Friday, July 06, 2012

Negative Campaigning

Paul Krugman began a column on July 4th with a statement advising the Obama campaign to “go after” the Bain Capital performance of Romney. It’s an interesting statement.

It appears that the Obama campaign has decided to ignore the queasiness of Democrats with Wall Street ties, and go after Mitt Romney’s record at Bain. And rightly so!

There is something in the Bible about living in glass houses and throwing stones but, while Obama professes to be a Christian, I don’t think Krugman does, so that may not to be applicable to the advice that Krugman dispenses. There’s a certain lack of wisdom in that practice as well, but I’m not sure it applies in politics, where the public pays very little attention to much of anything beyond the immediately spoken word. Krugman may, therefor, be entirely comfortable advising that Obama ignore the role played by his own Treasury Secretary in the economic collapse of 2008 and attack Romney’s role in that debacle.

There’s also something in the Bible about “casting out the mote in one’s own eye” before poking someone else in the eye, or something like that, which would hint that maybe Obama should notice Krugman’s “Democrats with Wall Street ties” before he starts taking really major swings at any form of capitalism. Americans in this Christian nation only read the parts of the bible than ban homosexuality, though, so they don’t even know what a “mote” is and certainly would not recognize one in the President’s eye.

Since Krugman put the word “queasiness” in there, though, I suspect he is not saying that Obama should ignore the fact that many Democrats have Wall Street ties; I’m pretty sure that Democrats having ties to Wall Street is completely unremarkable to Krugman. I suspect he’s saying that Obama should ignore the fact that his attacks on Bain Capital are making those Democrats queasy.

I don’t know why he thinks Obama needs that advice, because Obama has pretty much made a career of pissing off his fellow Democrats, such as by making a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for two full years with telling them in advance, and by saying of the “public option” that it “would be nice to have” instead of actually supporting it. When it comes to securing his own advantage, he will throw the Democrats and liberalism under the bus in a heartbeat.

And his present campaign is a case in point. In his first campaign for president he was filled with noble ideals of eschewing the negativity of “attack politics” and insisted on campaigning purely on a positive message of “hope and change.” He clearly recognizes that principles like that are going to get him nowhere this time around, so has adopted the more traditional “attack dog” role to win a coveted second term.

Principles are all very well; but power is a whole lot more satisfying.

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