Saturday bonus!….


I found this piece from the WSJ simply too good to pass up!….



The Postmodern President

The challenge is finding anything his campaign says that is true.

President Obama spent his formative years in academia, so he’s no doubt familiar with postmodernism, the literary theory that rejects objective reality and insists instead that everything is a matter of interpretation and relative “truth.” At any rate he’s running the first postmodern Presidential campaign, now organized almost exclusively around allegations about his opponent that bear no relation to the observable universe.

he most important document of this new approach to politics may be this week’s now famous TV commercial in which a man on camera accuses Mitt Romney of killing his wife. (The man’s late wife, not Ann.) The spot features a Missouri steelworker called Joe Soptic, who recounts how Bain Capital bought his plant and eventually closed it, costing him his job and health benefits. “A short time after that,” he says, Ilyona Soptic was diagnosed with cancer. “I don’t know how long she was sick and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew we couldn’t afford the insurance.”

He continues: “There was nothing they could do for her. And she passed away in 22 days. I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he’s done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned.”

It’s a sad tale, affectingly told. The production values are also excellent, courtesy of Priorities USA Action, Mr. Obama’s super PAC that ostensibly doesn’t coordinate with his campaign. But its notions about cause and effect are, well, novel.

Bain bought the struggling company GST Steel in 1993 and held the investment in a turnaround bid throughout Mr. Romney’s tenure as CEO, which ended in 1999. He had been gone from Bain for two years when the mill went bankrupt, in 2001, amid a larger competitive upheaval that reshaped the U.S. steel industry. Mr. Soptic’s wife died five years later, in 2006.

Mr. Soptic also revealed to CNN that when he worked at GST, his wife had her own health insurance policy through a thrift store job, which she lost after an injury in 2002 or 2003. By then he’d been hired somewhere else, but that plan didn’t cover spouses.

So Mr. Romney is to blame because of decisions he didn’t make at a business he didn’t run that may or may not have set in train a series of random unconnected events many years apart that included Ilyona Soptic’s illness. Even more culpable is the butterfly in Peking that flapped its wings and forever altered the course of history.

At least the Obamateers didn’t suggest that Mr. Romney was the direct biological cause of her cancer. Perhaps they are saving that charge for October, given that a routine Democratic theme is that Republicans are in favor of killing people. After all, the most substantive liberal critique of Paul Ryan’s budget is an ad depicting his stand-in literally flinging an old lady in a wheelchair off a cliff.

The other day Nancy Pelosi said the GOP believes there should be “no government role” in food safety and “They do not want to spend money to do that.” Therefore the Republican Party is “the E. coli club” that Ms. Pelosi implied wants to poison children.

Riffing as only the postmodernists can, the House Minority Leader sat for a separate session with the Huffington Post to declare that “Harry Reid made a statement that is true. Somebody told him. It is a fact.” What she means by “fact” is that the Senate Majority Leader asserts with zero proof that Mr. Romney got away with paying no taxes for a decade, which is “true” because he says an anonymous investor called to say so. If the food inspectors ever went by Reid-Pelosi evidentiary standards, we’d all be dead.

The same pattern tessellates across the entire Obama campaign, from former White House counsel Bob Bauer’s insinuation in July that Mr. Romney is a “felon,” to the Tax Policy Center’s white paper that makes up tax details that Mr. Romney has explicitly disowned, to hanging economic claims on the preposterous analysis of a columnist no one has ever heard of, to the President’s serial genuflections about Mr. Romney’s “sincere beliefs” that neither he nor any other normal person actually hold.

Mr. Obama likes to claim everything he does is unprecedented, and in this case that happens to be true—true in the old-fashioned, not postmodern, sense.

Our point isn’t that politics is often brutal and unfair. That’s always been so. And it isn’t that Mr. Obama promised to elevate the national conversation for an era of partisan comity. Dumping that 2008 pose was inevitable.

The point is that more than any President we can recall, Mr. Obama isn’t trying to persuade voters that he deserves to stay in office because of his philosophy, record or positive vision for the country. Rather, his case is that he deserves re-election because Mr. Romney is worse, and he is so very much worse because of things that were invented in the West Wing but are detached from reality.

The entire theory of the Obama campaign seems to be that the more outrageous the claim the better, because the more you repeat it the more the media will talk about it, and the lie will achieve a kind legendary truth.

A postmodern postscript: The Obama campaign was at first more than happy to slipstream behind the Priorities USA smear, refusing to disavow the cancer ad and deflecting questions by claiming not to “know the specifics” (Robert Gibbs) or “know the facts” (deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter). But even their professions of ignorance turn out to be false.

In May, Mr. Soptic appeared in an official Obama for America ad—”I’m Barack Obama, and I approve this message,” it concluded. Mr. Soptic told reporters his life story on a conference call, hosted by the Obama campaign and . . . Ms. Cutter.

 A version of this article appeared August 10, 2012, on page A10 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The Postmodern President.



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