“Julia” is another serious Obama campaign misstep
Watching the l’affaire Sandra Fluke, it almost seemed like the were were going to be looking at a slick, savvy Obama campaign game this year, perhaps even as much on their game as the 2008 campaign of legend. After all, they’ve already managed to take an unprecedented assault on the natural right—and the fundamental American civil right—of freedom of religion and turn it into a Republican “war on women” via contraception. Amazing!
Recent events, however, have indicated that they may not be as savvy as they once appeared. In many ways, they are—for the moment at least—screwing up by the numbers. The most salient example may be the fact that Obama and his team have sullied his one unequivocal success (killing OBL), and have managed to create a new “swiftboat”-style movement among one of the country’s most elite special forces. But there are other notable recent ones as well, and Michael Walsh notes some of them with panache over at the Corner:
First the dog-eating, then the Commie “Forward” slogan, the imaginary composite girlfriends, and now this vision of the New Soviet Woman — the wheels are coming off the once-crack Obama campaign. Where is Jake Lingle when they really need him? Did the surviving Pythons reunite to storyboard this farce?
What’s happening, of course, is that the mask is finally slipping, which means either that the “Marxist professors and structural feminists” who put Obama through his paces are ridiculously over-confident that they’ve made the case for socialism to the voting public and think everyone understands that there will be a lot more of the same come a second term; or they’re hysterical and have decided to go down in November with a great Bronx cheer directed against traditional American virtues, all of which they cordially despise.
The farce to which Walsh is referring is the Obama campaign’s portrait of “Julia.” What they intended to be an attack on the uncaring, heartless Mitt Romney and a slick pander to women has turned out to be a portrait of the left’s ideal VictimWoman, a ward of the state whose entire life is paid for by others.
First, what was the campaign of the man whose high school peers voted him Most Likely to Rule over a Dystopian Mega-State thinking by giving their exemplar woman the same name—Julia—as the female lead in Orwell’s “1984″? Those optics won’t be a problem for people who’ve never read or seen “1984,” but a lot of Americans have. Across the web, this portrait is already being torn apart, and the entire effort may even backfire on the Obama campaign in the long run.
Yuval Levin posits that even young hipsters won’t be able to resist creating web parodies:
It’s going to be very very difficult for the purveyors of knowing sarcasm in the hipster-industrial complex to resist this provocation, even though openly mocking Barack Obama will feel uneasy and unnatural at first. And that’s what could make this a genuine misstep for the Obama campaign: Obama’s 2008 campaign was very careful to keep itself on the side of the culture of cool, so that the agents of that culture would turn their guns against John McCain but mostly lay off Obama, even as he offered up embarrassingly vapid nonsense about turning back the oceans. If they begin to make the culture of cool uneasy about Obama, and increasingly comfortable treating him (as it is inclined to treat everyone) as a self-important windbag, they could do serious damage to his standing with precisely the intended audience of the Life of Julia: young liberals, who must turn out in uncharacteristically large numbers if Obama is to have a decent chance of re-election. If those young liberals come to see the president not as a cool modern idealist in on the joke but as a bloviating panderer who buys his own shtick, he’s in big trouble. If you puncture Obama’s balloon, there is not much left of him, and he seems to be running the risk of puncturing that balloon himself.
Ed Morrissey provides a blistering (and tragicomic) rewrite of Julia’s life-cycle at Hot Air:
- 3 years old – Julia gets a new-and-improved Head Start, which a new HHS study shows won’t do anything for her anyway.
- 17 years old – Race to the Top improves Julia’s SAT scores. Is there any evidence at all to support that argument? Even so, she’s down the list from all of the home-schooled children and the charter- and private-school students who actually got an education rather than an NEA indoctrination. However, thanks to the NEA indoctrination, Julia is now better prepared for a life on the government dole.
- 18 years old – Julia’s family qualifies for a $10,000 tuition tax credit spread out over four years, while Obama’s student-loan subsidies drive tuition costs up even faster.
- 22 years old – Julia undergoes surgery, which has to be funded by her parents’ employers despite Julia being an adult, and which will be most likely delayed as providers decline in number thanks to the economics of ObamaCare.
- 23 years old — Thanks to the Lily Ledbetter Act, trial attorneys get rich by filing lawsuits against employers that otherwise wouldn’t have been brought, leaving fewer resources to hire Julia. No college job for our intrepid Julia!
- 25 years old – Julia finally gets her 4-year degree in seven years, thanks to the inability to handle the tuition bubble and the lack of work. However, the good news is that the $200,000 in student loans will only hang over her head for 20 years, while taxpayers like Julia end up paying for the costs of default.
- 27 years old – Julia wants to have sex for the first time in her life, apparently, and is looking for contraception. Her employer would provide it for free thanks to the ObamaCare HHS mandate … if she could only find a job.
- 31 years old – Julia gets pregnant, which tells you all you need to know about free contraception. Oddly, Julia hasn’t gotten married first, probably because the economy is so poor by this time with the huge entitlement debt crisis breaking that no one can conceive of putting a home together. Fortunately, ObamaCare makes pregnancy possible, because until Obama took office, no one ever got pregnant, since government support and approval for it didn’t exist.
The title of David Harsanyi’s critique provides the core response that needs to be on everyone’s lips:
Haranyi then goes on to place the situation into stark relief, beginning . . .
In the new Barack Obama campaign piece The Life of Julia, voters can “Take a look at how President Obama’s policies help one woman over her lifetime — and how Mitt Romney would change her story.” It is one of the most brazenly statist pieces of campaign literature I can ever remember seeing.
Brazen statism. That’s where we are. They’re not even bothering to cloak it anymore. The state is now being sold openly as not only the best solution, but the ONLY solution, to all of life’s challenges.
James Taranto is incisive as always in his piece on the subject. Alana Goodman takes a more realistic look at Julia’s life through the lens of the debt that every child is currently inheriting. Across the web, people are tearing into the Obama campaign’s “Life of Julia” like a child tearing open wrapping paper on Christmas morning. No doubt, a few people out there in America will be swayed by Julia. But overall, this is looking more like a misstep than a coup.
Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including AnyStreet.org (now a part of Western Free Press) and Liberatchik.com. He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to WesternFreePress.com.
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