, nothing about the movie is conspiratorial in the least, and throwing that out is simply a debate stopper. It is correctly described as speculative or reaching. National Review is scrupulously anti-conspiracy, and they use the conspiracy label to anathematize and marginalize their conservative opponents (for example Ron Paul supporters). American Conservative should not be using this same tactic.

#8 Comment By Doug On October 2, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

This article highlights the thing I hate most about the current Republican Party. Its attacks and positions against Obama are so absurd that I find myself defending a president I don’t approve of.

Then I am “accused” of being a Democrat which is summarily followed by “the Democracts aren’t any better.” As if pointing that out means something to me or makes their case better.

#9 Comment By Willy Joe Bangles On October 2, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

Anger and paranoia seem to be in the comments here as well. I guess you go with what you’ve got to work with. Sad really.

#10 Comment By GLR On October 2, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

Good freaking god. I mean, it’s easy enough to make an argument against Obama’s reelection without having to invent things. Drone strikes, the Libya incident recently, the way he broke his promise on torture, and he definitely could have done better on the economy. I mean, extreme left Liberals would say Romney is an distant filthy rich businessman who doesn’t care for anyone whose income is less than a million a year, but a) They wouldn’t say he hates America, just that he’s a greedy pig and b) Such people won’t be controlling the conversation on the left.

Seriously, I’d vote Republican if I thought they would actually govern.

#11 Comment By Fran Macadam On October 2, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

D’Souza (and Sullivan’s) movie weaves an anti-colonialist, marxist Manchurian Candidate conspiracy – probably D’Souza and Sullivan aren’t all that sure about Obama’s birth certificate, but by not making it an issue, they gain phoney credibility for saying Obama is an alien for all that nonetheless.

The hallmark of conspiracy theorists is plucking and prevaricating the unrelated and incomplete to “prove” a fantasy they already fully believe.

If D’Souza really is a “public intellectual” then he can’t possibly believe any of this swill and is more on the order of a shameless prostituting propagandist. I note his leading questions and the sometimes insincere look on his face as he interviews and sets his victims up far less adroitly than Mike Wallace ever did.

However, I don’t think that the “alien” at all captures the thinking of Obama, who speaks without an accent and whose family is as thoroughly American as millions of others, as much as it does the incompletely acclimatized Brahmin D’Souza, late to our shores as a real foreign student and whose incomplete acculturation is obvious.

I’d like to see a genuine critique – but hardly likely, since the real policies of both the duopoly parties are to double down on what the financial elites determine is in their interests, not ours.

#12 Comment By Jake Lukas On October 2, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

@M_Young

Are you trolling?

These people — no doubt the worse this ‘conservative’ writer could find — are as gods compared to the ‘Obama phone’ lady and millions of other Obama supporters.

Google “tu quoque”.

#13 Comment By Karen On October 2, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

Doug, I run up against the same thing when I point out the many similarities between Romney and Obama on numerous key positions to enthusiastic Romney supporters.

The same thing happens when I point out the same thing to my leftwing friends. Both men, for example, think it’s A-OK to assassinate American citizens when the spirit moves…and how many of Obama’s EO’s will Romney get rid of? Color me zero.

That said, I don’t think these people (at least the ones I know) are clinically paranoid. I do think they’ve become so disillusioned by their own economic prospects that they have done what many people do in similar circumstances, they invest magical powers in something, in this case Romney, and for different reasons: either he’ll “save” America or take birth control pills away from women. Once committed to this magical thinking, they’re all in. There’s no going back. If Romney does manage to win, both sets of people will be disappointed.

Finally, I too saw 2016, and thought it was rather mild – nothing new or deep. It was not particularly incendiary. In fact, the movie made me feel sorry for little Barry. I wish he had had a fully engaged mom and dad; he may still be in some pain from this absence, and he still may not quite know who he is because of it (perhaps this helps explain his dependence on the teleprompter). I feel much more compassionate toward him since seeing the movie – an outcome surely not intended by the film maker. A movie about Obama’s life, childhood, and relationship with his mother and others is a worthy project, and someone will do it eventually. I think such a film would tell us a lot about Obama, and more about ourselves.

#14 Comment By RH On October 3, 2012 @ 5:07 am

Really, doesn’t this ever get old? You go to a rally that attracts people of average or below average intelligence, and they say stupid things in support of their guy. But even if you want to do this genre, it’s done well when the author isn’t constantly informing us how stupid the people are. Thanks for telling me that D’Souza’s movie is “a noxious melange of xenophobic conspiracy theories and lies,” it makes it much easier to know what to think.

#15 Pingback By Quick Hits « bobsbox On October 3, 2012 @ 6:56 am

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#16 Comment By Chuck Hicks On October 3, 2012 @ 7:26 am

Regardless of the merits of its style, this piece resonates with me because I have conversations regularly with Republicans whose reasoning perfectly matches the depiction. It’s embarrassing.

#17 Comment By Patrick Moore On October 3, 2012 @ 10:08 am

Participants’ comments reproduced above remind me of the bumper sticker: “I’m stupid! And I vote!” And I am sure that the Democrats can reply in kind.

It is really too bad that the best candidates can do is play to and encourage such folly in their desperation for election.

#18 Comment By Noah172 On October 3, 2012 @ 11:09 am

I have no interest in seeing 2016. It reminds me of “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America,” a partially plausible, mostly hysterical document, put out by James Dobson, intending to scare the megachurch crowd into trudging out to the polls four years ago for the awful John McCain. D’Souza’s film would have been appropriate (as a piece of electoral propaganda) four years ago, when Obama was still a blank slate to most Americans. Bottom line, Obama has been President for four years now, so nobody outside the FOX/Limbaugh bubble cares anymore about what Obama said or did or thought years ago, or about his family in Kenya, or his kooky pals from way back when; we already know very well how he would perform in office, for good and (mostly) ill, so we don’t need or believe a polemic which purports to tell us what the “real” Obama will be like in his second term.

#19 Comment By sal magundi On October 3, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

“Then I am “accused” of being a Democrat which is summarily followed by “the Democracts aren’t any better.””

i sympathise. when i opposed the iraq invasion on the web, i was called socialist and asked why don’t i “go watch dan rather.”

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