Obama Labels Others With His Own Traits

It’s clever and it works: President Obama regularly uses words that would accurately describe himself and his policies to describe Republicans and their policies. He thereby deflects attention away from his own shortcomings and reassures his audience that their underlying concerns about him are unfounded: How could he himself be immoderate and extreme if those are precisely his objections to his opponents? If he constantly shows frustration with “uncompromising” and “radical” conservatives, surely he is not radical and uncompromising himself.

Obama often accused George W. Bush of trying to “scare up votes.” But Obama’s own presidential campaigns rested upon precisely that. This from Agence France-Presse, just after the 2012 Iowa Caucuses:

In keeping with its previous line of attack, the Obama campaign’s manager Jim Messina said in a statement that the ‘extremist Tea Party agenda won a clear victory’ … ‘No matter who the Republicans nominate, we’ll be running against someone who has embraced that agenda in order to win – vowing to let Wall Street write its own rules, end Medicare as we know it, roll back gay rights, leave the troops in Iraq indefinitely, restrict a woman’s right to choose, and gut Social Security to pay for more tax cuts for millionaires and corporations.

Throughout his first term, Obama decried GOP “budget games,” “obstructionism” and unwillingness to “compromise,” at the same time insisting that it was Republicans, not he, who engaged in “blaming and finger-pointing.” He stigmatized “Republicans in Congress” as obstinate do-nothings at the very time he was: campaigning around the country instead of governing; giving hyper-partisan fundraising speeches; and refusing to submit a real budget or to meet with Republicans in the attempt to forge a budget.

Moreover, he continuously caricatured Republicans as ideologically extreme. At a 2011 Town hall Meeting at Facebook headquarters, he said, “I think it’s fair to say their vision is radical.” A year later, Obama was hammering the same theme, saying, for example, that the Republican budget plan represented “an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.” Almost everyone in the media bought Obama’s line. An article by Peter Fenn for U.S. News and World Report entitled “The Poisonous Radicalization of the Republican Party” nicely encapsulates media views: 

In fact, the failure of Speaker John Boehner and the Tea Party to agree to efforts by President Obama to reach a $4 trillion grand bargain to right the economic ship was an example of radicals’ my-way-or-the-highway approach. …. The American people, overwhelmingly, reject this extremism. They are fed up with the lack of progress and the extremism that has become the modern Republican Party. … Tea Party ideologues who lack common sense and have no desire to actually solve problems.

It is thus that the national discussion of the budget (and of countless other issues) is preposterous to the point of being surreal. Lest we point out that Obama is the most ideological and the least compromising of presidents, Obama and the press accuse others of those very shortcomings.

Today, Republicans in Congress are again labeled extreme, even though it is the Obama team that has upped the ante, rejecting their own former taxing and spending goals for bigger ones. Has no one noticed that they have tried to convince the legislature to cede to the executive branch the power to raise the debt ceiling indefinitely by fiat? Does no one worry about their brazen plan to increase taxes by $1.6 trillion over six years, to load the budget with partisan priorities and to add $50 billion in stimulus spending and home mortgage refinancing —without detailing any spending cuts? Has class warfare succeeded to such an extent that no one sees the statist pitfalls for all of us in proposals to tax dividends as ordinary income, and to levy a 45% estate tax on inheritances over $3.5 million?

In foreign policy, too, Obama skillfully exploits language to his advantage. He tells us that Republican lawmakers are “playing politics with our military,” while he favors a “balanced approach.” “Instead of making tough choices to reduce the deficit, they’d rather protect tax cuts for some of the wealthiest Americans, even if it risks big cuts in our military,” Obama said in July.

Thanks, President Obama. What a relief that you want “balance.” We worried you wanted severe military cuts and astronomical increases in discretionary spending. Maybe that’s because we forgot to read the news of the day: White House Rejects GOP fiscal cliff counteroffer, saying it does not meet ‘test of balance.’ 

  1. Schrodinger
    Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool, Much less lying lips to a prince. He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.

    Proverbs 17:7,20

     

    5

    Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

    Revelation 21:5-8

  2. Captain Wentworth

    That tactic was picked up in Chicago. I was always amazed by how Mayor Daley was able to yell at reporters claiming not to do exactly what he was doing right before their eyes!

  3. Anne R. Pierce

    I ask the Ricochet community, What do you think the proper response is to this  tactic? It seems we’re always swimming upstream trying to get the truth out.

  4. Percival
    Anne R. Pierce: I ask the Ricochet community, What do you think the proper response is to this  tactic? It seems we’re always swimming upstream trying to get the truth out. · 4 minutes ago

    I used to think that the media types could be shamed or mocked into actually doing their jobs.  They are beyond shame, and they’re too enamored of Obama to even notice the mockery.

  5. Schrodinger

    The response is to be what he says. As long as the MSM echo chamber amplify his lies, we are fixed as the radicals no matter how “reasonable” we try to be. So, let’s be radical. Stop trying to compromise. Stop trying to pander. Stop with the niceties and bring out the knives. Take the “extreme” position and “never surrender”.

