PJ Media

Democrats Deserve No Distance

On July 22, Joe Biden said the following at a fundraiser in North Carolina: “Now that the heavy lifting is over, we can go out and make our case.” In other words, it’s time to campaign.

He didn’t get off to a good start when he also said: “There are 3 million [more] Americans working today than there were before we took office.”

What? Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that no matter which of four possible ways you look at the numbers, he’s laughably wrong by at least five years.

Numbers are stubborn things, aren’t they, Joe? Of course, you shouldn’t expect much from a guy who says “J-O-B-S” is a three-letter word.

In declaring the campaign war on, Biden immediately demonstrated that its first casualty is and will continue to be the truth.

Before I learned of Biden’s howler, I was going to establish three ground rules for this year’s election campaign. Now I’m down to two:

  1. If you supported Barack Obama in 2008 and are seeking election or reelection, it’s too late to distance yourself from him if you haven’t already. You own him, and his administration’s agenda.
  2. If you voted for the Obama administration’s key initiatives — stimulus, cap and trade, ObamaCare, or financial “reform” — you can’t credibly claim to have beliefs that run contrary to their specific provisions.

Rule Number 3 was going to be: “Tell the truth.” That’s clearly out the window on the Democratic side.

Let’s look at three concrete applications of the ground rules.

Ohio’s Democratic Governor Ted Strickland is running for reelection. He claims to be a staunch supporter of the right to keep and bear arms. He can correctly claim to have a strong record in this area when he was a congressman and to have taken several actions as governor that are consistent with that alleged belief. But under Rule Number 1, that’s irrelevant, because Ted Strickland supported Barack Obama for president in 2008 — and has not backed away.

While Obama remains president and Democrats retain control of the Senate, we are one deadly Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, or Kennedy heart attack away from losing the Second Amendment. Any conceivable doubt that this is the case disappeared when Obama-nominated Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, contradicting her confirmation hearing testimony, voted with the minority in the recent 5-4 McDonald decision. Thus, no one, including Ted Strickland, can claim to be pro-Second Amendment and continue to support Barack Obama. Sadly, organizations like the NRA and Ohio’s Buckeye Firearms Association, which have both endorsed Strickland over Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich, don’t understand that.

Staying in Ohio, First District Congressman Steve Driehaus claims to be prolife, and was one of the phony-baloney “Stupak Six” holdouts during the final days before ObamaCare became law in March. Shortly after Obama signed the legislation, Driehaus infamously told a friendly audience that his holdout had been a convenient show: “I was fully confident we would get to ‘yes.’ … I knew I would get there.”

Stupak, Driehaus, and the others ended their charade when Obama issued an executive order that supposedly prohibited the use of federal funds for abortions. The most obvious flaw in accepting this fig leaf was that Obama, who based on his record and statements is the most pro-abortion president in our history, can unilaterally reverse his order at any time. But beyond that, it has already been shown to be irrelevant in Pennsylvania:

The Obama administration has officially approved the first instance of taxpayer funded abortions under the new national government-run health care program. This is the kind of abortion funding the pro-life movement warned about when Congress considered the bill. …

It has quietly approved a plan submitted by an appointee of pro-abortion Governor Edward Rendell under which the new program will cover any abortion that is legal in Pennsylvania. …

“The Obama Administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million in federal tax funds, which we’ve discovered will pay for insurance plans that cover any legal abortion,” said Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee.

If Steve Driehaus has a problem with any of this, I haven’t heard about it. If he continues to claim to be pro-life, he violates both Ground Rules 1 and 2 — Rule 1 because he continues to support the president, and Rule 2 because he voted for legislation that has already been shown to be anti-life in effect. Driehaus has also been remarkably quiet about Donald Berwick, the recess-appointed director of Medicare and Medicaid Services who believes that “about 8% of GDP is plenty for ‘best known’ care” (health care is currently about 17% of GDP), and Zeke the Bleak Emanuel, whose “complete lives system … explicitly defends discrimination against older patients” and would be used to deny them needed care.

Finally, there’s the instructive example of Virginia Senator James Webb. Though he’s not up for reelection, Mr. Webb, with an eye on 2012, is clearly attempting to separate himself from the Obama administration’s race-based obsessions. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Webb passionately argued that “white privilege” is a myth, and that our nation must ensure that “artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.”

If the senator really believes this, he has a funny way of showing it. ObamaCare has plenty of artificial racial distinctions, while the financial services “reform” legislation “creates … Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion in at least 20 federal financial services agencies.” Mr. Webb voted for each bill (here and here).

Mr. Webb can talk the talk about opposing and eliminating race-based distinctions all he wants, but he hasn’t walked the walk when it has mattered most. Ground Rule 2 says that anyone who supported these measures and is currently up for reelection can’t credibly claim to be against racial preferences.

Similar arguments can and should be made about those who voted for cap and trade but who suddenly discover the need to drill for oil; those who speak of controlling spending while allowing party leadership to deliberately avoid passing a budget; and those who voted for the stimulus plan who will now try to make us believe that they support meaningful tax cuts.

Those who have supported Barack Obama and have voted for his legislation deserve no distance — and that is the truth.