“Live not by lies,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn enjoined his countrymen shortly before being exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974. This week the political press finally took his advice.
Since August 2011, when President Obama went on a bus tour of Iowa coinciding with the Ames Republican straw poll, the White House has asked the American people to accept the fantasy that the president’s hyper-partisan speeches and appearances are not actually campaign events. The “official” rallies, Obama spokesmen said, would not begin until late in spring of 2012, when at long last the president would “engage” his Republican opponent Mitt Romney.
What “a load of you know what,” as our president might say. Obama’s every word and action is geared toward reelection. His September 2011 address to a joint session of Congress was nothing more than an act of political positioning: Challenge the Republicans to pass a tax-and-spend jobs bill that has no chance of becoming law, Obama’s thinking went, and attack them afterwards as partisan obstructionists. For the incumbent, it would be a win-win.
His February 2012 speech to the United Auto Workers convention had all the trappings of a 1930s labor rally. The president played the role of Agate in this impromptu production of “Waiting for Lefty,” whipping-up the workers in an impassioned polemic that reminded the union of who handed them Chrysler and who, like Romney, thought normal bankruptcy laws should apply even when the political interests of the Democratic Party are at stake.