If you’ve been paying attention to Barack Obama’s campaign for re-election you may have noticed a recurring theme. While he hits the campaign trail, flashing his million-dollar smile and waving to the adoring crowds, his political hit men are engaged in one of the dirtiest campaigns in recent American history – a campaign where decency is no virtue and moral atrocities are no vice. Not if they help Barack Obama win re-election.
First it was Harry Reid’s indecent act on the floor of the United States Senate about Mitt Romney not paying taxes in 10 years – an allegation made without so much as a scintilla of evidence to back it up.
It’s one thing if a drunk in a bar makes some crazy, unsubstantiated accusation. But this was the leader of the U.S. Senate telling the American people “The word’s out he (Mitt Romney) hasn’t paid any taxes in 10 years. Let him prove he has paid taxes. Because he hasn’t.”
When asked how he knows this, Reid said he got the tip from a confidential source who had worked at Bain Capital. When asked who it was, Reid wouldn’t say. And if a reporter asked Reid, how a confidential source – assuming one even existed — could possibly know anything about Mitt Romney’s personal income tax returns, I missed it.
Decent people protested Reid’s low blow. But the President of the United States wasn’t among the decent people. He could have denounced Reid’s slimy tactic. But he didn’t say a word. And that’s makes him complicit.
And when the president’s friends were asked what they thought, they simply changed the subject to Romney’s taxes. The president’s press spokesman, Jay Carney, said this was a matter between Harry Reid and Mitt Romney.
Except that no one believes that Harry Reid was freelancing, that he woke up one day and said I think I’ll go on the floor of the Senate and say that Romney hasn’t paid taxes in 10 years. “The word’s out” that the president’s re-election team was pulling the strings on the back of their willing puppet.
At the time I thought this was as low as it would get during this campaign. But then came The Ad, produced and paid for by Priorities USA, a Super Pac supporting Barack Obama – and run by a former press spokesman for the president.
The ad — casually and incredibly — linked Mitt Romney to the death of a woman who had cancer.
In the video, 62-year old Joe Soptic looks right into the camera and says that Bain Capital shut down the Missouri steel mill where he had been working. He lost his job, his insurance … and his wife died.
The implication is clear: If Romney hadn’t shut down the plant his wife might still be alive today.
This is not simply nonsense. It’s despicable.
First, Mr. Soptic had been offered a buy-out; he wasn’t simply told one day that he was fired. That’s not in the ad.
Second, his wife was still working and had insurance with her job when her husband lost his. That’s not in the ad, either.
Third, Mitt Romney left Bain in 1999, the plant closed in 2001, the woman was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 — when Romney was in his fourth year as Governor of Massachusetts. None of that is in the ad.
So how is Mitt Romney even vaguely responsible for this woman’s death?
It is the dirtiest political commercial I have seen in a very long time. But again the president remained silent. And again, his silence makes him complicit in this moral outrage.
It’s important to remember that Barack Obama rode into Washington four years ago on a magic carpet made up of hopes and dreams and promises to make the national conversation less partisan and more civil.
It’s tempting to believe that Mr. Obama has thrown his principles out the window in order to win. But it’s becoming more and more clear that he never had the principles he sold us on. It’s becoming more and more clear that Barack Obama is just one more crummy Chicago politician who will do whatever he has to in order to win. Somebody needs to tell the president that the White House isn’t City Hall.
Mr. Obama’s tactics, of course, may work. But if he wins re-election, he will be the president of a nation more divided than when he walked into the Oval Office four years ago. With his class warfare strategy, he has managed to turn Americans against each other. With his ally’s dirty campaign ad, he has managed to make us more cynical than we were before he promised to make things better.
Barack Obama and the American people will have paid a high price for victory, if he wins. It’s a price he’s obviously willing to pay.