Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anti-Obama Site Gets Rhetoric Backward

On Yolohub is a page listing what purport to be 70 Facts Obama Doesn't Want You To Know. But the authors didn't think particularly carefully about their list. Consider this list item:
93 - The United States now ranks 93rd in the world in income inequality.
Income inequality has been cited as a link to numerous ills. It is associated with literal ills such as population health performance metrics. It is also thought linked to metaphorical ills such as the social cancer of inherited class, the meaning of liberty – "free" to live under a bridge or to be evicted by a jury of one's peers? – and the practicality of the social mobility that defines the classless society and makes possible our meritocratic fantasies. Income disparity is part of the problem the United States faces with its (laughable) health policy and (absent) health services allocation model.

But why would Obama be concerned about Americans learning that the United States ranks 93rd in income inequality? Disparity between the haves and have-nots is a classic Democratic concern and, if elevated to a frontline issue, could easily be spun to get him re-elected. As a longtime consumer of political propaganda from both parties, I must give that list item an F.

What exactly was the author of that page thinking in including income disparity rankings in a list of things the President would want concealed?

There may be perfectly good reasons to vote against the President in the next election – and room to argue that policies supported by the President work against American enterprise and American quality of life – but the mere fact of income disparity is not traditionally a reason for the public to turn on Democrats. Income disparity was (unsuccessfully) raised as a reason to vote against Bush, and it is now being used in headlines calculated to embarrass the Republican's nominee in the next election. Income disparity – by itself, without elaboration of policy argument – is a Democratic issue Obama would prefer people heard about.

Whether the Democratic Party have a policy with the capacity to improve income disparity is, naturally, another matter entirely.


angry listmaker said...

Lists like these are disheartening. The real causes and effects are not even casually examined. Most of the list you posted is full of useless facts written to invoke an emotional response in someone who is predisposed to blaming Obama for pretty much everything.


Jaded Consumer said...

There was a similar rash of attacks against Bush II when Clinton-era policies crashed around him. Credit and blame are often assigned to whomever is convenient. The list linked in the article is unhelpful to analyzing either side of the debate on the President. It's an emotional appeal.