Chase Whiteside of New Left Media is an amazing young documentary filmmaker. I came upon the video below over at Hullabaloo: Ohio Romney Rally—Interviews with Supporters. It is just amazing. I know there are ignorant fools of all political stripes. But Whiteside is hardly asking “gotcha” questions. I can forgive the guy who thinks that Buddhists are trying to push their religion on us all. And I can forgive the people that don’t seem to have a clue what Mitt Romney’s policies are. (This is most of them.) But the anger and hatred that comes through with some of them is palpable.
One woman really struck me. She leveled a criticism of Obama that we are all very familiar with: Obama said he would unite the country but instead he has divided it. Even without knowing all the facts, this is the kind of claim—regardless of which side it comes from—that embarrasses me. It is too pat. There is no way that this is the whole story, even if the criticism is basically valid. Of course, the criticism is not valid.
It doesn’t take much digging to find that the claim is at best unfair. Let’s just look at the most obvious example: healthcare reform. Obama did not want an individual mandate. That was a Republican idea—you know, the whole libertarian canard of “rights and responsibilities.” But the President compromised and gave the Republicans their individual mandate. Then the President wanted a public option that people could buy instead of private insurance. (Note: there is no reason to be against the public option except that you want to protect the private insurance industry.) Again the President compromised. The Republicans had gotten the bill they had for years said they wanted. The result: not one Republican in the House or Senate voted for the ACA. Not one!
After that, how can anyone possibly blame President Obama for not being a uniter? He clearly made a major good faith effort to work with Republicans. The only criticism you can make against him is that he was naive. He should have known that the Republicans would do everything possible to block him and he should have gone in and tried to coerce the Republicans. I agree with that take on the President. But that is not what people mean when they claim that he should have united Washington.
What these people seem to believe—in part because this is one of Romney’s main talking points—is that Obama came into office with all of these socialist ideas that he tried to cram down the throats of the Republicans. This is manifestly not true. I cannot see such thinking as anything but willful ignorance. The people want to believe it because it gives them an excuse for supporting Mitt Romney. And as you can see in Chase Whiteside’s video: they don’t have any actual reasons for supporting him.