Politics is a messy, convoluted affair, and understanding its many debates and controversies usually requires steady news consumption, a working knowledge of dueling philosophies, and familiarity with a daunting array of statistics, laws, background, and mechanics that just don’t lend themselves to 5-second sound bites and 30-second TV spots.
But often, the offensiveness, idiocy, and hypocrisy of politicians’ words speak for themselves, and homework isn’t necessary for the average American to see how wrong they really are. The Obama Administration has many, many such quotes just waiting to scare voters into the waiting arms of Mitt Romney…if only Team Romney would have the good sense to use them.
If I were running Mitt’s campaign, one of the many things I’d do differently would be to take the below quotes (many of which come from John Hawkins’ excellent list), develop TV ads based around some of them, and list the rest in full-page newspaper ads, with one simple message:
“They don’t respect your values, your freedoms, your judgment, your lifestyles, your struggles, or your country. It’s time for leaders who do. Romney-Ryan 2012.”
“Driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.” – Barack Obama
“The way I think about it is this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft, and we didn’t have that same competitive edge we needed over the last couple of decades.” – Barack Obama
“We’ve lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam and unleashed all the potential in this country.” – Barack Obama
“I don’t believe it is possible to transcend race in this country.” – Barack Obama
“White folks’ greed runs a world in need.” – Barack Obama, quoting sentiments candidate Obama claimed to have never heard Rev. Jeremiah Wright express
“After my election I have more flexibility.” – Barack Obama, to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them […] And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” – Barack Obama
“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times…and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.” – Barack Obama
“Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” – Barack Obama
“Whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower.” – Barack Obama
“ I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process.” – Barack Obama
“Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.” – Barack Obama, to a woman whose mother was initially denied a pacemaker
“I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something: there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” – Barack Obama
“I do think that at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” – Barack Obama
“I actually believe in redistribution.” – Barack Obama
“We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.” – Barack Obama
“Answering that question [when babies get human rights] with specificity is above my pay grade.” – Barack Obama
“I’ve got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” – Barack Obama
“In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” – Barack Obama
“‘You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you.” – Joe Biden
“You share a similar concern here in China. You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand – I’m not second-guessing – of one child per family [through forced sterilization and abortion].” – Joe Biden
“Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy.” – Joe Biden
“In things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.” – Attorney General Eric Holder
“Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe.” – Energy Secretary Stephen Chu
“We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.” – Energy Secretary Stephen Chu
“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act.” – Energy Secretary Stephen Chu
“It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society.” – Science Czar John Holdren
“Sounds like a dumb law…but I think that the question of whether it’s a dumb law is different from the question of whether it’s constitutional, and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they’re senseless.” – Justice Elena Kagan, on whether Congress has the power to force people to eat vegetables
America is “just downright mean.” – Michelle Obama
“For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country.” – Michelle Obama
“Sometimes it’s easier to hold on to your stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your own ignorance. That’s America.” – Michelle Obama
“What I notice about men, all men, is that their order is me, my family, God is in there somewhere, but me is first.” – Michelle Obama
There probably never has existed a genuine belief in freedom, and there has certainly been no successful attempt to operate a free society, without a genuine reverence for grown institutions, for customs and habits and “all those securities of liberty which arise from regulation of long prescription and ancient ways.” Paradoxical as it may appear, it is probably true that a successful free society will always in large measure be a tradition-bound society.
F.A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty
And our literature! – Oh, when will it breathe the spirit of our republican institutions? When will it be embued with the God-like aspiration of intellectual freedom – the elevating principle of equality? When will it assert its national independence, and speak the soul – the heart of the American people? Why cannot our literati comprehend the matchless sublimity of our position amongst the nations of the world – our high destiny – and cease bending the knee to foreign idolatry, false tastes, false doctrines, false principles? When will they be inspired by the magnificent scenery of our own world, imbibe the fresh enthusiasm of a new heaven and a new earth, and soar upon the expanded wings of truth and liberty? Is not nature as original – her truths as captivating – her aspects as various, as lovely, as grand – her Promethean fire as glowing in this, our Western hemisphere, as in that of the East? And above all, is not our private life as morally beautiful and good – is not our public life as politically right, as indicative of the brightest prospects of humanity, and therefore as inspiring of the highest conceptions? Why, then, do our authors aim at no higher degree of merit, than a successful imitation of English writers of celebrity?
John L. O’Sullivan, November 1839
What concerns all, should be considered by all; and individuals may injure a whole society, by not declaring their sentiments. It is therefore not only their right, but their duty, to declare them. Weak advocates of a good cause or artful advocates of a bad one, may endeavour to stop such communications, or to discredit them by clamour and calumny. This, however, is not the age for such tricks of controversy. Men have suffered so severely by being deceived upon subjects of the highest import, those of religion and freedom, that truth becomes infinitely valuable to them, not as a matter of curious speculation, but of beneficial practice. A spirit of inquiry is excited, information diffused, judgment strengthened.
Before this tribunal of the people, let every one freely speak, what he really thinks, but with so sincere a reverence for the cause he ventures to discuss, as to use the utmost caution, lest he should lead any into errors, upon a point of such sacred concern as the public happiness.
– John Dickinson, 1788
“Iran had free elections, even though some candidates were not allowed to run.”
-The former Canadian ambassador to Iran, on Hannity & Colmes tonight.