Using wartime accomplishments to castigate the opposition is disgusting and unpresidential (except when your own guy does it).
A year after Osama bin Laden was killed by US Navy Seals during a raid on a private compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, President Obama’s 2012 campaign released this ad:
If it makes you feel uneasy, you’re not alone. It’s boastful, celebratory and awkward. The ad goes on to suggest that a President Romney would not have gone after bin Laden. If Obama’s opponents wanted to criticize him for crassness, that would be fine, as long as they weren’t guilty of the same crime on countless occasions earlier.
The entire Fox news machine has come out swinging. As usual, Jon Stewart calls out their hypocrisy by pointing out that “Republicans are unaware that the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex allows people the ability to store and recall past events”.
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There seems to be a total lack of consistency in political language. To say that the discourse is dominated by ideology would suggest that the parties are defending firm ideologies, which I do not believe is the case. Other than the reflexive calls for fewer taxes and more God, most of what is espoused by the mainstream American right seems more like a dramatic battle with trivial roots. Sure they want lower taxes, but more than anything, both parties want their side to win – politics is increasingly becoming a sport.
Few fans have ideological reasons for supporting a particular team. Instead, they rely on random justifications such as place of birth, or favorite color or animal. This is fine for sporting loyalty, but in the political sphere, it makes for senseless conflict, both figuratively and literally. This is nothing new though – almost 300 years ago Jonathan Swift lampooned this sort of discord in Gulliver’s Travels, in which the nation Lilliput is torn apart by the dispute between Big-Endians and Little-Endians, who fight over which end of the egg to crack.
The platforms of current political factions are so riddled with inconsistencies that I must conclude that they are based on something other than ideology. It’s common to hear that politics has degenerated into a horse race – a 24 hour public relations campaign that never ends. Obama’s ad was a bit much, but the criticisms offered by John McCain, Ed Gillespie and others are no more meaningful than moral critiques of horses.