Sleight Of Hand
According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington nonprofit organization that examined a series of newspaper, television, radio, and Web outlets, President Barack Obama suffered from more negative news coverage than any of the candidates in the brutal and long winded Republican primaries. The study went so far to conclude that Mr. Obama did not enjoy a single week where his favorable treatment was more than the negative treatment. He was heavily criticized by the entire Republican field on a variety of issues that directly linked the President to happenings with negative connotations such as rising gas prices, high unemployment, and renewed criticism about the yet to be fully implemented healthcare reform.
When the Obama administration would try to defend its position on the variety of topics, that message was drowned out by the sheer volume of coverage surrounding the conservative candidates and the discipline the candidates showed when they tied their individual campaign message to the theme that anyone would be better as President than Mr. Obama. While Mr. Obama is the incumbent for the White House, the overall perception is that Mr. Obama is more like just another candidate unproven in his ability to govern and mistrusted to lead as the commander in chief despite the fact that he has been leading as the President for the past three years. This message was drilled home especially after Mr. Obama’s open microphone comment picked up when he was telling his Russian counterpart that he would have more flexibility after the election. Mitt Romney seized on this incident and tried to convince people that Mr. Obama was planning to sell the country out to what he referred to as our sworn foes.
The biggest problem for Mr. Obama is that it doesn’t take much to create a negative issue around him. Some people are still thick in the delusion that Mr. Obama is not a citizen of the country and faked his Hawaii birth certificate because somebody in some government agency somewhere slept instead of pulling out all the stops to authenticate the fact that Mr. Obama was indeed qualified to be President of the United States. Mr. Obama is still fighting suspicions that he’s a Muslim in cahoots with terrorists and is waiting for just the right opportunity to surrender America to people who hate us because we have the freedom to give up our freedoms in the irrational pursuit of people who hate our freedoms.
We’ve been told that our President hates our freedom the first time he wanted the job to lead us. Now we are told that he hates successful businesses and businesspeople. We are told that Mr. Obama hates success even though he succeeded in becoming President. We are told that our President is out to take away our right to bear arms even though as President he has not implemented a single policy that endangers our rights to own guns. We are told that Mr. Obama goes around apologizing to the world for America being America, and even though no one can point to a single apology, a lot of people have bought into the contention hook, line, and sinker.
When Mr. Obama says a murdered black teenager would look like him if he had a son, conservatives pounce and call Mr. Obama a racist. When Mr. Obama calls a woman demonized by conservatives as a slut and prostitute because she wants to exercise her right to free speech, conservatives pounce and call Mr. Obama a hypocrite for not calling Sarah Palin after she was attacked be liberals. But those same people never said Ms. Palin should apologize to the President for making insinuations that Mr. Obama is a terrorist, is creating death panels with his healthcare reform, or for a number of accusations against Mr. Obama and Michelle Obama that were unfounded or untrue.
Now that the Republican primaries are just about over and Mr. Romney is unofficially the conservative rival for the White House, all the money that was poured into the nasty, negative, campaigns to win against people who share a common political ideology and for the most part can accept each other as kindred political souls, all the money that went into treating each other like conservative dirt and can be directed against the President, the man many of us are ready to believe should have never been in the White House for whatever reason or another.
Some of the people who were running for the conservative nomination were primarily doing so with the blessing of a single financial donor. Thanks to the Supreme Court decision that has allowed people and corporations to put unlimited financial backing behind a campaigner through the sleight of hand of Super PAC donations, people who financed the conservative political civil war that has yet to officially declare Mr. Romney the winner, all that money can now be turned against the incumbent in a unified assault to fulfill the ultimate conservative dream to make Mr. Obama’s a one term presidency. Mr. Obama has had his fair share of financial backers, but the money that Mr. Obama’s reelection campaign has raised pales in comparison to the number of people with really dip pockets willing to write an eight figure check to make sure Mr. Obama loses. Soon, rumors of an illegitimate birth certificate and accusations of being an undercover terrorist will be given new life nourished by a financial tsunami that will be unlike anything we have seen in our politics before.
Mr. Obama’s reelection campaign is taking up the gauntlet thrown down by the conservative challengers. Just about any incumbent with a passion for power probably would. But if people think Mr. Obama has weathered negativity before, they haven’t seen anything yet. A financial tsunami like no other is coming. A perfect storm of political differences, personal loathing, and a Supreme Court decision that has opened the flood gates of corporate money has combined to make the future of politics like nothing we’ve seen before. The media negativity that Mr. Obama has seen to date is nothing like what’s coming.
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