Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beyond the headlines

As a class, politicians have never been known for maintaining close relationships with truth and integrity. Yet even by the dismal standards of politicians, Barack Obama has managed to sink to a new low ever since the debates and Benghazi began exposing the deep cracks in his foundation.

Ideally, presidential campaigns should be focused, and decided, on candidates’ positions regarding economic policy, national defense, and constitutional fidelity. But with a week to go until the 2012 election, Obama has chosen to avoid those issues and base his campaign on personal attacks against Mitt Romney.

Since his avoidance of the issues is telling enough (it is obvious that he avoids them because he knows he can’t win on them) I say we should resist the temptation to try to make him talk about them anyway. Instead, I say we address Obama’s calumnies and contest him on his own terms, because even then he can’t win. And what could be a better argument against his reelection than that?

Obama has plenty of ads that are underhanded in their portrayal of Romney, but for me, the one which stands out most is the one that plays off of Romney’s “47 percent” comment. The ad begins by referencing the aphorism that your character is revealed by what when you do when nobody’s looking -- then, in dark tones, it accuses Romney of attacking 47 percent of Americans when he thought no one was looking/listening. The message is crystal clear and in your face: Mitt Romney is a bad person who looks down on nearly half of our citizens while dismissing their real life concerns.

That message is false and intended to defame, and therefore it qualifies as slander by any common sense definition. It would be easy to respond to it by pointing out that Obama thought no one was looking/listening when he made his “bitter clingers” comment during the last campaign. But that response, while accurate, would not be sufficient. What must be stressed to the public is how utterly false the ad’s whole premise is -- an end that can be achieved by simply pointing to facts about Romney’s life.

I have long known of the morally driven actions Romney took when the daughter of one of his co-workers disappeared during a visit to New York in 1996. Far from being a business-first, money-first guy, he closed Bain Capital’s headquarters, travelled to New York, flew in all 50 Bain employees, and had everybody set out to find the missing 14-year-old. Romney hired private eyes, worked with the police department, and had his people (not just Bain employees, but also employees of other companies who did business with Bain) distribute 300,000 missing person fliers throughout the city. Bain set up a tip line, and the girl was found after someone called it.

While that incident is a sterling testament to one man’s goodness, it turns out that it is only one of many such testaments in the life of Mitt Romney. Here are some others that were recently highlighted in a column by Deroy Murdock, which he penned after reading an exposition by TheDaily.com’s Mara Gay, Dan Hirschhorn and M.L. Nestel:

After a 12-year-old boy died of cystic fibrosis in the 1980’s, Romney built -- with his own hands, not just his own money -- a playground in the boy’s honor. In subsequent years he again used his own hands, along with help from local Boy Scouts, to maintain that playground, which is known as Joey’s Park.

After learning that a single mom had had her heating oil shut off one cold Massachusetts winter, he and his sons filled their family car with firewood, delivered it to her home, and personally built a fire to keep the mom and her kids warm.

He paid the college tuition of a young woman who had been just five years old when her father, a co-worker of Romney’s, passed away. That woman is now a physician.

After learning that the sons of a new-to-town couple were paralyzed in a car accident, Romney, along with his wife and sons, purchased and hand-delivered Christmas presents to them. He went on to pay for their college and organize several fundraisers for their benefit.

Once, when a neighborhood home caught fire, he organized a random group of neighbors who entered the building to retrieve valuables until firefighters arrived on the scene.

During his time as governor of Massachusetts, while vacationing at Lake Winnipesaukee, he and his sons saw a boat sinking some 900 feet away. They set out on jet skis and rescued the passengers, with Romney himself making three trips transporting people to shore from the spot where the boat went under.

Those are the things Mitt Romney does without wondering if anyone is looking or listening. By contrast, Barack Obama, a millionaire who is arguably the most powerful man on earth, and who constantly lectures others about being their brothers’ keepers, will not spend a dime to assist his very own poverty-stricken brother who lives in a ghetto hut in Kenya.

Against this backdrop of facts, doesn’t it seem wrong that Obama and his media acolytes would have you believe it is Romney who suffers from lack of empathy? If empathy is really what matters most -- as Obama’s own campaign strategy suggests it is -- then the choice is clear: Vote for Mitt Romney come November 6th.

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