Last week during one leg of President Obama’s “non-campaign related,” taxpayer-funded bus tour of battleground states, he told a crowd, “There is a group of folks who think that I’d rather see my opponent lose than see America win.”
It was reassuring to learn that the president loves his country more than he cares about his own political ambitions, though the implication didn’t quite square with an observation a week earlier from a White House strategist who said, “Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney.”
An article at Politico explained:
Barack Obama’s aides and advisers are preparing to center the president’s reelection campaign on a ferocious personal assault on Mitt Romney’s character and business background, a strategy grounded in the early-stage expectation that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee. [Emphasis added]
Granted, it’s an odious strategy, informed by the most cynical brand of political gamesmanship. And it’s that much more obscene coming from a man who promised to transcend the old ways of Washington and deliver the nation into a new era of post-partisanship.
Give the Obama camp credit, though. Soon after the publication of the Politico piece, senior campaign strategist David Axelrod announced that anyone who went negative on Romney would be fired. Maybe the threat went a tad far in the direction of self-righteousness, but it demonstrated that the campaign had learned the errors of its ways.
Until yesterday. The identity of the Republican frontrunner may have changed, but Obama machine is back to plan A. Portions of an email from Hector Nieto, the campaign’s Texas director, appear in the Dallas Morning News, asking readers to hold Rick Perry “accountable on the campaign trail, inspire fellow Texans to get involved, and introduce his record—his actual record—to voters across the country.”
But the Obama camp doesn’t stop there. They have posted an online form where “Texans who have experienced Gov. Rick Perry’s failed policies firsthand” can rat him out.
If this approach sounds familiar, it is because the Obama administration has done it before. Recall that in August of 2009, at the height of the health care debate, the White House website called upon citizens to “tell on” opponents of the plan:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to [email protected]
This latest bit of chicanery is disgraceful for any seeker of high office but it is repulsive for a sitting president. It shows not only that he is willing to sling mud at his opponent but that he is too lazy to dig it up himself.
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