By Cheri Jacobus - 05/26/11 08:54 PM EDT
The Obama record is certainly nothing to run on. It is, however, something for Democrats to run screaming from. That’s why Democrats are bolting out of the gate early to rip Republicans to shreds, misrepresenting their records and, mostly, expending a tremendous amount of money, energy and time doing their level best to scare seniors and anybody else they can. Lacking any sort of record or vision of their own to inspire voters in November 2012, they are falling back on the same tired old cobweb-laden strategy of scaring voters by lying to them about Republicans.
With no positive “truths” of their own party and president to brag about, it’s sloppy and desperate to be so blatant, so inelegant and so dishonest this early in the game. But that’s the effect failed presidents have on their political party and the down-ticket campaigns.
In the case of the Ryan plan, Democrats are working ’round the clock to scare seniors into believing Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Republicans want to gut their Medicare. In fact, the Ryan plan doesn’t affect people over 55. But you’re not likely to hear that important little nugget of truth from Democrats. They have no plan of their own to save the program for future generations, and have opted to throw spitballs from the sidelines to avoid having to be honest about the problem and face it head-on. Democrats’ inertia is irresponsible and almost criminally incompetent.
So jittery are Democrats about Obama’s failures and low poll numbers that upon former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s announcement he was running for president, the Democratic National Committee issued a weird little attack ad for which it was immediately blasted for taking Pawlenty’s words out of context. It wasn’t just Republicans calling the DNC out for its dishonesty and amateurish manipulation; the actual reporter who interviewed Pawlenty for Time magazine, Michael Crowley, was furious the DNC took quotes from the interview and misappropriated them to fit its partisan agenda. The question was not “Why?” but rather “When did you first know you wanted to run?” To which Pawlenty simply said he didn’t know. The DNC lied early. It’s a safe bet it will lie often.
One of the most damaging missteps by Obama came just last week when he stated the starting point for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians should be the pre-1967 borders, gut-punching Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the eve of his U.S. visit. Congressional Democrats were gobsmacked by the president’s curious policy pronouncement, and many didn’t hesitate to join Republicans in swiftly rebuking the president and reiterating their own support for Israel. Bad news, indeed, for Obama when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pounces and a House member of his own party says the president was “tilting toward Hamas,” a terrorist organization in bed with the Palestinians. Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) might have even understated the situation. Appeasement of Hamas might be more accurate. Further illustrating Obama’s folly, the usually sanguine Netanyahu wowed with a hard-hitting address to Congress outlining the path for Israel — a vision quite at odds with Obama’s.
Aside from the international ramifications for such an ill-advised position and delivering it in such an in-your-face public manner to Netanyahu, President Obama will take a hit in his 2012 reelection bid, particularly in Florida and other states with heavy Jewish populations. Reports that top Jewish fundraisers for Obama have been vocal in their disappointment and have warned the campaign that fundraising in the Jewish community, a normally reliable source of support and financing, is in trouble, could portend trouble ahead. Perhaps Obama and the Democrats believe they can balance the betrayal of Israel by scaring the large numbers of retirees in Florida into voting for them by lying about Republican Medicare reform plans in order to win that all-important battleground state. It will be a wash between failures, unpopular policies — and lies. What a plan.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.