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Obama’s Sleaze Strategy

This week, the friends of Barack Obama introduced into the political battle of 2012 the moral equivalent of poison gas.

In an ad produced by the super PAC Priorities USA, Mitt Romney is charged with moral, if not material, complicity in the cancer death of the wife of a Missouri steelworker.

Speaking straight into the camera, Joe Soptic, 62, charges Romney with coldly shutting down the plant where he worked and cutting off his health insurance. This, says Soptic, left his wife without insurance to pay for her care, until, falling ill, she went to a doctor, who discovered stage 4 cancer, which killed her in 22 days.

Soptic implies a causal connection between Romney’s decision to shut the plant and his wife’s death. The ad is a premeditated attempt to murder the reputation of Mitt Romney. And from start to finish, it is a deception.


The truth.

Mitt Romney gave up leadership of Bain Capital in 1999. The steel plant was closed in 2001. Soptic lost his health insurance, but his wife was still working and had hers. She lost her job and insurance in 2003. Her illness and cancer were discovered in 2006, when Romney was ending his fourth year as governor of Massachusetts.

Was this ad the work of a rogue super PAC over which the Obama campaign had no control? Did the White House denounce the ad as unethical and malicious and wash its hands of it?

By no means. The White House, through its cynical silence, has been complicit in this moral atrocity as it reaps the benefits of it.

As for Soptic, he has been a collaborator of the Obama campaign itself, featured in a campaign ad and a conference call with reporters last May. What this smells like is a secret handoff from the Obama campaign to the Obama super PAC, which would be a violation of law.

While many journalists have denounced the ad as duplicitous and slanderous, some have hailed it. Unconcerned with its falsity, they love its message. For it mirrors what they themselves think of Mitt.

One wonders: Has the president given any thought to how he is to unite and lead the country should he win, given the character of the campaign he and his team have waged?

For a year now, the daily picture of Barack Obama most of us see is of a president heading for his helicopter for yet another rally to denounce Republicans as Tea Party obstructionists and Mitt Romney as an outsourcer and a tax dodger.

A week ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that a confidant had informed him that Romney paid no income taxes for 10 years. Harry repeated this accusation on the floor.

Instead of denouncing this sleazy tactic–a charge with no substance and without an identifiable source–the Obama chorus echoed Harry: Show us the last 10 years of your tax returns.

Are these not the same politicians and media who denounced as vicious wackos any who dared to ask to see Obama’s birth certificate or the transcript from his college days at Columbia?

Assume, for the sake of argument, that these tactics work, that Obama wins re-election and that he and Harry hold the Senate.

How do they govern?

Mr. Hope and Change, the figure who once inspired millions, died a long time ago. In his stead stands a Chicago pol who barnstorms the country calling Republicans political lap dogs of millionaires and billionaires who refuse to pay their fair share of taxes.

In this campaign, Obama has steadily diminished both himself and the office he holds. Remarkable what a fear of defeat and a loss of power can do to a man.

How–after you stand cynically silent while your super PAC mongrels accused Romney of throwing the Soptic family out on the street, stripping them of health care and then letting the wife die of cancer–do you then reach out to your defeated rival?

The presidency is uniquely a place of moral leadership, said Harry Truman, a “bully pulpit,” said Theodore Roosevelt.

How, after the long, low and miserable campaign he and his crowd have conducted, does Obama ascend that pulpit again without being laughed at and hooted at until he stands down?

How does he resolve the fiscal crisis looming at year’s end?

Obama says he rather would not extend any of the Bush tax cuts than extend all of them. The Republican House will give him all or nothing. Yet if Obama wins and lets all of the tax cuts expire, he will need the cooperation of a Republican House and perhaps a Republican Senate to restore the cuts for those earning less than $200,000.

Obama will have to have the cooperation of a Republican House and perhaps a Republican Senate for any budget compromise to bring an end to his debilitating string of five straight trillion-dollar deficits.

Having accomplished nothing in the past two years, how would Obama accomplish anything in the next four after such a campaign?

