When Hope and Change became Spite and Revenge

posted at 12:31 pm on November 6, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Four years ago, this nation elected a candidate with no executive, military, or diplomatic experience — and only a half-term in the US Senate — as President of the United States.  Barack Obama ran as the candidate of “Hope and Change,” promising a new path to take us past bitter partisanship and a fresh approach to our issues.  Four years later, Obama has been reduced to asking for “revenge” votes, which I argue in my column today at The Week is no mere gaffe.  In fact, it’s an almost perfect encapsulation of Obama’s brand of populism, and practically his entire platform since September of last year:

Stung by the outcome of the deal and the largely accurate perception that he’d fumbled the negotiations, Obama responded by demanding tax hikes on the wealthy as part of any new deal. Nevermind that his threshold of $250,000 annual income would include small-business owners. Nevermind that the revenue of such a tax — around $80 billion per year — would hardly put a dent in Obama’s trillion-dollar deficits. Obama’s rhetoric soon focused on the 1 percent, and income inequality became Obama’s principal focus while most Americans worried about jobs.

Romney’s nomination gave Obama the perfect opportunity to vent his populist spleen. Here was almost the personification of income inequality and privilege — the epitome of all Obama had demonized during the previous several months. Accordingly, the Obama campaign quickly went negative against Romney, running more than $100 million in ads that focused mostly on Romney’s wealth, his business decisions at Bain Capital, and his reluctance to disclose the 20 years of tax returns that Team Obama wanted. Deputy communications director Stephanie Cutter even alleged that Romney might be hiding a felony, a charge that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid repeated numerous times — with zero proof. Romney’s remarks about the 47 percent gave this strategy one last big boost in the final weeks of the campaign.

Even on a personal level, the hostility seemed palpable. During the first debate, Obama looked and sounded put off by having to even address Romney’s criticisms on stage, and offered the same attack lines as his summer campaign. In the next two debates, Obama glared and glowered at Romney, and spoke to him with scorn dripping from every word. Only after the last debate did Obama finally get around to releasing anything resembling an argument for a second term as president, offering voters a 20-page pamphlet that consisted almost entirely of recycled pledges from the 2008 campaign. Perhaps Obama was caught by surprise that the majority of voters didn’t view Romney with the same level of disdain, and that Obama needed to make an argument for their vote.

For Obama, this entire campaign has felt like revenge against Romney, and against the kind of people Obama thinks Romney represents.  Obama could have spent the last several months talking about his own record and his plans to change direction from our current economic stagnation that has kept the level of employment in the population at or near 30-year lows. Instead, Obama approached this election as a personal mission of revenge, and left the door open for Romney to present the only vision of change for the future in this campaign. Romney defined his campaign as an expression of love rather than revenge. So what Obama said on Friday was no gaffe. It’s just the obvious takeaway from a relentlessly empty and negative campaign.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed this, either.  Marc Thiessen pointed it out at the Washington Post yesterday:

But Obama never offered the American people any change. Instead, he set out to destroy Romney. He launched a relentlessly negative campaign, focused entirely tearing Romney down and making him an unacceptable alterative. Obama spent $100 million on negative ads. He attacked Romney as a heartless corporate raider, vulture capitalist and possible felon, a man who cheated on his taxes, killed a woman with cancer, wanted to destroy the auto industry, and sent American jobs to China. The president’s message was: You may not like me, but you are going to hate him.

At first this scorched-earth strategy appeared to be working, as Romney’s negatives rose and he trailed in the polls. Then, 67 million people tuned into the first presidential debate last month and saw Mitt Romney in person for the first time — strong, respectful, reasonable and presidential. In 90 minutes, the impact of $100 million of ads began to evaporate. The Obama strategy collapsed, and the Romney surge began.

Obama tried to regain the momentum by attacking Romney in the subsequent debates — but it only made the president seem small. Millions of heads nodded when Romney turned to Obama in the final debate and said, “Mr. President, attacking me is not a strategy.”

Obama belatedly saw his mistake. In the closing weeks, his campaign put out ahastily prepared booklet that purported to lay out a second-term agenda, but it was little more than repackaged talking points from his first term. Then, last week, his campaign promised to end on a positive note and “tilt toward the affirmative, toward the future,” in the words of Obama adviser David Axelrod. It never happened. Instead, Obama just continued to attack Romney. At an Ohio rally this weekend, Obama hit Romney for “ruling out compromise,” “massaging the facts,” “pledging to rubber-stamp the tea party agenda in Congress” — and he told his followers that “voting is the best revenge.”

