Monday, October 1, 2012

Campaign Exploitation

    This is absolutely stunning.  Here's the latest entry in the Obama campaign blog, a letter from a supporter:
Dear President Obama,
Hello! My name is Brittany and I live in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. I am 25 years old (but I will be 26 on October 3rd!). I am a registered Democrat and I have been voting since I was 18...  I have Down syndrome.
I started working part-time in 2004 when I was in high school. I graduated in 2008 and have worked at that job ever since. My employer receives money from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare so that I can work, and the public transportation people receive money from them to take me back and forth to work. My mother applied for Social Security's Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) for me when I was 19. I really want to make lots of money and have a hot tub someday, but SSI subtracts my paychecks from my SSI benefits, so I don’t have much to put into a savings account.
    Is the Obama campaign just publishing this letter because it is an inspiring story of someone doing the best they can?  No.  I left out the title of the blog post (Brittany: “A face of one of the 47%”) and one line from the first paragraph of the letter: " I am one of the 47% of Americans who fall under Mitt Romney's definition of 'entitled' and 'unable to take responsibility for my life.'"

    Leave aside that this woman's story is the antithesis of what Mitt Romney was trying to get at in his  remarks that were admittedly open to distortion.  Leave aside that Romney and his family have personally helped many individuals who needed help like Brittany in quiet ways over the years.  Leave aside that the Romneys give millions to charity.  Later in Brittany's letter, she writes the following [emphasis mine]: "I have paid $542.72 in federal, FICA, state, and city taxes this year as of August 31st."  So even under the literal interpretation of Romney's comments being about those not paying taxes, Brittany does not qualify.

    The Obama campaign has taken what could have been, with sensitive editing, a feel-good letter from someone who is doing her best under difficult circumstances and wishes to support Barack Obama into a dishonest, exploitive cheap shot at his opponent.  The president and his campaign should be ashamed.


  1. Actually, she is part of the 10%. Studies show approximately 90 percent of unborn children who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome become victims of abortion. Perhaps Brittany should be thankful that Republicans are promoting her value as a human being.

  2. I live in Britain. You would be horrified by some of the stories I have heard of social medical "care" for people with Down's Syndrome - right up to an old friend's memories of being 5 and seeing her 2-year-old sister being taken to hospital to die, basically without care, of heart disease.

    Yes many Down's deaths are unavoidable, as many also suffer serious heart complaints. Rationing means that the NHS often gives up on treating them though.

    So that is what Down's Syndrome children face under the USA's bright new future of socialised medical care. No death panels, though, of course.

  3. If I am not mistaken, Gov Romney's sister has a child with Down Syndrome. Gov Romney has helped many children and adults in his lifetime - that is more than Obama can say!

  4. She will have her five hundred bucks returned. She is on welfare. She is exactly in the middle of the people Mitt was talking about. I agree that Mitt is nice to charity cases but you are wrong that this is distorting his point.

    What he said and what his campaign has made clear overall is that he believes that the well-off and the powerful are the people who will vote for him and that the views of those 'others' are not his concern.

    He's probably right on both accounts. This girl isn't going to vote for him. His priority is the deficit, not funding for people like her. Nor are his views useful to him. To the extent that he takes her views into account, it would push him in directions antithetical to his priorities.

    Cheap shot? No, I don't think so. This is a political campaign. Choosing a person that both exemplifies his worst characteristics in an unequivocal way is completely appropriate. There's nothing wrong with using a person who has a handicap. She's a citizen, too.

  5. @tqwhite
    Romney is not wanting to address the deficit by cutting assistance for people with serious medical conditions. This is clearly a cheap shot that has nothing to do with coaxing out differences between the two candidates.

    Something most Obama voters don't realize is that there is not a fixed number of jobs in the economy. Instead of, as democrats do, worry about the distribution of our 'economic pie', Romney wants to expand the economy and tax receipts faster than the growth of government spending, setting us on a new path towards prosperity (the opposite direction of the last 4 years).

    These are really simple concepts to voters with any basic understanding of economics or finance, but as poll numbers hwoign a slight Obama lead prove, those voters are in exceptionally short supply. Cutting benefits to neighbors with Down's Syndrome isn't part of anyone's plan.

  6. Not only is this woman's story exactly what Romeny wax addressing- dependant on the government, stanchly democratic- but your desire to white wash her independent opinions into some "feel good story" shows your lack of respect. She clearly doesn't want to "quitely" accept assistance and charity.She wants to be enabled to be independent and share the same dignity you and I strive for. You clearly missed the point- just wanting to typecast her into your stereotype.

  7. The timing of this letter is not an accident. October is Downs syndrome month. I feel like throwing up now.

  8. This woman has the right to vote, probably exercises it, and thoroughly votes against her interest. Because of her genetic condition, I'm not sure that she's capable of understanding how her Democrats are totally betraying her.

    The benefits that she gets via SSI are backed by a trust fund due to get exhausted in 2016 at which point, under current law, she will get a very large benefit cut. This is the system that the Democrat party is defending.

    The GOP has been promoting plans to adjust things so that sudden change doesn't happen and that things are adjusted slowly so we get to a sustainable situation without hurting people badly and so quickly that they can't adjust. Sudden change is bad for these beneficiaries. They are less able to adjust quickly.