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of TAC and the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? [1]” Copyright 2012 Creators.com [2]

14 Comments (Open | Close)

14 Comments To "Obama’s Sleaze Strategy"

#1 Comment By libertarian jerry On August 10, 2012 @ 6:10 am

Good article Pat…..The problem isn’t the sleaze that is,as you called it,”the moral equivalent of poison gas.” The problem is the mentality of the voters who would accept this rhetoric as gospel,in order to convince themselves to vote for Mr.Obama. To this day,I’m still trying to figure out how Mr.Obama was elected President. Was Mr.McCain that bad of a candidate? In the end,it is amazing what some men will do to achieve and keep power. Yet,when it comes down to it,both major political parties are just as guilty of throwing mud.

#2 Comment By Don On August 10, 2012 @ 10:13 am

Pat needs to read THE BUYOUT OF AMERICA:How Private Equity Will Cause the Next Great Credit Crisis, by Josh Kosman, especially the chapter entitled “Plunder & Profit,” which details Romney’s time at Baine Capitol.

Romney fully deserves the moniker Vulture Captialist.

#3 Comment By Joe the Plutocrat On August 10, 2012 @ 10:29 am

a “sleazy” political ad? say it ain’t so; Joe! or as John Fogherty sang; “…I know it’s true, because I saw it on TV.” while the ad oozes sleaze; I am not so sure Soptic blames Bain Capital or Romney for his wife’s death, so much as he asks voters to consider Romney’s values. I suspect a similar ad that presented the narrative(s) of worker(s) whose spouses are still alive would have been just as; if not more effective, but as the saying goes; if it bleeds, it leads.

#4 Comment By Jack Ross On August 10, 2012 @ 10:34 am

Forgive my cynicism, but this is exactly like the swift boat ads against Kerry, so what else is new?

#5 Comment By KXB On August 10, 2012 @ 10:36 am

Sorry, but it is hard for me to get outraged over this. I have insurance, and I still avoid going to the doctor, because I still get bills for items that “uncovered”. I had an eye surgery a couple of years ago, and even factoring insurance, it took years to pay off, which meant I could not spend money on other things. I know friends and family, when they have been out of work, the first thought is, “Do you have insurance?” America is the only industrialized nation that ties health insurance to a job, and that there are real people who are affected by this, and yes even die, is something that has been swept under the rug far too long.

#6 Comment By KateLE On August 10, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

Having accomplished nothing in the past two years, how would Obama accomplish anything in the next four after such a campaign?

Be honest. He would have had zero cooperation regardless of the campaign.

#7 Comment By Jackson1961 On August 10, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

Of course it is dubious, almost everything the Democratic Party of America has been dubious, in one way or another, during this administration. The Democratic Party of America isn’t alone being dubious, not that that justifies its actions in any way. People do feel, regardelss of how wrong they are in those feelings, that the Republican Party has it coming. What is really sad it that the Republican Party has absolutely very little moral high ground to stand on, with the nomination of Romney and the do-nothing spineless co-conspirator Republican congress…all mouth no action and I mean no action. Tell, what has happened to Fast & Furious and why wasn’t Obama’s eligibility verified and what is being done about all the security leaks…nothing.

#8 Comment By Iguana Keeper On August 10, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

I don’t have a problem with Harry Reid attacking Mitt Romney on his tax returns, and it’s not sleaze comparatively speaking, as politics is by it’s very nature steeped the business of sleaze, even among candidates of the same party.

Potential presidents have always been expected to release their records. We’ve heard the ridiculous mantra about the birth certificate for four years.

The moment a candidate is presented for office, not only his mental qualifications for the functions he is to assume, but also his private character are made subject of criticism. Whatever he may have done, said, or listened to, from the time he left school to the present moment, is sure to be brought before the public. The most trifling incidents which are calculated to shed a light on his motives or habits of thinking, are made the subject of the most uncompromising scrutiny; and facts circumstances already buried in oblivion are once brought before the judging eye of the people. This, undoubtedly, gives rise to a vast deal of personal abuse and scurrility, and may even disturb the domestic peace of families; but then the candidates for office are comparatively few, while the people who are to be benefited or injured by their election, are many ; they are all presenting themselves of their own accord, and the people compelled to be their judges ; they have friends to defend and extol their virtues, and they must therefore expect to have enemies, who will endeavor to tarnish their fair reputation. …The process of an American election resembles that of a Roman canonization : the candidate must be fairly snatched from the clutches of devils advocate, before he can be admitted to the unrestrained enjoyment of paradise. If in this manner some are prevented from becoming saints, who have a just title to that dignity,–it many also serve to prevent a heathen worship of idols, which would divert the people from the true faith.

