Thursday, June 14, 2012

Barack Obama's Sesame Street Campaign

    The latest barrage of tweets and blog posts coming from the Obama campaign are a response to Mitt Romney's response to President Obama's latest "gaffe." (The problem with saying "latest gaffe" in relation to the Obama administration is that your statement can almost immediately become dated, since the gaffes tend to come fast and furious - "stuck by my guns," anyone?)  After President Obama made his "the private sector is doing fine" remark, Mitt Romney shot back with the following (via ABCNews):
"He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers," Romney said Friday, speaking about President Obama's efforts to expand government. "Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."
 The Obama campaign almost fell over themselves tweeting this "gaffe" to their followers, even going so far as to characterize Romney as wanting to "fire" our dedicated public servants (I wrote about this earlier.)  Far from recognizing overreach when they overreach, the Obama campaign doubled down on the Romney-hates-teachers-firefighters-and-police meme.  After a few days of tweets about Romney wanting to cut  teachers, firefighters and police, the Obama campaign shifted tack to the following:

Soon came a steady stream of stories on Twitter and the campaign's blog about how these three groups of public servants had made a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans.  Here is one:

And another:

And finally:

While these are certainly touching stories, does the Obama campaign seriously expect people to think Romney is in favor of people dying horrible deaths?  The Romney campaign has not made much of Romney's personal heroic and selfless deeds, but voters are not children.  It's as if the campaign has gone retro and is using its supporters as virtual Muppets to explain who "the people in your neighborhood" are.

I think we'd find nearly universal agreement that the professions of teacher, firefighter and police officer are noble and worthy of respect and perhaps even hero worship at times.  But can government spend unlimited funds to hire unlimited public servants so that nothing bad ever happens to anyone ever again?  This is not even an attempt at a political or economic argument.  It's quite literally (and I mean literally) a pre-school appeal to niceness.
    As Mitt Romney was attempting to point out before the Obama campaign stuck its fingers in the public's collective ears and started chanting "LA-LA-LA!! TEACHERS ARE WONDERFUL!!", the national debt is north of $16,000,000,000,000 and rising fast.  We are broke.  As wonderful as teachers truly are, perhaps the best thing they could teach right now is this:  Don't spend what you don't have.  President Obama himself could benefit tremendously from that lesson.  Maybe someday he could paraphrase Iva from the story above and say:
Had I not had the help of my teacher, I probably would have continued spending. Nothing wrong with that, but we've lived in debt. I had seen enough of that.
 Now that teacher would be an angel worth tweeting about.

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