Water bottles and other campaign debris
July 19, 2012 1 Comment
Ever since 2008, conspicuous fainting episodes have occurred with bizarre regularity at President Obama’s campaign rallies. Some wider attention came earlier this week when Obama, who offers a consistent, canned response to these potentially serious collapses, inadvertently called for a “paralegal” instead of a paramedic. Michael Medved, who has documented this phenomenon since the beginning, has a good point regarding the displays: how does the Commander-in-Chief know it’s just a swoon and nothing more serious?
The fainting routine, with Mr. Obama’s predictable admonition to eat food, drink water, and remain calm, is quite possibly meant to bolster his image as a confident, competent leader. He can have own mini Bush-with-a-bullhorn moment, giving gentle nanny state prescriptions that earn laughter from the adoring crowd. But one Medved caller this week had an alternate take: with the president habitually 20-60 minutes late to appointments, and belting out stump speeches nearing an hour, it would be no surprise if the fainting fans were genuine and not crowd plants.
Why do mainstream journalists, the “dinosaur media” if you will, turn a blind eye to Obama and his fellow Democrat’s campaign gimmicks? Who knows what other minutia have gone undocumented while the media combs over Romney’s vacation photos, his financial arrangements, and his 1999-2002 status at Bain?
Of course it’s the substance and not the minutia that matters. Yet, it was with some pain that I learned of new–if trivial –criticisms from two Hollywood geek icons. Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, recently knocked Mitt Romney as “not human.” His critique hinged on how awkwardly the governor responded to a sip of lemonade. Really? Hamill’s observation rivals Matt Damon’s fearful, perhaps bigoted babble from 2008 that managed to mention Sarah Palin, dinosaurs, and nuclear codes in the same breath.
Giving good company to Hamill is Wil Wheaton, who played the star ship’s resident whiz kid on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He took the occasion of a recent George Bush interview to lament the loss of life and treasure the 43rd president instigated with a “war of choice.” It’s regrettable the actor doesn’t understand that jihadis have free will or that all wars are embarked upon as a deliberate exercise.
The men who once played space teens on film and television can now–fittingly enough–join Cher, who apparently left Earth so she could avoid breathing the same air as Mitt Romney. Celebrities’ reflexive gags make nice conservative water cooler talk, but they also indicate just how impervious some sections of the country are to reality.
Let’s return from our Hollywood excursus to Washington, where we get a different taste of the same liberal worldview. The media, after four days of burying its head in the sand, has reluctantly picked up on President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” gaffe. And while ABC moved quickly to paint it as out of context, The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto insists the gaffe was a genuine betrayal of a deeply liberal inner attitude.
If you read the wider quote from Obama, Taranto has solid reasoning: “that” refers to the singular and proximate “business.” Obama would have said “those” if he were referring to the earlier bridges and roads. Yet, I would entertain the possibility of a simple slip up, since “you didn’t build that” has more of a rhetorical impact than “you didn’t build those.” It also reminds us of MC Hammer’s sweet refrain, “U can’t touch this.”
Is all this attention unfruitful nitpicking? Not inasmuch as it draws focus to the real and gaping philosophical chasm that separates Democrats from Republicans. Undeniably, economic policy is ultimately driven by a sense of who “owns” growth and success.
What does lack substance is the liberal canard that the rich need to “pay back” for all they’ve been given. Not that Republicans deny a need for some government in the first place! High income earners already pay much more than the rest of us under our already progressive tax regime. And all the while, we can’t deny the abounding opportunity that many of those earners’ businesses provide.
There is no need for top income earners to pay “us” back or forward, for that matter. But we could use comprehensive tax reform, a closing of loopholes and lowering of rates that Romney and a Republican Congress will deliver if elected. If only our electorate can navigate the field of campaign season debris first.