The Problem Is That Romney Hasn’t Attacked Obama’s “Ideology.” Huh?

He’s defined by liberalism or Marxism, socialism, whatever you want to call it.”

Rush Limbaugh

lthough this may cause you to upchuck your last meal, today Rush Limbaugh said he was “near orgasm” over Charles Krauthammer’s latest column. Okay, I’ll give you time to get that thought out of your mind.

Back? Good. What could Krauthammer say that would so delight Limbaugh? Oh, not much, except that he thinks Romney Hood ought to attack Obama not only on his “stewardship” of the economy, but on his “ideology.” Yep, Krauthammer thinks Obama, who has been called a socialist, Marxist, and communist by Republicans, hasn’t been hammered enough on his alleged radical ideas. If only Romney will “make the case” that Obama is a lefty, he will win back the White’s House. He wrote:

The ideological case…is not just appealing to a center-right country with twice as many conservatives as liberals, it is also explanatory. It underpins the stewardship argument. Obama’s ideology — and the program that followed — explains the failure of these four years.

(Try to ignore that last comment about “failure,” because Krauthammer suffers from “too many years of neurologically hazardous punditry,” a charge he once made against Bill Moyers and Paul Krugman.  Go to The Center for American Progress and listen to Michael Linden explain the success of the stimulus.)

Krauthammer said this is “a center-right country with twice as many conservatives as liberals.” I hear that nonsense a lot. And it almost always comes from folks like Krauthammer, who then go on to explain just how far left Mr. Obama has gone. At the end of his column, Krauthammer wrote:

If Republicans want to win, Obama’s deeply revealing, teleprompter-free you-didn’t-build-that confession of faith needs to be hung around his neck until Election Day. The third consecutive summer-of-recovery-that-never-came is attributable not just to Obama being in over his head but, even more important, to what’s in his head: a government-centered vision of the economy and society, and the policies that flow from it.

Now, it probably never occurred to someone as smart as Charles Krauthammer gets credit for being*, but someone with less brainy talent can easily see that if the country is “center-right,” if truly there are “twice as many conservatives as liberals,” and if Mr. Obama is a wild-eyed leftist in over his head, then there’s  no way that we ought to have seen this headline in today’s Washington Post:

Three polls show Obama widening lead over Romney

The story:

Three polls released in the last 24 hours show President Obama widening his lead over the former Massachusetts governor to as much as nine points. The surveys of registered voters, all conducted sometime between Aug. 2 and 8, also have Romney’s unfavorable ratings headed north. Two of the polls show his support among independents slipping.

The biggest surprise among those three polls perhaps was the Fox “News” poll, which shows Romney Hood trailing the left-wing Marxist by 9 points.

Krauthammer, of course, would attribute that spread to an ignorant public, who, despite four years of incessant ranting from folks like him, doesn’t yet know that the guy they favor is such a radical. It would never occur to him and other conservatives that a possible majority of the voting public simply might not buy into the often deranged attacks on their president.

And speaking of derangement, Krauthammer, who was trained as a psychiatrist, famously and churlishly bragged about discovering a new psychiatric illness among selected liberals in 2003 that he labeled “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” Since self-diagnosis of mental disorders may be problematic for obvious reasons, and given the presidential polling trends, I would suggest that Mr. Krauthammer get to a doctor before November 6.


*Even smart people make dumb mistakes. In the column, Krauthammer noted:

The Congressional Budget Office reports that Obamacare will incur $1.68 trillion of new expenditures in its first decade.

If you follow that link he provided, you will find that the actual estimate from the CBO is 1.168 trillion, which means Krauthammer overstated the number by, oh, a half a trillion!



  1. The Romney campaign’s attack on Obama’s out-of-context “You didn’t build that” statement is a sign of poll-driven desperation, as is their hysteria over the Democratic PAC’s Bain Capital ad (even though it hasn’t even aired on TV). The silly season, powered by Citizens United, is upon us.


    • Jim,

      I actually think Obama should say the same thing again and again because I believe it neatly highlights the philosophical emphasis that each side places on how success happens. And I think more people are sympathetic with the Obama view (“Everyone’s in this together”) than with the Romney-Ryan view (“I did it on my own”). Obama can take useful pointers from Romney, who said in 2002 to Olympic athletes:

      You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power. For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right! [pumps fist]



  2. Jim,

    Several news outlets are reporting that Romney will tab Rep. Ryan as his running mate. If this is true then Romney is going all-in to placate far right reactionaries — what was once known as the Republican party. Should Ryan be the VP nominee, the contrast between Obama and Romney will become a clear choice between an ideologically driven, corporate financed oligarchy and representative government.


