Fear-mongers deliver victory for Republicans
BY MARY MITCHELL Sun-Times Columnist
A day after President Obama got what he called a "shellacking" in the midterm elections, he took full responsibility for the outcome that turned over the House to the Republicans.
Pundits will spend the next few days poring over the numbers. But judging from the questions reporters asked at the news conference, the defeat is being cast as a clear message from voters that Obama is going in the wrong direction.
I suppose that the president should not have revamped the health-care system, propped up the auto and banking industries and reined in Wall Street before coming up with a miracle that would have put the vast majority of those now unemployed back to work.
Apparently, two years ago, many of us were not listening.
During his campaign for the White House, Obama told Americans a cold-hearted truth that went in one ear and out the other:
Many of the jobs that have disappeared are not coming back.
The next time you drive through a tollbooth and get stuck behind someone who doesn't have the proper amount of coinage to put in the machine, ask yourself when human workers are coming back.
Think about these missing jobs the next time you call your credit card company and someone who you know is on foreign soil tries to sort out your issue.
Or try counting up the number of jobs that ended when it became customary for you to pay bills online, to deposit your checks in an ATM and to pay at the pump with plastic.
As an employee in an industry that is struggling to stay afloat, it is pretty clear to me that technology is both a blessing and a curse.
But that's not what Americans want to hear.
We want to believe the campaign ads that promise to create millions of jobs practically overnight.
That's why candidate after candidate told voters that if elected, they would create jobs, as if all these jobs were somewhere locked up in a vault just waiting for a GOP takeover.
Amazingly, it didn't seem to register with a lot of voters, and certainly not with those who sent at least 60 Republicans to the House, that more jobs were lost during George W. Bush's eight years in the White House.
The Obama's administration's relationship with the business community also is being called into question, and Obama took responsibility for any mistakes in that arena as well.
But some observers also are questioning why so many businesses have been reluctant to hire workers despite the signs of an economic recovery. Some people even believe that the inaction is a deliberate attempt to undermine the president's policies.
I don't tend to buy in to conspiracy theories, even though we live in an era where the most popular pundits are those who are experts at manipulation and character assassination.
Nonetheless, I can't help but wonder if something more sinister than voter frustration is behind the seismic shift in Washington.
Two years ago, the Obama touch was golden. On Tuesday, in Illinois at least, his support might as well have been the kiss of death.
Although the Illinois Democratic Coordinating Committee boasted that events featuring Obama, who was in Chicago three times rallying voters, would benefit the entire ticket, Democratic candidates fell like flies.
In other parts of the country, the Democratic Party also underestimated the damage that has been done by flat-out fear-mongering.
For the last two years, the electorate has been subjected to lies about Obama's religion, his heritage and his agenda. These deliberate falsehoods were designed to scare the bejeezus out of anyone who waves the American flag.
Unfortunately, Tuesday's midterm massacre was as much a victory for the fear-mongers as it was for the Republican candidates who sought public office for a noble cause.
Apparently a lot of voters drank up every drop of the Obama-bashers' Kool-Aid.