Ronald Reagan liked to say, “It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.” There is no better phrase than that to describe President Obama, hermetically sealed in leftist bubble to a greater extent than any Democratic president in history. He doesn’t imagine that there are facts or interpretations that lead his opponents to opposite conclusions. He therefore assumes they are dimwits or liars. Contrast that to Bill Clinton, who understood Republicans all too well and could cajole, deal and compromise, knowing what they wanted and how he could strike a deal.
We saw Obama’s insularity in his interview with the Associated Press when he boasted that it couldn’t be a “choice” election because Romney-Ryan have offered no ideas to help the middle class: “If they saw Governor Romney offering serious proposals that offered some sort of concrete ways in which middle-class families would be helped, then I could understand them thinking about that choice. But that’s not what’s happening.” Hmm. Does he really not know the Romney-Ryan tax cut of 20 percent across the board is for the middle class as well? Does he not think that expanding trade and domestic energy development is for the middle class? Maybe he does, and he is lying, but it’s just as likely no one has told him in any detail what the Republicans are proposing or how those are linked to job growth and wealth accumulation.
Later Obama regurgitates the long-since debunked Tax Policy Center study: “Governor Romney’s approach is to cut taxes $5 trillion, but because so much of the benefit goes to wealthy individuals, independent analysts say that’s going to cost middle-class families an extra $2,000 in tax burden.” Does he know it’s fatally flawed or has no one bothered to explain why it’s not valid?
And then again Obama proclaims, “The challenge he may end up having is the fact that some of the core arguments he’s making against me just aren’t based on facts.” This should be a bright, blinking light for Democrats. The president has apparently been soaking up phony talking points, like the long-since discounted claim that Mitt Romney’s Medicare plan would cost seniors $6,400. But again, perhaps the president has never been presented with inconvenient facts. For example his defense to his welfare amendment appears to be based on the notion that a a Republican governor asked for it. Even if he did, so what? The door is now opened to soften the work requirement. His aides should start reading Mickey Kaus and Obama’s hometown newspaper. (Does Obama know that the 20 percent improvement in welfare rules is not a limitation on waiver requests, but nothing more than a prospective promise? Shhh. Don’t tell him.)
This does remind me a bit of the health-care summit when Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) dismantled Obamacare’s accounting trickery; the president had no response, and maybe had never had Ryan’s arguments explained to him.
The right has traditionally had this sort of advantage over the left. (This is why a number of the best, smartest conservative figures hailed from liberal universities.) In the academy and media, conservatives are a minority. They must learn not only their own arguments but the other sides’s and what’s wrong with them. Liberals, secure in their elite bubble, need not bother themselves with conservative view or the facts they propound.
Understand there is not an Obama policy or position that Romney and Ryan haven’t studied, analyzed, deconstructed and researched. Ryan has been doing this for years on the House budget committee. Comprehending what the other guy thinks, why he thinks it and where the flaws are is essential in a debate. The Romney-Ryan team should be overjoyed to hear that Obama hasn’t gone through this process and is operating in the left’s echo chamber. Or then again, maybe Obama understands that the sorts of things he said in the AP interview are bunk; he just imagines that the electorate doesn’t know any better.