Today, in a non-campaign event, President Obama told high schoolers that it was their “responsibility” to Tweet the hashtag #dontdoublemyrate, a reference to Obama’s latest campaign fib, in which he has accused Republicans of wanting to raise student loan interest rates.
It’s an odd campaign strategy, and it demonstrates that Obama is clearly out of touch with the mainstream. The fact is that Mitt Romney supports keeping student loan interest rates at current levels; he has no disagreement with Obama on that. He simply wants to ensure that we don’t raise the debt level to do it. Obama, however, is pretending that Romney and Republicans want to raise the student loan rates. That’s false.
Obama has been forced to draw such false distinctions because on the issues on which he and Romney truly do disagree – issues such as tax increases, increased spending, and foreign policy – the American public generally supports Romney. Therefore, Obama is now lying about Romney’s record, picking issues upon which they agree – issues on which Obama is relatively mainstream – and acting as though Romney disagrees, contrary to all available evidence. Obama recently did just that with the Osama Bin Laden killing, an action with which everyone agreed – but which Obama said Romney would not have pursued. He simply lied about Romney in order to marginalize him.
This is the Obama meme machine. #Dontdoublemyrate is a meme designed to divide Americans on issues on which they are virtually all agreed. #Gutsycall did the same. So did #Waronwomen. Obama has to find common ground to divide us – because where we’re already divided, he’s on the wrong side of the American people.
More importantly, the Republican National Committee has accused Obama of funding his re-election campaign on the taxpayer dime, and this speech is certainly good evidence of that. The coordination between the campaign messaging and the White House agenda is obvious: while Obama pushes for his version of a student loan bill (he’s already rejected a Republican version), his campaign urges people to tweet “#dontdoublemyrate.” Then, days later, lo and behold: President Obama, in a non-campaign campaign speech, says precisely the same thing. How convenient. On April 26, for example, Obama’s campaign twitter feed suggested:
RT if you agree: Congress should keep interest rates on federal student loans from doubling on July 1. #DontDoubleMyRate
That’s active coordination, certainly.
It’s also relatively inappropriate for the President to be telling high school students that they have a “responsibility” to endorse his agenda. They don’t.
“If you agree with me, I see a lot of cell phones here … I want you to send a message to Congress. Tell them don’t double my rate … Tweet them, teach your parents how to tweet, and use the hashtag #dontdoublemyrate,” he said. Oh, and by the way, Obama admitted in this speech that he “had Jimmy Fallon’s help” on this agenda item. Well, yes, he did.