    • John,

      I didn’t see your comment to Jim before I wrote my piece on Ryan today, but apparently we are thinking alike on the matter. I believe it was a clear peace offering to conservative freaks like Coulter, Limbaugh, and Erik Erickson, among others, all of which are no doubt now gearing up for an enthusiastic assault on Obama that will involve some very nasty tactics, all brought to us by right-wingers with deep pockets.



  3. ansonburlingame

     /  August 11, 2012

    John McKnight,

    I would suggest that we have not had a truly “representative government” for at least 11 years now, maybe even longer. By representative I mean a form of governance reflecting the will of “all the people” in America with the implementation of policies that do NOT favor one slice over another, by and large.

    Go back to 9/11 and move forward. The LAST time I recall a major policy “move” that garnered the support of an overwhelming number of Ameridcans, about 80% or more of them, was, yep, the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. And “we” screwed up the strategic approach in that invasion and here we are today.

    ALL of our politics has focused on building the bases of each party to enable our government to impose a slim majority rule on everyone else. What has been the result of that poltical effort?

    STALEMATE in governance, by and large. There is no greater example of that point than HC reform and the continuing battle over ACA. Why the ongoing battle in that area? Simple ACA did not even try to stabalize the cost of HC. All it did was pile on more people into an already staggering system, cost wise.

    Duane links above an argument trying to show the “success of the stimulus”. Please take a step back and tell me the original purpose of the $800 Billion plus federal stimulus in 2009 passed without a single GOP vote?

    It was stated by the President to spend that money to prevent unemployment from going over 8%. Well that did not happen. Instead unemployment went to above 10% and we have not been south of 8% for 42 months.

    NOW, IF, the goal of the stimulus was to “keep unemployment from going up to, say 12% and get it back down quickly to 8% or thereabouts, then Dems would be able to claim a victory in prompting the stimulus, in my view. But again that was NOT their stated goal and they failed rather miserably to come even close to their stated goal.

    It is clear at least to me that the goal of keeping control of unemployment by the stimulus fell short, way short. But forget that for a moment. Tell me how the country really IMPROVED as a result of the stimulus and by improved I mean just that with “things” becoming better than they were, pre stimulus and being SUSTAINED at that new level of “better”.

    Is the cost of living for Americans BETTER now than pre stimulus? Is the value of middle class homes or 401Ks any BETTER? Are the quality of jobs and income from such jobs BETTER? Etc. As well are any of those possible “betters” being sustained at that “better” level? Seems to me the answer is a loud NO from most Americans, today.

    So at least the Dem campaign rhetoric is to ignore the NOs coming from a lot, a vast number of Americans and instead focus on “if you think it is bad now, just wait to see how bad it will be if Romney/Paul are elected”!!! And the GOP rhetoric is “if you don’t elect us then today’s “worse” is going to go over a fiscal cliff and things will be a disaster”!!!

    Final example. An underdog football team facing a big point spread takes the field in a Super Bowl. They are expected to lose by say 7 points. Ah, but they only lose by 4 points and thus claim victory!!!

    Professional gamblers might make a lot of money in that game. But MOST Americans only see a loser in a football game. For sure that was reflected in 2010.

    Now we have to wait and see what happens in 2012. In essence, I think that is what Krauthammer was saying and while I don’t put his column at the organsm level, it does make a pretty good case, in my view.



    • Anson,

      I’m pretty sure we’re not on the same “organsm level.” Although I endured organ lessons for a number of years, the results have been spotty: some proficiency with Swedish Lutheran hymns and an occasional Hoagy Carmichael tune. But thanks anyway.


      • John,

        My organ tastes run to Stephen Foster, thanks to my mom, who for many years had an organ in our house with a Foster playbook. And as a tribute to Kentuckian Anson Burlingame’s command of the Inglish tung, I present My Old Kentucky Home, complete with water effects, which is sure to bring an “organsm” to all:


        • RDG,

          I wish I still had the old Hammond B-3. There is nothing like a pair of Leslie speakers to get the jams out. “Organsm” has a Swedish ring to it if spoken quickly with a mouthful of Lingonberry jam.


  4. ansonburlingame

     /  August 12, 2012

    Note the absence of the words, written by Foster long ago. The song was of longing and fond memories of a distant “home”. Included in those fond memories were “darkies”.

    Sing it as written long ago, or read Huck Finn the same way and be called a racist for doing so today.

    Such is today’s world of political correctness.



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