Michael Smerconish: ‘Real patriots vote for or against candidates based on substance, not smears’


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Conservative talk radio host and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Michael Smerconish, writes this thoughtful piece that has the hate mongers of the right-wing noise machine frothing at the mouth with rabid Obama Derangement Syndrome. Obama: Substance not Smears:

This election has always been a referendum on Barack Obama. For some,
not on matters of substance. They can't have it both ways. It's
hypocritical to distribute a vicious, false narrative about him while
fancying yourself a patriot and a great American. Vilify a sitting
president of the United States with fiction and innuendo, and you are

* * *

It's been unrelenting. The day after Obama took office, Rush Limbaugh
told Sean Hannity he wanted him to "fail." Later, Glenn Beck called the
president a "racist" with a "deep-seated hatred of white people."
Donald Trump's birtherism took hold while words like socialist were
uttered with increased frequency. And a prairie fire of falsehoods
spread through the Internet suggesting, among other things, that Obama
is a Muslim or refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, paving the
way for Dinesh D'Souza's fictionalized "documentary" 2016, which
characterized Obama as fulfilling the anticolonial agenda of his father –
a man he literally knew for just one weekend!

Among the usual memes used to undermine the president is the threat
of some apocalyptic cataclysm, usually in the form of an assertion of
federal power, like the seizing of guns. These predictions demand
unthinking acceptance of the notion that the president, like a bizarre
Manchurian candidate, is saving his nefarious agenda for a second term
that might never arrive. By my count, the website Snopes.com has
evaluated and debunked 103 of 124 Internet assertions about Obama.

Just before Hurricane Sandy hit, Ann Coulter called our sitting
president a "retard," Sarah Palin mocked his "shuck and jive shtick,"
and John Sununu openly questioned Gen. Colin Powell's weighty
endorsement as being motivated by race. At least earlier in the campaign
there was some effort at camouflage. Such as when Mitt Romney aired an
anti-Obama welfare commercial that falsely suggested Obama supported
handouts ("They just send you your welfare check") when, in fact, Obama
was accommodating requests of several governors, two of them
conservative Republicans, to try new ways to put people back to work. A
similar sentiment was expressed by Romney when he maligned the 47
percent who don't pay federal income taxes, overlooking that 83 percent
of that group are either working and paying payroll taxes or they're

And, almost daily, there have been dire warnings about Obama, often with sirens, from the Drudge Report. . . No wonder I routinely field calls from radio listeners who, with no
hint of embarrassment in their voices, say things such as "I call him
'comrade' " or "he's not my president."

Their best evidence? Obamacare – crafted by the same people who wrote
Romneycare. Critics ignore that the Affordable Care Act is premised
upon personal responsibility and was born in a right-wing think tank.
Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning website of the Tampa Bay Times,
called the idea that Obamacare represents a "takeover" of the
health-care system the 2010 Lie of the Year. And while some have also
labeled the president a "socialist" for signing the $831 billion
stimulus, no one ever used such language when Bush acted similarly with
the $700 billion TARP.

In the final days, the critics have turned to Benghazi, drilling down
on the shifting narrative regarding the killing of the U.S. ambassador
to Libya, but ignoring that, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Oct.
22, "The CIA was consistent from Sept. 13 to Sept. 21 that the attack
evolved from a protest." There's another problem with the criticism.
Romney now gets intelligence briefings, too. Perhaps that's why he took a
pass on this kerfuffle when Libya was the first question at the final

So why the attention on the recent 9/11? Perhaps to deflect attention
from Obama avenging the first 9/11. Most disturbing, the president's
critics have sought to diminish that achievement by treating his order
as a no-brainer. As a candidate in 2008, Obama was roundly criticized
when he said (to me and others) that he would act on intelligence
regarding the al-Qaeda leader even if he were in Pakistan. To Bush that
was "unsavory." To John McCain that was "naive." Hillary Clinton said
this was "a mistake." Joe Biden said Obama "undermined his ability to be
tough." And Romney regarded that pledge as "ill-timed" and
"ill-considered." Imagine the criticism Obama would have faced if the
mission had failed.

The reality is that there is much to be admired in the president and
his rise to power. Replace Kenya with Poland or Germany, and you'd have
observers rightly saying that only in this country could such a career
path be possible. He is a loving husband and father who, with the first
lady, is ably raising two daughters in the glare of the White House. He
is an intellectual heavyweight. And his personal ethics have been above

Real patriots vote for or against candidates based on substance, not smears.


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