As time ticks down to the Iowa caucuses—considered to be the official kickoff of the 2016 election season—we can all brace for the coming onslaught of radio and television commercial ads from candidates, Super PACs and heaven only knows who else.
Republicans will attack Democrats as having lorded over one of the weakest economic recoveries in history, enabling and empowering America’s enemies and making a train wreck of healthcare. Democrats will claim Republicans only want to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires while sticking it to the poor and middle class. These formulas have been seen many times before.
Candidates—whether a president running for re-election or a member of the incumbent’s political party—usually have at least one ‘marquee’ accomplishment. They can point to something they campaigned on, delivered speech after speech on, and promised to get done. They can point their finger and say, “There! I told you I would!”
In the process, they secure a legacy, such as we saw when Ronald Reagan ended the cold war and got the Berlin wall torn down; George W. Bush broke the will of Saddam Hussein to free the people of a tiny, fundamentally defenseless nation (Kuwait); or when Bill Clinton managed a budget surplus, and so on.
For candidates seeking the Democrat nomination in 2016, the identifiable ‘marquee’ accomplishment is easy: Obamacare. Obama ran on a platform to completely restructure the nation’s healthcare system as he promised “healthcare for all.” For the bulk of his first two years in office—some would argue at the expense of keeping an eye on jobs and the economy—and with the help of super-majorities in both houses of congress, he signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. It was the Democrat’s crowning achievement, and it was the one thing Obama and the Democrats said they’d do! So where are the commercials touting this fact?Of course, there are other “accomplishments” by Obama on which they can run. Perhaps they could run ads bragging about the total withdrawal from Iraq and the subsequent rise of ISIS, our record levels of new debt and the record levels of Americans out of the workforce. So far, in Iowa and the rest of the nation, we haven’t seen one. Seems odd.
Since you’re not likely to see any of these “record accomplishments” on your TV screen this campaign season, I figured I’d create a few as a sort of improvisational theater of the mind. I’ll provide the narrative, but you’ll have to come up with the images yourself:…I’m Hilary Clinton, and I approve this message…
“Years ago, a man I publicly claim to love and respect—my husband, and the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton—signed legislation to reform welfare that made sense and that most Americans agreed with. It required individuals who received federal welfare to demonstrate that they were actually looking for employment and a way to support themselves. The Obama administration, of which I was a part, attempted to scrap the employment provision but couldn’t get congress to agree, so we did it through an executive order. Now, citizens no longer have to actually be trying to support themselves; they can just ‘be’ on welfare. We also extended the amount of time Americans can receive welfare to 99 weeks. As a result we now have more Americans, 50 million of them, on welfare than at any time in our nation’s history since the Great Depression. You’re welcome!”
…I’m Bernie Sanders, and I approve this message…
“I helped write the Affordable Care Act and in August of 2010, against the will of the vast majority Americans, using our majority in Congress. We Democrats passed it through Congress on a straight party-line vote in the middle of the night on Christmas eve. President Obama signed the bill into law and we gave America healthcare “reform.” At the time, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office placed its cost at $947 billion dollars. Later, they upgraded their numbers to indicate that this law, which requires all Americans to purchase health insurance whether they can afford it or not, would actually cost more than $2.3 trillion, cover fewer people than originally projected, and cause tens of millions to lose their coverage altogether. You’re welcome!”
…I’m Hillary Clinton, and I approve this message…
“Years ago, a man I publicly claim to love and respect—my husband, and the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton—signed into law the “Defense of Marriages Act.” It’s a law that passed with massive bi-partisan support from the 109th congress. The Obama administration, of which I was a part, didn’t particularly care for that piece of U.S. law, so despite the fact we swore to uphold the laws of the land, our Justice Department stopped defending DOMA cases in court until we could secure a Supreme Court ruling rendering our unlawful actions moot.
We also issued a proclamation wherein June of each year would be declared “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month,” and we worked to get legislation passed that requires employers and/or insurance companies to pay for birth control for female employees even if it violated their religious and/or moral beliefs. Thanks to our administration, churches must now act in violation of their faith and beliefs or be found in violation of U.S. law.”
…We’re the Democrat Party, and we approve this message…
Despite the fact that most Americans want to see people who are in the country illegally follow our immigration and naturalization laws as the path to citizenship, we went against their will as we attempted to get the “Dream Act” passed by congress. When that didn’t work, we used the power of the Presidency to issue an Executive Order granting amnesty to millions of people in our country illegally. The fact that most of those people compete with and take jobs away from the underclass doesn’t matter to us because we’ve got that voter bloc locked up. We’ve steadfastly refused to enforce security along our southern border and in fact have sued states that have enforced federal immigration law in an effort to make them stop.”
There will be no commercials touting any of these “achievements.” Why is that?
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]