New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recently wrote about the battles between Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and the tensions between moderate and conservative Republicans. She says that the party’s “id” or “dark forces” are overwhelming the party’s “ego”—its “common sense and reason.”
Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn warns that, “Unless the various constituencies cease their schoolyard sniping, these charges will come back to haunt whoever emerges as the GOP's presidential candidate.”
But what about President Obama’s id, sniping and ego? The president’s id and sniping drive him totally around the bend. For example, he claims -- without support -- that the Republicans’ plan “is let’s have dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance.”
Yet, for all of Obama’s vilification of Republicans, his ego is so inflated that he dares to portray himself as a unifying blend of common sense and reasonable Republicanism along with a Democrat’s dedication to fairness and equality.
Thus, in October, Obama claimed kinship with Ronald Reagan on closing tax loopholes for the rich: “…26 years ago, another president said that some of these tax loopholes, and I quote, ‘made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. It’s time we stopped it.’ That was 26 years ago. You know the name of that President? Ronald Reagan.”
Conservatives knew Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a friend of theirs. And Barack Obama, you are no Ronald Reagan.
But Obama’s egotistical audacity is such that he will continue to paint himself in conservative and liberal hues.
Obama did this in a December speech in Kansas: “I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules. Those aren’t Democratic or Republican values; 1% values or 99% values. They’re American values, and we have to reclaim them.”
In that speech, Obama linked himself to Republican president Theodore Roosevelt: “He believed then what we know is true today: that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history. But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you want from whoever you can. It only works when there are rules of the road to ensure that competition is fair, open, and honest.”
Does Obama plausibly represent the Republicanism of Teddy Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan? Obama’s record shows he speaks loudly but carries a cracked stick.
Obama’s health care reform only passed with outright vote bribery made behind closed—not open—doors. Remember the “Louisiana Purchase” and the “Cornhusker Kickback”? And ObamaCare’s “individual mandate” requiring almost all citizens to buy government-controlled health care by 2014 or face financial penalties is so anti-competitive, unfair and antithetical to a free health care market that 26 states are challenging it and the Supreme Court will decide if the whole law, with its 450 sections, is unconstitutional.
The same bogus attachment to Republican values is in Obama’s other vainglorious legislative “achievement”—the Dodd-Frank regulation overhaul law for financial institutions. According to The Economist magazine, Dodd-Frank’s 848 pages of “rules of the road” are “confused and bloated.”
The Economist catalogs the bureaucratic overreach of Dodd-Frank and writes that, “…one banker immersed in the issue speaks for many when he predicts a decade of grind, with constant disputes in courts and legislatures, finally producing a regime riddled with exceptions and nuances that may, because of its complexity, exacerbate systemic risks rather than mitigate them.”
None of this will deter Obama from combining his id, sniping and ego as he falsely “talks Republican and walks Democratic” in his campaigning and—later—in debates with the Republican nominee.
In 2004, before he addressed the Democratic National Convention, a cocky Obama told David Mendell of The Chicago Tribune, “I'm LeBron, baby. I can play on this level. I got some game."
Whether it’s comparing himself to Republican superstar presidents or a basketball superstar like LeBron James, President Obama’s id, sniping and ego constitute a game for him.
If the Republican nominee isn’t skilled enough to expose Obama’s fouls and outscore the president, Obama’s game will dominate for another four years—and the aftereffects will keep dribbling and rebounding for years to come.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.