Obama Uses 'Politics of Fear' He Once Criticized

President Obama frequently railed against the Bush-era "politics of fear" on the campaign trail. In his inaugural address, he said, "We got here because we have chosen hope over fear." President Obama also earlier made the comment in March 2008 that "we need to break the politics of fear that uses 9/11 to scare up votes." This offensive, below-the-belt criticism insinuated that his opposition didn't see 9/11 in the context of blood and misery, but in the context of check marks next to their names on Election Day.

But he has had no trouble issuing fear-inducing warnings himself. President Obama has simply exchanged his predecessor's fear-inducing rhetoric on national security for fear-inducing rhetoric on the economy. When warning what would happen if his stimulus package was not passed, President Obama said that the economy would suffer a "catastrophe" and that "our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse."

Being lectured by President Obama on rejecting the "politics of fear" is about as valuable as receiving a lecture from Chris Brown on having patience with women. This hypocrisy has transformed his past statements into prepackaged attack ads, examples of the type of doublespeak that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should (but won't) lampoon.

Apparently not viewing political discourse influenced by overseas threats as legitimate, the Obama administration is introducing a new, meaningless, vague lexicon to discuss its equally meaningless and vague foreign policy strategy. The guiding philosophy of the administration appears to be that its primary concern is threat-causing fears and not fear-causing threats.

His statement in May 2008 best illustrates this philosophy: "There are rarely purely ideological movements out there. We can encourage actors to think in practical and not ideological terms. We can strengthen those elements that are making practical calculations." There's a part of everyone's brain that responds to the diplomacy of meeting half way, he seems to believe. In the administration's mind, the terms "moderate" and "Taliban" are not mutually exclusive.