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This Presidential election is about character too

Thinking it Through

In every presidential election, issues of domestic and foreign policy dominate speeches, debates and discussions. Typically, Americans give candidates the benefit of the doubt as far as character issues are concerned, for hopefuls have been “vetted” among politicians and voters in the nominating phase. Even where character defects are real, at least those possessing them usually restrain themselves and act their best in public.

This year’s campaign is an exception. Not only is the contrast stark between Republican and Democratic nominees but the latter has exhibited even juvenile behavior in his pathetic attempt to hold on to power for four more years.

Paul Ryan speaks truly when he identifies Mitt Romney as a good man. Romney’s virtue consists in a life of good deeds, from missionary work and helping the poor and needy in his church, to saving failing companies from bankruptcy (80 percent success rate) and rescuing the 2002 Winter Olympics from disaster, to turning around the finances of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Contrast that record with that of Barack Obama, who invents stories and conflates characters in his “autobiographies,” falsely claims Kenyan citizenship in college to gain credibility with far-left organizations, associates with anti-Vietnam war terrorists and an anti-American “clergyman,” stirs up poor people against their fellow citizens, fails to cast a vote on most legislation as a state senator, rarely attends sessions of the U.S. Senate, makes extravagant promises of “hope” and “change,” and fails to fulfill numerous campaign promises.

The even darker side of Obama’s failures to keep his promises is his habitual lying to conceal his intentions, engaging in character assassination of his critics, and most recently, making sarcastic, belittling comments in presidential debates.

All this comes together in the Obama campaign’s systematic misrepresentation of Mitt Romney. Voters that have seen the Democrat Party’s and its Super Pac’s television advertisements were told that Romney was responsible for a woman’s death from cancer, that he was not paying his fair share of income taxes as supposedly proven by his reluctance to release his tax returns or by making investments overseas (as the President also has), and raising the possibility that the Governor is actually a felon.

Notably, class, gender and racial incitement are staples of a president who evidently will do anything to be re-elected.

Long before the current campaign ads, Obama’s previous ads showed someone looking like Paul Ryan pushing an elderly lady in a wheel chair off a cliff, and charged that Republicans favored dirty air and water and cutting autistic children and those with Downs’ Syndrome off of public assistance.

All this blew up in the Obama campaign’s face when the real Romney and Ryan showed in the debates. Instead of monsters, the GOP nominees turned out to be reasonable and decent men! What a problem!

In order to perpetuate the Democrats’ lies about Romney and Ryan, Obama and his minions have said in effect since the debates, like the old Groucho Marx joke about the man caught in flagrante with another man’s wife, “Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?”
Of course, the current reason that the president lies about and smears his opponent is that his record in office is indefensible. Our commerce has slowed to a crawl, high unemployment has persisted, gas and food prices continue to climb along with the national debt, business is burdened with oppressive regulations, and more and more Americans become dependent on government largesse (food stamps, welfare, disability, unemployment compensation).

Overseas, the Obama Administration has failed to convince our enemies of his good intentions, as Middle Eastern terrorists, still waging jihad, kill and terrorize our embassy and military personnel, Russia and China defy us at every opportunity, and our friends in Europe and Israel despair of American support.

In short, these past four years have been a continuous presidential disaster caused by deception and malice at home and folly and naiveté abroad. And we now know, and this is the decisive proof of Obama’s unfitness for office, that this Administration lied to us about the terrorist attack in Benghazi and failed miserably to provide for the safety of Americans serving their country.

Administration fairy stories about crude anti-Islamic videos causing riots and its cold insensitivity to victims of terrorism, whose fates were minimized as “not optimal,” are the defining characteristics of an administration and a president altogether lacking in the wisdom and virtue that Americans have a right to expect from their chief executive.

ABOUT THE WRITER
Richard Reeb taught political science, philosophy and journalism at Barstow College from 1970 to 2003. He is the author of “ Taking Journalism Seriously: ‘Objectivity’ as a Partisan Cause”  (University Press of America, 1999). He can be contacted at rhreeb@verizon.net.


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