For too long, many of us with profound political disagreements with Barack Obama have nonetheless allowed that he is a decent person. An incompetent narcissist with a wildly overrated intellect, to be sure, but not fundamentally unfit for decent society.
It is now clear to me that we - I - have been wrong to extend him that benefit of the doubt.
Barack Obama is not merely a bad President.
Barack Obama is a bad person.
Barack Obama's campaign, through his official website, barackobama.com, has chosen to exploit people with Down syndrome for partisan gain (H/T Instapundit).
In short, the website has published a letter from, and photo of, a lady named Brittany who suffers from Down syndrome, calling her "A face of one of the 47%."
Brittany feels insulted by Mitt Romney's "47%" comments from last Spring, and this is understandable.
There is no denying that Romney's "47%" comments were, at best,
poorly articulated. Most fundamentally, many of the 47% who pay no
income taxes will indeed be voting for Mitt Romney next month, and many
people who pay seven- and eight-figure annual tax bills will be voting
for Obama. And at least in the segment that has been most widely circulated, Brittany could very reasonably have perceived an insult, even though common sense suggests that none was intended toward anyone who, like Brittany, actively supports themselves to the best of their abilities. Poorly worded comments allow for such misinterpretation.
It is also possible that Brittany's exploitation may have gotten started before she came to the attention of Barack Obama's minions. Her letter contains the post-script "My mom and her friend helped me write this."
And exploiting sympathetic people for political gain is, of course, nothing new. Just last month, Democrats attempted to exploit military veterans in order to channel additional subsidies to public employee unions.
Exploiting people with Down syndrome, however, is particularly odious.
Veterans, for example, are more capable than most of their fellow citizens of looking after themselves and their interests. Yet as George Will writes in the piece linked below, "with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate
misunderstanding, (people with Down syndrome), like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named
Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers."
We owe them as much. They deserve it, and they deserve better than Barack Obama.
The lesser outrage is Obama's implication that Mitt Romney is indifferent to the needs - and the strong moral claim on public resources - of people with Down syndrome. Obama's claim in this regard - and I will attribute it directly to him because it is too disgraceful to justify indulging the fiction of plausible deniability - is contradicted by the facts of Mitt Romney's life. Anyone who watched (or read about) the speakers at the GOP convention who talked about Mitt Romney's efforts to help their families through some of the most difficult challenges that exist in this world could not fail to be moved.
The greater outrage deals not with Mitt Romney, who is perfectly capable of defending himself, but with the rights and dignity of people with Down symdrome, who are not.
I don't personally know anyone with Down syndrome. The two people with the affliction that I can think of are Sarah Palin's son Trig, and George Will's son Jon. In a way, I almost feel as if I know Jon Will, because George Will has been writing beautifully moving pieces about him for most of my life (Jon is only a few years younger than me). In case you haven't had the opportunity to read any of them, here is George Will's column on the occasion of Jon's 40th birthday.
It is perhaps not a coincidence that they are both the children of conservatives, for the same reason that it requires especially great chutzpah for Democrats to pose as the defenders of people with Down syndrome.
Last month's Democratic National Convention was notable for the ubiquity and stridency of its pro-abortion rhetoric. Notably, the party changed the Clinton-era formulation that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare" by dropping the pretense of hoping to make it rare. This is relevant because, as George Will points out, more than 90% of prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome result in abortion.
To liberals, this is a feature, not a bug. As I discussed yesterday, pro-abortion forces are greatly vexed that "nine states since
2010, including Arizona, have banned abortions after 20 weeks,
around the same time many women learn about fetal abnormalities."
In other words, Democrats are outraged that Republicans might impede the abortion of 11 out of every 12 Down syndrome children, yet Barack Obama has the gall to pose as the defender of those with Down syndrome against the depredations of Mitt Romney.
In a challenging environment, character shows. The 2008 election campaign was not challenging for Barack Obama, and he successfully masked his character. This campaign is testing him, and we are at last seeing what he is made of.
Based on what the campaign has now revealed about Barack Obama, I offer my own revised opinion:
Barack Obama is not a decent person, and has no rightful place in decent society.