Glenn Reynolds writes today that Obama’s lack of depth and track record of failure left him with no other argument — and that’s reason enough for him to go:

In domestic politics, Obama hasn’t exactly covered himself with glory. He chose, mistakenly, to focus on health care instead of economic recovery, and we wound up with a bill packed with giveaways for special interests and still highly unpopular with the American people, rammed through using legislative technicalities. Even DemocratDouglas Wilder of Virginia, the first black elected governor since Reconstruction, is criticizing Obama.

Steve Contoro writes in The Washington Examiner, “Wilder, an emphatic Obama supporter in 2008, said his fellow Democrat should have focused more on creating jobs during his first term and faulted the president for failing to keep his campaign promise to bridge the partisan gap in Washington.”

“I think he’s governed left of center and didn’t focus on jobs and economic recovery,” Wilder told The Washington Examiner.

That’s right. And his arrogance (“I won”) and inflexibility have ensured that not much would get done. Obama hasn’t even passed a budget and didn’t even get any Democratic votes in the Senate) though we’ve somehow managed to run trillion dollar deficits every year anyway.Put it all together, and you’ve got the portrait of a failed presidency. It is time for him to go.

This shouldn’t be surprising. When elected, Obama was inexperienced: Most of his career in government was in the Illinois State Senate, with only a couple of years experience in the U.S. Senate, most of which he spent running for president. He had no private-sector experience, no executive experience (beyond the Harvard Law Review) and little knowledge of the United States beyond the major metropolitan areas of New York, Boston and Chicago. It would have been a miracle if he had turned out to be competent.

The front page picture also comes via Instapundit from Cagle Cartoons, and seems very apropos for today.

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Hit the road Barack. And don’t cha come back no more, no more, no more.

Flange on November 6, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Sarah Be thy Name… quiet, but not forgotten..

Hammers the Fraud in Chief very nicely today.

.

‘Cuda Time !

FlaMurph on November 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Four years ago, this nation elected a candidate with no executive, military, or diplomatic experience

This is not really the problem.

The problem is that he’s a Marxist.

Marxism failed. Repeat.

faraway on November 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

On Day One.

they lie on November 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

That’s why there is no enthusiasm for his re-election. Turnout in Dem precincts will be low and the independents will run from him.

Tater Salad on November 6, 2012 at 12:36 PM

The Moment

Seven Percent Solution on November 6, 2012 at 12:36 PM

The biggest grift ever pulled on the American public. He parlayed a couple of months in the US Senate into a comfy retirement in a multi-million dollar Hawaiian Estate.

Pelosi delende est on November 6, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Forward, but not Barackward.

Steve Z on November 6, 2012 at 12:37 PM

When do we start getting return info, or exit poll info?

SWalker on November 6, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Landslide.

Fish on November 6, 2012 at 12:39 PM

But Obama never offered the American people any change. Instead, he set out to destroy Romney.

Actually, from 1/20/09 on, he set out to destroy and dismantle the America he always despised. Barack Obama hates America, has nothing but contempt for its people and will continue to compromise our national security and wipe out the economy and the private sector if he is reelected.

He must, must, must be defeated.

Right Mover on November 6, 2012 at 12:39 PM

…what a big mistake!
…that people would vote for him again is the frightening thing.

KOOLAID2 on November 6, 2012 at 12:39 PM

When do we start getting return info, or exit poll info?

SWalker on November 6, 2012 at 12:38 PM

here

faraway on November 6, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Ot, but expect lots of new readers – Rush currently touting Ed’s story on Gannett.

questionmark on November 6, 2012 at 12:40 PM

I said it before, I will say it again, hopefully for the last time.

Barack Hussain Obama is a Chicago Democrat Machine Politician, which is a political system that operates less on what it has to offer the people and more on making the other candidate look as bad as humanly possible.

This has been the way the Machine has run in Illinois for years, which is why Illinois is in such a political mess that it is.

This is why I would not trust ANY candidate from Illinois, because of the political corruption that has run rampant in the state due mainly to The Machine.

pilamaye on November 6, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Let us just hope that a landslide majority votes for love of our Republic for R&R and not for the spite and revenge bho?
L

letget on November 6, 2012 at 12:41 PM

President Barack Hussein Obama once said, on 6/28/2006:

Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus which suggests slavery is okay? Or we can go with Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount? A passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application. Folks haven’t been reading the bible.

Proverbs 16:18 -
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

It is going to be a great day.

kingsjester on November 6, 2012 at 12:42 PM

When Hope and Change became Spite and Revenge

jan 20 2009

cmsinaz on November 6, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Small is as small does

NOMOBO on November 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Nixonian.

