In July 1983, then-President Ronald Reagan presented Interior Secretary James G. Watt with a plaster foot with a hole in it for one of Secretary Watt's many embarrassing public gaffes. Given the horrific performance of the Obama campaign and its associated PACs the past few weeks, perhaps the President should resurrect the tradition. Ironically, he should consign the first Shot Foot Award to himself.
While campaigning in Iowa recently, President Obama slammed GOP VP candidate Rep. Paul Ryan for blocking a farm bill designed to help struggling farmers during the present debilitating droughts, then added the following: “So, if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities. It’s time to put politics aside and pass it right away."
The only problem for the President is, the House did pass the farm bill on August 2nd, and Rep. Ryan voted for it. The bill was never passed by the Senate, which blew town before voting on it. In addition, Rep. Ryan does not sit on the House Agricultural Committee and has no power to block any agricultural bill. If anyone is to blame for the bill's failure to make it to the President's desk, it's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In yet another gaffe indicating a stunning lack of self-awareness, while discussing wind power in Iowa President Obama made a subtle reference to Mitt Romney's dog Seamus being strapped to the top of Mr. Romney's car in a carrier. Republicans were quick to bite into the President's backhand on Twitter. AG_Conservative posted, "It's around lunchtime. He (the President) must be hungry." This of course is in reference to President Obama's admission in his autobiography Dreams of my Father that he ate dog meat in Indonesia. Righty bloggers are also bitingback.
The Obama campaign is already reeling from the continuing backlash and revelations emerging regarding the controversial Joe Soptic ad by the Democratic Super-PAC Priorities USA, in which Mr. Soptic essentially accuses Mitt Romney and Bain Capital of murder in the cancer death of his wife. Even worse, the President is finding himself on increasingly shaky ground in such matters, as Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives are only too happy to point out.
And, as usual, the ever-gaffetastic Vice President, Joe Biden, also seems to be doing his best to undermine his own and the President's campaign. As the topper, the infamous granny-over-the-cliff ad is being resurrected for mass distribution in honor of Paul Ryan's selection as Romney's VP candidate, despite the fact the ad's content qualified as PolitiFact's Lie of the Year.
In my thirty-two years of witnessing presidential campaigns, only President Carter's inept bumblings and stumblings in the public arena compare. Perhaps President Obama and VP Joe Biden might survive such incredible gaffes by themselves and their campaigns if unemployment was low and the economy were roaring along as during the Clinton years, but they're not.
These recent gaffes and blundering political attacks by the Obama campaign and its associated PACs (most of which have been debunked as soon as they were made public) are also in sharp contrast to President Obama's 2008 campaign of hope and change. It would seem the central theme of his 2012 campaign is distraction from the President's dismal record on the economy, massive spending, and his consistently unpopular healthcare bill.
In 2008, candidate Barack Obama ran with a positive vision. Perhaps an unrealistic one given the realities of American politics, but one positive enough to sway the electorate his way in grand style. If what we have seen to date in his bare-knuckles Chicago-style 2012 campaign for re-election is any indicator of what's to come, his bid for a second term is in serious jeopardy. Negative campaigning in 2010 didn't help floundering Democrats then, and it won't help them now. Americans want solutions to the many crises we face, and that is what is seriously lacking from Obama's present campaign. Substituting Fear and Hate for Hope and Change isn't cutting it, and is proving both disastrous and self-defeating to the President's cause in the extreme.