[3] 1857 by Francis Joseph Grund

You see, this is a standard that we can’t afford to give up. Ried’s claim is secondary.

As for both Obama and Romney, neither one of them are made of the moral substance that we need, to put this nation ahead of their own fortunes. This election is a dystopian nightmare.

#9 Comment By Wesley On August 10, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

I agree that Obama’s ads are sleazy, but Romney himself is partly to blame. Romney refuses to define himself in a positive way. He and his campaign have preferred instead to make almost all of their ads negative. Since Romney won’t define himself, Obama and his campaign have done it for him. And with disastrous results. The latest polls show that Obama has increased his lead over Romney.

libertarian Jerry: Obama’s goal for airing campaign ads that target Romney’s time at Bain is not to get swing voters to vote for him, but to get white working-class voters who would probably vote for Romney to stay home on election day. Most white working-class voters probably wouldn’t vote for Obama anyway and so Obama’s goal is to get them to view Romney in a negative light as a “vulture capitalist.” Appealing to swing voters isn’t the goal of presidential campaigns anymore. The goal of a presidential candidate now is to rally and excite his own base, as well as to demoralize his opponent’s base.

#10 Comment By libertarian jerry On August 11, 2012 @ 6:45 am

Wesley………..Good point. But in the end does it really make that much of a difference between the two perceived major party candidates. The only real candidate who would have made a real difference in the historic timeline was Ron Paul and he was cheated out of any chance of becoming the Republican nominee. In the end, the real Power are the “Men Behind the Curtain” who pull the strings. The President is just a glorified puppet.

#11 Comment By race_to_the_bottom On August 11, 2012 @ 10:12 am

Libertarian Jerry says: “To this day,I’m still trying to figure out how Mr.Obama was elected President.”

What we have are the two political arms of Wall Street capital. Since they BOTH represent WS, they necessarily have policies which screw average people and even businesses whose main activity is making money producing PRODUCTS rather than more money from money. So after 8 years of the Bush Administration, the misery and anger among the people meant it was “anyone but Bush, or McCain, Bush’s heir. That explains Obama. That and his slick advertising campaign, to which Advertising Age gave its yearly award. Imagine that!

So now people are STILL miserable and angry. Now Wall Street calculates that a large section of the electorate will consider voting for “anyone but Obama”. Hence, you have the spectacle of a Gordon Gekko type being seriously considered for President of the US.

Wall Street figures “Screw the usual front man stuff, let’s eliminate the middle man and put up one of our own!” Will it fly? Sure, why not. He is not “the other guy” and that’s all that matters.

So now you have President Romney putting his austerity policies in place and so the country becomes even more impoverished and courser and his poll numbers will be in the toilet. Four years from now, the Democrats will have a new “hope and change” guy. And so it goes. The man behind the curtain changes the puppets once again.

#12 Comment By Robert Charron On August 12, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

Actually it is not too clear just when Romney left Bain. I understand there are documents filed that indicate romney was still in charge. Be that as it may, Romney was the ownere and Romney received money from Bain, so the defense that romney wasn’t in charge at the time is not solid.

Pat’s last three paragraphs are rock solid.

#13 Comment By Dimitry Aleksandrovich On August 13, 2012 @ 2:51 am

Even if its not true it could have been true. Romney is the embodiment of what a recent Republican contender called a “Vulture Capitalist”. I’m fed up with the investment class. There is nothing conservative or traditional in them except for their desire to conserve and expand their fortunes at the expense of working class Americans. I refuse to vote for the utopian liberal internationalist Barrack Obama, but in the same breath I will also state clear that I refuse to vote for the corporate globalist Mitt Romney as well. We need a true populist party that will respect the social conservatism that most Americans hold dear while reining in the all powerful and very corrupt Wall Street bankers and reinstituting an even playing field for working class Americans.

#14 Comment By Fran Macadam On August 13, 2012 @ 11:41 am

There’s no doubt the Wall Streeters are firmly in charge of what passes for our governance, regardless of the faux election-time propaganda pablum served up, to their own benefit and those in a position to grab on their coattails but to the detriment of the rest of us.

Mass medical bankruptcy from the greed of Wall Street’s associated insurance companies, the medical establishment itself and lawyers is a reality, regardless of how one sad case can be parsed.