FlaMurph on November 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM

More please……

Adrian Gray ‏@adrian_gray
OHIO: In counties Obama won by 55%+ in 2008, early vote is down 3.6%. In McCain 55%+ counties, early votes up 23.9%.

Northwoods on November 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM

America made a mistake four years ago. We are going to correct that today. It will take years to overcome what that mistake has cost us.

d1carter on November 6, 2012 at 12:44 PM

..on one of your inter-toobe shows, Ed, you said that you would be glad when this election is over so you can return to writing “about policy”. Your post here (and column on The Week) is evident that you will absolutely relish the paradigm change.

Should Obama lose, one of the absolutely delicious outfalls of the loss will be the post-mortems on these past four years.

And the less these past-game shows engage in ANY uplifting preamble blather the better. You know, the nauseating stuff like “he ascended the stage in Chicago on that November 2008 night and his nascent presidency was redolent with fresh promise and hope and joy..”

*vomit*

The guy was, is, and always will be a festering Crapsack® of hate, divisiveness, and narcissism. He was, is, and always will be a Chicago thug running a gang co Chicago thugs. If he is booted today, he will assume the mantle of “Worst POTUS in Modern History” eclipsing Carter by a country mile.

And, in the years ahead, he will use his inestimable talents and personality to eclipse Carter in another category: “The Bitterest and Most Meddlesome Ex-POTUS in Modern History”.

The War Planner on November 6, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Clint Eastwood said it best: “BHO is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people”. Well, the PEOPLE see it now. TOAST. Pass the butter….

HomeoftheBrave on November 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Northwoods on November 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM

stay calm…
-cutter

:)

cmsinaz on November 6, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Northwoods on November 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM

just the count, correct?

cmsinaz on November 6, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Socialism has never worked, and will never work. Socialists (and Communists, and Marxists) want to govern on good intentions, and this never takes into account man’s basic nature. Socialism will eventually end up on the trash heap of history. Today will help facilitate that.

Coolidge_Conservative on November 6, 2012 at 12:47 PM

It is not a second term of Barack Obama that people should worry about. Obama is simply the bozo used to read the teleprompter and spread the scripted message.

It is the second term of Valerie Jarrett….the de facto President, that Americans should greatly fear. Valerie Jarrett will be out for revenge against those who did not side with her. And, she will have the long swords out for any Republicans in her way.

If Obama is re-elected, I see a dictator who will govern via executive order. He has nothing to lose, and will circumvent any checks and balances.

Sparky5253 on November 6, 2012 at 12:48 PM

The goal was never to offer change — it was simply to promote Obama’s historic significance as an end to itself, and anoint him as some sort of higher form of human life due to that historical significance that voters could read anything they wanted into.

Obama was supposed to govern from the left by fiat due to his Absolute Moral Authority, and anyone opposed to his AMA would be destroyed and/or written out of the political conversation by Democrats and their supporters in the big media. And if Romney wins today, you can expect the Democrats in 2016 to use the same playbook, only with the first female/Latino (Asian/LGBT/Whatever) candidate being given the same AMA/higher life form treatment that Obama received, in order to try and revive the idea of Hope & Change and try the same tactics again (though the next time around, they’ll try to run a candidate not as afraid of leading as Obama, who thought the game plan was always going to be others did the heavy lifting and then gave him credit for the results).

jon1979 on November 6, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Clint Eastwood said it best: “BHO is the greatest fraud HOAX ever perpetrated on the American people”. Well, the PEOPLE see it now. TOAST. Pass the butter….

HomeoftheBrave on November 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM

For the record FIFY –

Clint said Hoax…..but you’ right he really meant FRAUD !

FlaMurph on November 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Glenn Beck had a caller on his show today. The guy said he took his six yo boy with him(I believe that was the age) when he voted. The selection was complete and dad said that the button needed to be pushed to complete the vote. The kid said(not direct quote but close) don’t hit the button for the other guy, he give stuff to people who just set on their bu!!s! The guy said the place erupted with laughter! I thought that was funny and needed to be passed on?
L

letget on November 6, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Does anyone have the link to that actual illustration with the revenge poster?

PappyD61 on November 6, 2012 at 12:53 PM

BREAKING NEWS:

MSNBC just called the election for Obama.

>insert official time stamp and link here<

PappyD61 on November 6, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Remember,

TROLLCOTT!!

either orr on November 6, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Ed, great write-up! I even read the whole article at The Week — even better. BTW, that article was also impressive for its fancy byline — by “Edward Morrissey” — and the cool line-drawing portrait of you! Big Time!

KS Rex on November 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Four years later, Obama has been reduced to asking for “revenge” votes, which I argue in my column today at The Week is no mere gaffe.

