The Diversionary President

Presidential campaigns are rarely things of beauty. In my course that covers the second half of American history, I show some videos of campaign ads. Some of the worst come from the LBJ campaign against Barry Goldwater in 1964. When I say “worst,” I mean in the sense of misleading. The message communicated by the Johnson team that year was that if we elected Goldwater, he would blow up the world. Literally. The most famous/infamous ad was of a little girl picking leaves off a daisy, counting to ten. Then a voice started a countdown from ten to . . . a film of a nuclear bomb going off. Subtle, huh?

Well, at least the Obama campaign isn’t claiming that Romney will blow up the world if elected. The president’s people aren’t focusing at all on big issues. The one thing LBJ had going for him was he did deal with a major issue. For Obama, it’s all about diversions. He doesn’t want anyone to pay attention to his record. Instead, he’s trying to redefine his opponent. Sometimes, though, that hasn’t worked too well:

He’s doing his best to pick on whatever minor diversions he can find in hopes that no one will notice the emperor has no clothes:

The citizenry has been treated to dogs on car roofs, tax returns, and outsourcing [while ignoring all the companies saved and jobs created here at home through Bain Capital], and real issues such as Fast and Furious are ignored by the media as a whole:

One cartoonist has captured it better than all the others, simply because he’s tried to include it all in one cartoon:

Reading all those post-it notes might be difficult, but they are quite instructive.