  6. common sense
    Anne R. Pierce: It’s clever and it works: President Obama regularly uses words that would accurately describe himself and his policies to describe Republicans and their policies.

    First, we need to recognize IT for what IT is.  IT is psychological projection.  Projection is used as a defense mechanism.  Other defense mechanisms include:  denial, distortion, passive aggression, …  sound familiar?

    And check out the delivery and language used in all of his speeches.  The cadence, the words used, …  THAT is text-book application of neuro-linguistic programming  - very clever indeed.

    Wake up to the reality that this is all by design, all purposeful, … YES just what is our defense against such a skillful assault?

  7. Anne R. Pierce
    common sense

    Anne R. Pierce: It’s clever and it works: President Obama regularly uses words that would accurately describe himself and his policies to describe Republicans and their policies.

    First, we need to recognize IT for what IT is.  IT ispsychological projection.  Projection is used as a defense mechanism.  Other defense mechanisms include:  denial, distortion, passive aggression, …  sound familiar?

    And check out the delivery and language used in all of his speeches.  The cadence, the words used, …  THAT is text-book application of neuro-linguistic programming  - very clever indeed.

    Wake up to the reality that this is all by design, all purposeful, … YES just what is our defense against such a skillful assault? · 6 minutes ago

    Psychological projection it is. You’re right – it’s there in one form or another in all his speeches. I never thought he’d have the nerve, after all his divisiveness,  in his second presidential acceptance speech to reuse the line that we’re not republican and democrat, but One America — but he did.  And then there was his campaign’s and his own constant message that Romney was a liar.

  8. flownover

    The only answer to Alinsky is more Alinsky, but helps to own 95% of the media , facebook .

    That , and the wholesale complicity of academia, present quite an obstacle to truth telling.

  9. Franciscus

    The radicals are good at throwing out ideas with little specifics as you say. But the counter is to not get caught up in the minutia but to call their bluff. the fact is that they have no plan or defense for their ideas, Obama can only sell envy and hate because he cannot be truthful about what his statist agenda will do. Reagan could articulate this, but the problem is that we don’t have Republicans articulating free markets, capitalism, freedom and liberty like him because most don’t understand or even believe in this. Hell, I doubt John Boehner could explain any of these concepts in detail.

  10. Franciscus

    When Obama says this class or that class, don’t play along; America is not a nation of classes! That is old european attempts to counter capitalism

  11. Anne R. Pierce
    Franciscus: When Obama says this class or that class, don’t play along; America is not a nation of classes! That is old european attempts to counter capitalism · 1 minute ago

    I so agree.

  12. BTConservative

    I always thought his “you didn’t build that” line was a telling moment of projection. After hearing/seeing it so many times, it seemed to reveal Obama’s internal reflection: he knows he’s never built anything his life. Sure, he hates business and capitalism, but if he couldn’t do it on his own, surely entrepreneurs couldn’t either.How to counter this? I’m not sure, but we’ve got figure it out quick.

  13. FirstAmendment

    I’m writing on an iPad and therefore can’t lift a quote from your post, but where you comment about Obama stigmatizing “Republicans in congress”, and caricaturing Republicans as extremists, I couldn’t agree more. This problem is rampant and entrenched. Is it possible that anything we do will not only make a dent in the problem but actually solve it?

  14. Becky53

    A measured, calmly voiced response.  1. Come out and say that it is not extreme.  2. Immediately follow with this fact:  It is an insult to the office of the presidency, who should be above this kind of pandering, to play with semantics when real solutions are needed.

    Anne R. Pierce: I ask the Ricochet community, What do you think the proper response is to this  tactic? It seems we’re always swimming upstream trying to get the truth out. · 16 hours ago

  15. Kenneth Gauck

    This is a tactic common to the Left, and I think it is basically projection. This defense mechanism attributes one’s on faults or bad motives to someone else to protect the original person from facing the awful truth about who they are. One example from before Obama- recall the claims that Bush and Cheney were in thrall to Hailburton and the oil industry. That policy was specially geared to their specific interests. Today, we see 80% of stimulus funds go to major Dem donors or bundlers, uncluding famous examples in the solar industry. Any time I hear descriptions of the right by the left that don’t seem accurate, its frequently true that the description is apt when applied to the left instead.

  16. Anne R. Pierce
    Kenneth Gauck: This is a tactic common to the Left, and I think it is basically projection. This defense mechanism attributes one’s on faults or bad motives to someone else to protect the original person from facing the awful truth about who they are. One example from before Obama- recall the claims that Bush and Cheney were in thrall to Hailburton and the oil industry. That policy was specially geared to their specific interests. ….

    True, and their success in imputing others with such motives is impressive. Because the Haliburton story was successfully sold, many I knew were convinced the Iraq War was “really” about oil.  And then there were the “Bush knew”  and “Bush lied” mantras that were simplistic and misleading, but sold so well that people thought Bush never believed anything he himself said about Iraq.

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