Ed, did you see the full video of his remark? You’re taking it out of context.
Obama has suggested only a small increase in taxes on the wealthy, nothing more than the rates paid under Clinton. You don’t need to go full-on Glenn Beck and start imagining an assault on the American way of life.

bayam on November 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM

“Voting is the best revenge.”

– Barack Hussein Obama, November 2012

TXUS on November 6, 2012 at 1:01 PM

I clicked Romney, and a popup read “racist!”

/

faraway on November 6, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Fox is reporting this could be the closest race in 80 years. Sheez

kcd on November 6, 2012 at 1:03 PM

The president’s message was: You may not like me, but you are going to hate him.

I said something similar from the get-go. “If you think I’m ugly, you oughta see my sister!”

ted c on November 6, 2012 at 1:03 PM

wait till the president does nothing, or even encourages actions
when there are major riots after he falls

audiotom on November 6, 2012 at 1:03 PM

bayam on November 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM

.
Sorry,
you can’t change the definition of revenge. Hopey mean’t what he said.

Contextually, or otherwise.

Now go punish your enemies elsewhere.

FlaMurph on November 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

I nominate this as BPOY.The best post of the year.

docflash on November 6, 2012 at 1:09 PM

The legacy of the Prince of Darkness, depicted to perfection.

Schadenfreude on November 6, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Another storm about to hit the already totally east coast:( I wonder if zero will be watching the returns with friends and family, as these peaple continue to struggle and die?

kcd on November 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM

He will have been judged as any president – of any colour – would have been. So if Mr Obama loses, it will not be the end of post-racial politics. It will be the beginning.

Schadenfreude on November 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Even Democrat Douglas Wilder of Virginia, the first black elected governor since Reconstruction, is criticizing Obama.

Yes, but he admitted last night that he will vote for 0bama anyway.

UltimateBob on November 6, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Perhaps Obama was caught by surprise that the majority of voters didn’t view Romney with the same level of disdain,

When you function with the kind of personal hatred for anyone who doesn’t hold the exact same hard left ideology as you, like Obama has… it’s no surprise he’s in such a bubble of yes men and hate spewing leftists, he really doesn’t “get” that he’s so far out on a left wing branch,…. that most rational people are stunned he acts so much like a hateful petty child.

He’s always been about hating Americans who make it.. folks just didn’t see it till now.

He’s swallowed the third worlds anti-Americanism whole, the liberation Marxist theory… the contempt the socialists have for Americans and our attitudes.. he completely hates normal Americans, he may hide most of it.. but it’s there..

You can see if you look..

Hate is his primary motivation.. it’s all he’s got.

mark81150 on November 6, 2012 at 1:13 PM

totally totaled

kcd on November 6, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Tonight “I don’t want to live in a racist country any more; I’m going back to Kenya” — Obama

Schadenfreude on November 6, 2012 at 1:14 PM


…NO FLUKEN TROLL POLL…!!!

KOOLAID2 on November 6, 2012 at 1:16 PM

The front page picture also comes via Instapundit from Cagle Cartoons, and seems very apropos for today.

Excellent. Now if only the artist could have captured that “don’ whup me massuh” fake southern black accent, it would be perfect.

UltimateBob on November 6, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Ed, did you see the full video of his remark? You’re taking it out of context.
Obama has suggested only a small increase in taxes on the wealthy, nothing more than the rates paid under Clinton. You don’t need to go full-on Glenn Beck and start imagining an assault on the American way of life.

bayam on November 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Barack Hussein Obama, budget-balancer extraordinaire, huh?

No one with a properly functioning mind would trust such a lying dunce with anything related to economics.

Anti-Control on November 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Another storm about to hit the already totally east coast:( I wonder if zero will be watching the returns with friends and family, as these peaple continue to struggle and die?

kcd on November 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM

I’m not going to pull a Yahoo news director and say he likes to party when white people drown… but the temptation is there to smash that back in their faces..

I full expect Obama will be briefed on the storms.. I also expect he won’t much care about their plight, with his own political future burning in ruins around him.

I doubt he wishes any storm victim ill… I also doubt he’s considerate enough to think about them at all.

There’s no photo op for him to exploit.

mark81150 on November 6, 2012 at 1:21 PM

But…but…but if we only give Barry 4 more years, and more money and more time…….

