by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Obama ran for president as a “change” candidate championing the transformative power of words. In the Democratic primary, he announced that his true opponent was “cynicism” itself. Apparently, to oppose Obama’s candidacy for any reason was to give in to dark motivations. Later, he explained that Democratic voters who preferred Hillary Clinton were “clinging” to their bigotries and small-mindedness. As ever, his candidacy did not bear close inspection, but it’s hard to inspect something at such an altitude. Besides, as ever, he told a good story.
Indeed, as Obama told Newsweek reporter Richard Wolff, “You know, I actually believe my own bulls**t.”
No doubt he believed it, in April 2008, when he assured voters, “We’re not going to run around doing negative ads. We’re going to keep it positive, we’re going to talk about the issues.” By July 2008, Obama was saying that the $4 trillion increase in national debt during the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency was “unpatriotic.”
And by September 2008, his campaign was running ads ridiculing his opponent, Senator John McCain, because he couldn’t send an e-mail. Never mind that McCain’s inability had nothing to do with technological ineptitude and everything to with the war hero having been so brutally beaten by the Viet Cong that he physically couldn’t use a keyboard. His wife would read his e-mails to him.
Of course, Obama won. People liked his story.