According to Barack Obama, Republicans have been "the party of ideas" over the last ten to fifteen years because they were "challenging conventional wisdom." He made the claim during the same interview in which he called Ronald Reagan's presidency transformative.
Obama conceded that at present, the Republican Party is no longer the party of ideas.
JedReport was unable to reach Newt Gingrich, the chief intellectual of the Republican Party for comment. JedReport was able to confirm that Albert Gore, has had an idea or two over the last fifteen years, however.
During the interview, Obama also expressed pride in having changed the political dialog of America, and cited Mitt Romney as his prime example.
He was talking about the very same Mitt Romney who has spent more money on attack ads than all the other presidential candidates combined. Just over two weeks ago, CNN reported:
Two negative ads recently launched by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has spent more on advertising than any other candidate, either misrepresent his rival's records or include distortions, according to a CNN analysis of the commercials. (emphasis added)
This is the man who Barack Obama proudly cites as evidence he has brought about a shift in political paradigms?
Here's what Obama said:
One of the things I’m very proud of about this campaign is that I think we’ve already changed the political dialogue...when Mitt Romney starts talking like me...you have somebody like Huckabee who is doing very well basically taking a similar tone...I think we are shifting the political paradigm here.
Here's video of Obama's claim:
Confused? So am I. I honestly have no idea what in the hell Obama is talking about.
It’s either another one of Obama's completely meaningless bloviations or a political analysis conducted on a geometric plane I've never heard of before (perhaps for those times when triangulation just won't do).
Mind you, I'm not saying that Obama didn't put on a fine display of triangulation in the video. In addition to his comments about Republicans being the party of ideas, he said this about earmarks:
We are not blameless. In fairness, the Democrats have reduced the earmarks process..but there is no doubt that it’s still the predominant way in which infrastructure and projects get determined in Washington, and that’s part of the reason why I worked on a bipartisan basis with a Republican, Tom Coburn...we’ve set up what we call Google for Government.
On whether he considers himself a fiscal conservative:
You know, I do, although I think the Republicans would scoff at that. ... We can’t waste money, I don’t care whether it’s wasting it in the Pentagon or we’re wasting it on social programs that have outlived their usefulness.
On partisan gridlock:
The general attitude of whoever’s the minority party is we’re just going to block things from happening. The majority party is typically pushing a highly ideological agenda. Now, I confess, I’m a Democrat, so I don’t think it’s completely even...but we’re not blameless in this.
On his bipartisan appeal:
In 2006...I was the most requested surrogate to come in and campaign for people in districts that were swing districts, Republican districts where they wouldn’t have any other Democrat.
In the interests of fairness to the Senator, I've managed to unearth video of him effusively singing Kennedy's praises (sic) after his commentary on Ronald Reagan.
My finder's reward for that video is the right to highlight these two quotes one more time:
The country was ready for it...with all the excesses of the 60s and 70s, and government had grown and grown.
He [Reagan] tapped into what people were already feeling which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.
Video of Obama on Reagan, including the "lost" JFK tapes:
Okay, I admit it. Ronald Reagan’s presidency was transformational. And Obama did mention JFK.
Score two for the Gipper.
But let's turn back to the issue at hand: Obama's narrative about Ronald Reagan's presidency.
The narrative stars a government grown out of control, and a populace eager to emerge from two decades of social unrest. Against that backdrop, Reagan rose to victory by uniting the country behind his optimism and delivering transformative change.
Bleh. What planet does Obama live on?
His narrative completely excludes stagflation, high gas prices, and the hostage crisis in Iran. Think they might have been factors in the 1980 election?
He also fails to reconcile the fact that Reagan won just 50.7% of the vote in 1980 (his landslide was in 1984) with his theory that there was a unified national mood.
He also fails to explain why, if the nation was so unified, 1980 saw one of the strongest third-party campaigns in 20th century American history.
Moreover, Obama ignores the racism that was fundamental to Ronald Reagan's campaign. Recall that Reagan began his campaign with a call for state's rights in Philadelphia, MS.
One of the reasons that Reagan won is that he was so good on television.
He utterly devastated Carter in the last debate.
Here are his two most famous moments. First, when Reagan said "there you go again" in response to Jimmy Carter's call for a national health care system. Second, when Reagan asked the ultimate "me" question: "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?"
Finally, Obama's narrative leaves out the fact that fear of the USSR dominated the 1980s. Watch this ad from Reagan’s 1984 campaign:
Put aside the issues of whether or not Obama’s words were praise of Ronald Reagan, or whether Reagan’s presidency was transformational.
That’s not the important issue: the important issue is that Barack Obama has a deeply flawed view of history. He's entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.
In the same interview, Obama proffered a second peculiar narrative, this one about the 1960s and 1970s, casting their legacy of cultural division as one of the biggest obstacles we face in getting things done in Washington, DC.
I know -- it doesn't make any sense to me either.
In the Senator's words:
People feel like we're bogged down in the same arguments we have been having and they’re not useful.
I didn’t come of age in the battles of the 60s...so I think I talk differently about issues and I think I talk differently about values, and that’s why I think we’ve been resonating.
Even when you discuss war, the frame of reference is all Vietnam. That’s not my frame of reference, my frame of reference is what works.
Even when I opposed the war in Iraq, my first line was I don’t oppose all wars – specifically to make clear that this is not just a anti-military seventies love-in kind of approach.
Anti-military seventies love-in kind of approach? Sounds cool to me.