EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


August 26, 2012

Column: Obama's 'compassion' comes at your expense

Let’s have an adult conversation about compassion.

You know, President Obama or his acolytes drag out the “adult-conversation” line every time they want to change the subject, or portray their opponents as relying on simplistic slogans.

Of course, with major campaign slogans of “Hope and Change” and “Change We Can Believe In” for the 2008 campaign, you know they’re not serious. It is hard to get more amorphous and less substantive. It’s just another way of saying, “Hey, don’t look at unemployment, the debt, the deficit, Gitmo or the endless war. Look over there!”

But, lately they’ve been sloganeering about compassion, so I think they should be given a few adult-conversation talking points. An adult conversation is supposed to eschew straw men and exaggerations. It is supposed to include things like context and nuance. And it is supposed to be free of ad hominem attacks.

But in the world of Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic attack mob, after they deliver the grudging, obligatory “OK, they’re good family men,” they declare Republican almost-nominee Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan are extreme, cold, heartless number crunchers lacking even a shred of compassion for the “least fortunate among us.”

You have heard, and you will hear, that Romney and Ryan have a vision of society where they want to eliminate community in America – that their message is, “You’re on your own. Good luck.” Which is an absurd, straw-man attack. People aren’t on their own in America unless they desperately want to be and are hiding in a hole. Both Romney’s and Ryan’s expressed goal is to make sustainable the programs that keep people from being on their own.

You have heard, and will hear, President Obama say he wants to “invest” in higher education, but Mitt Romney does not. Which ducks the fact that Obama doesn’t want to invest his money. He wants to invest yours. It avoids the reality that every time government “invests” more in education, the price goes up. The students don’t benefit. They are just a conduit for money that doesn’t make college more affordable, but simply provides better pay and benefits for administrators, faculty and staff.

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