As Byron York writes, Barack Obama is feeling nostalgic for 2008 — those glory days of Hopenchange, when he was as much of a blank canvas as the MSM allowed him to be — and had a punching bag for an opponent:
Faced with deteriorating economic conditions and an unexpectedly aggressive Republican opponent, President Obama and his aides are expressing nostalgia for Sen. John McCain, the Republican opponent Obama defeated handily in the 2008 election.
At a rally in Minnesota Friday, Obama said Republicans today are in the grip of a “fever” that has caused them to oppose his initiatives virtually across the board. That “fever,” Obama said, will make this presidential race against GOP nominee Mitt Romney particularly contentious — in contrast to the last time, when Obama faced an opponent, McCain, who declined to engage in the kind of hard-hitting fight that many of his Republican supporters hoped he would.
“I mean, 2008 was a significant election, obviously,” Obama told the audience at a Minneapolis restaurant called Bachelor Farmer. “But John McCain believed in climate change. John believed in campaign finance reform. He believed in immigration reform. I mean, there were some areas where you saw some overlap.”
Victor Hanson notes at least one bold-faced lie in that above quote: yes, McCain believed in campaign finance reform — but Obama sure didn’t:
What? John McCain actually did believe in “campaign-finance reform,” but candidate and President Barack Obama most certainly did not: He was the first presidential candidate in the general election to renounce public campaign financing in the history of the legislation so that he could go on to out-raise McCain three to one. He raised the most money in campaign history, and was the largest recorded recipient of Wall Street cash. In three-and-a-half years, he has held the most fundraisers of any sitting president; he has accepted super PAC money when he said he would not; he has allowed big donors to receive preferential treatment in green-company subsidization. To suggest otherwise is as untrue as it is shameless, and is yet another transparent attempt to post facto praise the losing Republican strategy of 2008.
Meanwhile, presented with a gentleman opponent (read: hapless sucker) in 2008, the Obama campaign responded by kicking sand in his face and giving him the full Alinsky treatment, as Moe Lane writes:
In 2008 the Obama campaign released an ad that mocked John McCain for his inability to send an email – which infuriated people, because the reason why he can’t send an email is because his arms have never really worked properly after the North Vietnamese got done torturing him. When Obama’s Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden dared mildly apologize for it, the Obama campaign humiliated Biden by having their lackey Bill Burton come out and retract Biden’s apology.
This is what passed for ‘civility’ in the 2008 election cycle – but I can understand why Obama would get all misty-eyed about those days. It’s natural for a coward to remember fondly the times when his fights were all with people who wouldn’t – or couldn’t – fight back…
I’m not sure if Jonah Goldberg addressed this topic in The Tyranny of Cliches, but it’s one of the great cliches of liberalism that whoever the current GOP president is, he’s always a ruthless barbarian compared with his genteel predecessor. Leftwing journalists routinely beat up GWB by comparing him to Reagan — whom they loathed while the Gipper was in office. Both Roger Ebert and Paul Krugman have each found themselves longing for Richard Nixon. And if only that horrible Tea Party could be as genteel as saintly old William F. Buckley (whom liberals similarly hated while he was alive). Apparently this breed of liberal nostalgia now extends to GOP presidential candidates as well.
Hopefully Romney’s tactics will continue to make Obama nostalgic for 2008 — and maybe even a train ride back to Chicago in January for symmetry’s sake, and a last promotion of the joys of intercontinental railroading.
Update: Welcome Maggie’s Farm readers.