GarandFan on November 6, 2012 at 1:21 PM

When I cast my vote for Mitt this morning, a small part of me did it out of revenge. The rest of me did it out of love of family, God, and country!

freedomfirst on November 6, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Revenge of the Black Panthers. Not good.
In Phila, where a small margin could make the difference between winning or losing PA, and thus of winning or losing the election, we have Repub poll observers being forcibly removed while BPanther intimidation is sanctioned by O, Hope & Change Obama murals in the interior of polling places, and women in the booth assisting others on how to vote for O (and this could tantamount to intimidation if the voter actually wanted to vote for Romney!!!). And here we have the dim Dems like Dean hollering that it is only through fraud that Mr. Worse that Carter could lose.
And this country is bitterly divided like never before. Our only hope perhaps is to have a bi-partisan conciliating president like Romney who hopefully can bring people together, not O that bitterly pits everyone against each other. One would think that it would be very difficult for this country to endure another term of the divisive O without civil disruption. God help us. Vote Romney.
http://hotair.com/archives/2012/11/06/video-the-obligatory-what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-philly-post

anotherJoe on November 6, 2012 at 1:31 PM

In “The Godfather”, the tagline was, “It’s not personal, it’s business”. Even though it often was personal. With Obama, it’s very often personal. Revenge, class warfare, race-baiting, crony capitalism and executive orders and selective prosecution over the rule of law. A good liberal friend of mine thinks people are against Obama because they envy him. Personal sentiment isn’t a basis for good government. The rule of law is, backed up by the Constitution. Everyone is equal under the law. Equal opportunity, equal protection, equal rights. When we go Obama’s way, the way of sentiment, then we become a third world country, a nation of men, not of laws. Who you know rather than what is right.

Paul-Cincy on November 6, 2012 at 1:35 PM

‘Toon of the Day: But, But, But, We Love Our Military!

http://predicthistunpredictpast.blogspot.com/2012/11/toon-of-day-but-but-but-we-love-our.html

Resist We Much on November 6, 2012 at 1:41 PM

But Barry didn’t really WANT to be mean and nasty. It’s not in his nature. He’s such a super-sweet guy. You could tell from the way he was dishing out the spite and revenge that his heart simply wasn’t in it. How sad, this cool and measured man being forced to act in a manner so foreign to him.

—Politico

Meredith on November 6, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Ben Franklin must weep in Heaven seeing what Philadelphia has become.

mark81150 on November 6, 2012 at 1:45 PM

FlaMurph on November 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

When Romney wins Palinistas lose, big time!

Seriously, the woman is dreadful for the right. She can’t even manage to run her own website. The idea that she donated 5K to Romney in the last days of the campaign is a joke, as is she.

Welcome President-Elect Romney. Good-bye Snowgrifter and Jug Ears. We get to engage America with a clean-slate.

GOP is back! Get out of the way.

Capitalist Hog on November 6, 2012 at 2:06 PM

It would have been a miracle if he had turned out to be competent.

That’s pretty much what 2008′s Obama promised the voters.

And, God help us, they bought it.

Socratease on November 6, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Drudge reporting all sorts of black Democrat voting place illegality. Our system of government-enabled lawlessness for retarded Democrats on display.

Obama facilitating it all and encouraging insanity. He needs to go now.

Jaibones on November 6, 2012 at 2:15 PM

what a big mistake!
…that people would vote for him again is the frightening thing.
KOOLAID2 on November 6, 2012 at 12:39 PM

I think I’m going to take off my “I voted” sticker. Maybe the LIV Dem voters will forget it’s election day and skip it.

HellCat on November 6, 2012 at 2:34 PM

And yet half of the nation could still re-elect the poser. Beyond beyond.

GeorgieGirl9 on November 6, 2012 at 2:42 PM

This was my take on the same visual I put together last week.

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/martinblacklake

Blacklake on November 6, 2012 at 2:49 PM

When Hope and Change became Spite and Revenge

am I the only one to see that the two themes were one and the same back in 2008?

teejk on November 6, 2012 at 3:04 PM

…heck!…I’m reading the threads too fast!…I read Spite AS Spit…and it seemed right!

KOOLAID2 on November 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

When elected, Obama was inexperienced: Most of his career in government was in the Illinois State Senate, with only a couple of years experience in the U.S. Senate, most of which he spent running for president. He had no private-sector experience, no executive experience (beyond the Harvard Law Review) and little knowledge of the United States beyond the major metropolitan areas of New York, Boston and Chicago.

None of this is new. It was known before the 2008 election, covered up and ignored by the LSM. Obama is a fraud and always has been. The next 3 months of his lame duck presidency are not going to be good.

woodNfish on November 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

kingsjester on November 6, 2012 at 12:42 PM

The MSU football coach uses the same quote against the Ann Arbor heathens.

8 weight on November 6, 2012 at 4:27 PM