Yes, really. Believe it or not, those endless video clips of this guy droning on about the cheap gimmick you and I know as the Buffett Rule were technically “presidential events,” even though there’s no serious policy reason to spend more than five minutes talking about it. It’s a populist pander aimed at peeling working-class voters away from Romney by building class resentment. And yet, supposedly, it’s sufficiently important to justify using your tax dollars to fly O around the country to make the pitch.
If that’s a “presidential event,” I can’t wait to see what the campaign events look like:
A telling detail from the NYT’s recent piece about presidents campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime:
Since Mr. Obama filed for re-election a year ago, he has taken 60 domestic trips, of which 26 included fund-raisers, according to Mark Knoller, a White House correspondent for CBS News who for years has compiled such data.
Mr. Knoller’s count shows that since Mr. Obama took office, his most frequent destinations besides Maryland, Virginia and Illinois, his home state, have been fund-raising centers and swing states: New York (23 visits), Ohio (20), Florida (16), Pennsylvania (15), Michigan (11), California and North Carolina (10 each), Massachusetts (9), Wisconsin (8), Iowa and Nevada (7 each), and Colorado (6).
Even reporters don’t take this phony distinction seriously anymore. The Washington Free Beacon’s been compiling tweets from journalists scoffing openly at the idea that these visits to purple states and big blue piggy banks are anything more than campaign stops in the guise of Matters of National Importance. Presumably, by the White House’s logic, last night’s slow jam of the news wasn’t a dumb goof aimed at charming young voters but a “presidential forum on current events.”
Time for the RNC to apply a little pressure by calling for a GAO investigation:
Today he will hold another similar event in Iowa. Ostensibly these campaign stops were meant to support student loan legislation (which ironically President Obama didn’t even take the time to vote on during his short tenure in the U.S. Senate). Please note that President Obama traveled to three states largely considered to be electoral battlegrounds to promote this legislation. One might imagine that if this were genuinely a government event he might have stopped in a non-battleground state like Texas or Vermont.
The same can be said of the president’s trip to Florida two weeks ago. President Obama scheduled three fundraisers in the state and added one short “official event” on his Buffett Tax to his itinerary, once again allowing his reelection campaign to save on fuel for Air Force One. This speech was high on class warfare, slogans, and divisive campaign-style rhetoric. It was low on substance that would benefit the populace at large.
One incident of this might be an error that is easily remedied. But it is a pattern of behavior that is worsening. In fact in three and a half years, President Obama has held dozens of events that benefitted OFA on the taxpayer dime.
Follow the link for the obligatory GSA reference. Question: When was the last time O spoke publicly about a policy matter and wasn’t obviously trying to score campaign points in doing so? It’s one small-ball matter after another: The Buffett Rule to position himself as the champion of blue-collar voters, regulations on oil speculators to show that he cares about gas prices, extending the student-loan interest rate to get young voters excited to volunteer for Generation O again, etc. Those are all campaign events, by and large, as of course was his speech tearing into Paul Ryan after his own phony budget went straight down the crapper in Congress. When was the last actual presidential address?