Well, Clint started it and now Bill Kristol is using his otherwise constructive criticism of Romney to salvage Romney's campaign - the Invisible Obama "mouthing off" from an empty chair!
It's bad enough that Mitt Romney showed his true colors in that off-guard fundraiser for the pretentious and self-satisfied of Boca Raton FLA, but do even his critics on the Right have to show their tone-deaf callousness by pretending that Romney's remarks are the equivalent of those that candidate Obama made about people "clinging to their guns" four years ago?
I get that Bill Kristol is trying to call Romney on his political ineptitude on disdainfully writing off the "unwashed" almost fifty percent of the nation, but for him to take President Obama's quotes out context in order to construct some kind of false equivalency out of this, is intellectually dishonest, and politically desperate.
Krystol to his credit, hits the nail on the head when he describes the extent of Romney's factually challenged lack of awareness:
It's worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47 percent who don't pay income taxes are Romney supporters—especially of course seniors (who might well "believe they are entitled to heath care," a position Romney agrees with), as well as many lower-income Americans (including men and women serving in the military) who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they're not getting a tax cut under the Romney plan. So Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him.But then, to deliberately take President Obama's past remarks out of context, in a Procrustean attempt to make the facts fit his political point of view is wrong.
When then candidate Obama misspoke about the culture of Pennsylvanians whom he knew would be hard pressed to receive his message, he was trying to say that despite that, trying to reach them could still yield some results. But that part of his speech seems to have been deliberately avoided by Kristol when he quotes Obama:
So we have in 2012 two presidential candidates who—when they thought they were speaking privately to their fellow 1 percenters—have shown contempt for fellow Americans.So far so good Bill. But to then jump to the conclusion that Obama arrogantly "did a Romney," and had "contempt" for those people, and thus maybe vice versa Romney "did an Obama," well, someone's cheating at poker! Here's the conclusion Krystol hastily jumps to:
Here's Barack Obama, on April 6, 2008, in San Francisco:
'You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
It's worth recalling that Obama was speaking about Democrats who were voting in the primary for Hillary Clinton. So Obama seems to have contempt not just for the Republicans who oppose him, but for millions of Americans who ended up voting for him in November 2008.So Obama has also written off his own "47 percent," a la Romney, right Bill? Feel better about Mitt's faux pas? Well, not quite so! Here according to SF Gate, are Obama's words on that fateful day in full context, before Krystol made his chop:
But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress, uh, when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives.And that last part that you - "show up and you're doing what you're doing.," was the whole point of candidate Obama was trying to say, yet somehow, Kristol's wish fulfillment daydreamers missed it!
You go into some of these small towns in, in, Pennsylvania, a lot, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced ‘em. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate, and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to their guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or … uh, anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you’ll find is, is that people of every background, um, there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you’ll find Obama enthusiasts. Uh, and you can go into places where you think that I’d be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you’re doing what you’re doing.
Well Bill like the good Reverend Al says: "Nice try, but we gotcha!"
A copy of this post will be emailed by the author as a Letter To The Editor of his local paper, The Syracuse Post Standard, Syracuse, NY.