They Can’t Sell Ideas so They’ll Savage the President

Here it comes, folks, the avalanche of “negative publicity” targeting President Obama. You were expecting it, weren’t you? The Republicans have nothing to sell voters so they are resorting to their favorite strategy. In logic, it’s called ad hominem, and it’s a tactic as old as time.  When your arguments fail, you launch a personal attack against your opponent.

In today’s America it’s called Swiftboating, from the atrocious campaign that smeared John Kerry and helped George W. Bush win the presidency.

And, right on cue, Swiftboat writer John Corsi has a new book out, repeating all the old – and debunked – lies about Obama. Not surprisingly, the book is edited by Republican strategist Mary Matalin.

Expect more of it in the coming election campaign. Much more, now that the Supreme Court has removed restraints on corporate contributions.

Scanning the headlines this morning, I see the knives being unsheathed – from stories about another toxic book, Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men, to an AP “fact check” that left me gasping in disbelief.

Here’s the Associated Press indictment of the president:

President Barack Obama makes it sound as if there are millionaires all over America paying taxes at lower rates than their secretaries.

“Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires,” Obama said Monday. “That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that.”

The data tell a different story.

Really? And yet in the same article, by a man named Stephen Ohlimacher, we get this admission:

In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

That’s “a different story”?

And this:

For high-income families and individuals, investment income is often taxed at a lower rate than wages. The top tax rate for dividends and capital gains is 15 percent. The top marginal tax rate for wages is 35 percent, though that is reserved for taxable income above $379,150.

With tax rates that high, why do so many people pay at lower rates? Because the tax code is riddled with more than $1 trillion in deductions, exemptions and credits…

That’s what billionaire Warren Buffet is complaining about, and that’s what the president is referring to in his speeches. So when AP – supposedly an objective news service – accuses Obama of lying, I have to wonder what’s behind the attack.

I wonder, too, why Suskind’s vicious book is being released at this time. Suskind might be nothing more than an opportunist looking to make a buck. But the timing of his hatchet job certainly is suspect.

Many of the slurs in the book have been refuted by the people they’re attributed to, but that hasn’t stopped the media from repeating them.

Nothing builds audiences like a good fight, and nothing brings the sharks circling like the smell of blood in the water.

Brace yourself. The savagery is just beginning.

Click here for more about the book.