In pumping up the base and snaring the last few persuadable voters, Mitt Romney can point to two recent developments that encapsulate his critique of the president.
First, President Obama has now dropped all pretenses and begun touting the upturn in welfare numbers. The spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, highlights the president’s delight in seeing the uptick in welfare dependency:
President Obama has put together a list of 29 accomplishments that includes “social-welfare programs, and economic policies lifted nearly 7 million Americans above the federal poverty line in 2010.” However, while means-tested welfare spending has surged 32% under President Obama (CRS) to never-before-seen highs, the outcome has not been less poverty but more. According to Census Data, at the end of 2008, 39.8 million Americans were living in poverty. At the end of 2011, that number stood at 46.2 million. . . .
--The US now spends one trillion annually on means-tested federal welfare. Converted to cash that’s enough to mail a 60k check to every one of the 17 million households living beneath the federal poverty line.
--Food stamp spending has doubled since the President took office, with more than 1 in 7 Americans now receiving the benefit. Food stamp spending is projected to remain at these permanently elevated levels for the next ten years.
It is, frankly, bizarre that the president would, after the entire welfare- reform snafu, be touting the numbers of welfare recipients. For hard-core liberals, the more benefits government delivers, the better; for average Americans, however, the expansion of the welfare state is hardly a plus.
Then, on the foreign policy front, Obama is beginning to take a beating on his handling and lack of candor on Libya. But evidence abounds that this president does not level with the American people on national security and has politicized national security to an extent we’ve not seen before.
Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin reports: “Obama’s former ambassador to Iraq, who served during the withdrawal of U.S. forces, was in favor of keeping some troops in the Iraq past the 2011 withdrawal date, he told The Cable in an interview today. . . . [Jim] Jeffrey was a key player on both the Washington and Baghdad sides of the 2011 negotiations that were meant to agree on a follow on force to extend the Bush administration’s Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) after it was set to expire last December. Those negotiations ultimately failed.” It wasn’t only Jeffrey who wanted the status of forces deal; it was also the president of the United States. Yes, the very same president who in the last debate accused Romney of wanting to keep troops in Iraq. The fact checkers were right on that one: It was a pants-on-fire moment.
All of this paints a picture of the quintessential far-left politician. He takes pride in an expanded welfare state. He looks at national security as a score-making opportunity, not a serious policy matter that must operate in spite of electoral concerns. Setting an early withdrawal date from Afghanistan, fudging on Iraq, turning a blind eye on al-Qaeda gains in Libya and using devastating defense cuts to try to extract a tax hike from Congress are all part of a pattern. Foreign policy threats take a back seat to the threat of an election loss for the president.
No wonder Obama’s base is peeling off. He’s revealed himself to be a man of the left. The majority of Americans don't share his domestic and foreign policy perspective. Naturally, they are open to giving someone closer to their own views a try.