Why Tempt Fate? Prevaricate!
At issue is Obama's (true) assertion that the GOP made gains in the '80s and '90s by capturing the electorate's imagination while the Democratic party remained stagnant. "The Republicans," he said, "were the party of ideas."
Obama in no way endorsed any current or previous GOP platform; on the contrary, he has specifically repudiated most of it. But in the world of "opposition research" -- i.e., scouring votes and public statements for anything that can be twisted into something frightful -- truth is irrelevant. Here's the ad text:
VOICE-OVER: "Listen to Barack Obama last week talking about Republicans."Answer: no. Those are not the ideas Obama was talking about, which Hillary well understands. And therefore she is a liar. Of course, she is by no means alone in that. Almost all candidates, in the thrall of sleazy politicial consultants, use identical tactics as campaigns heat up. No doubt Obama will do the same, if he hasn't already. Such is the state of American politics. Wanton dishonesty is the status quo.
BARACK OBAMA: "The Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years."
VO: "Really? Aren't those the ideas that got us into the economic mess we're in today? Ideas like special tax breaks for Wall Street. Running up a $9 trillion debt. Refusing to raise the minimum wage or deal with the housing crisis. Are those the ideas Barack Obama's talking about?"
The media, meanwhile, fixate on race, gender and choked-back tears. Credit the Washington Post for making the ad subject of a front-page story and lead editorial on Thursday. But even those pieces were conspicuously devoid of surprise, much less outrage. The focus instead was on internecine Democratic squabbling.
No wonder. Petty conflict is the fast-food of election-year politics and news organizations eat that stuff up. In the McDonaldsization of democracy, bald-faced lies are just the disposable toys in the Happy Meal.
More than 300 million disserved.
Editor's note: The ad was pulled on Thursday evening.