Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Julia, Meet Christie

Younger son last posted on the creepiness of the “Life of Julia,” a cartoon/PowerPoint currently featured on the Obama Campaign website which depicts the symbiotic relationship of Julia, Ms. Average Citizen, with her beneficent Federal Government. The presentation chronicles the reliance – almost exclusive -- of anonymous citizen Julia on her Government benefactors for encouragement, investment, education, retirement, and general subsistence.  The Life of Julia is apparently intended to remind the viewer of the extent of the modern welfare state in the perpetuation of our everyday lives, particularly for women, and presumably serves as a grim foretelling to these same single women of the goodies they will lose if Mitt Romney wins in November.  To those who view life as an adventure to be lived, consider the modern welfare state as bloated and self-serving, practice self-reliance and teach that noble trait to their children and families, the Life of Julia is both sad and pathetic.
I saw over the weekend (during college and professional football games, no less) the sequel to “Life of Julia”, and the latest contribution of the Obama Campaign.  The commercial features “Christie”, a pleasant looking, middle-class mom.  Christie describes her busy life, her responsibilities to her children, her struggles to pay her bills, do the laundry, feed her family, etc.  Like the character in Life of Julia, there is no male father or husband figure apparent in Christie’s life.  Christie laments that Mitt Romney only cares about rich people and corporations, and that if he is elected she could lose various tax benefits for her children’s college tuition, her child care, mortgages and so on (dubious claims, at best, since Romney has not outlined what tax reforms his administration would support).  Christie concludes that Mitt Romney would tell the middle class “Tough Luck” in deference to enhancing the life and fortunes of his cherished Daddy Warbucks Millionaires and Billionaires. 
Christie is Julia writ live, evolving from an anonymous stick figure to a suburban, single working class mom.  We are left to conclude that Christie, like Julia, is beholden to her Federal masters for her betterment and lo, her survival.  Both Christie and the Life of Julia are misleading and deceitful ads.  Democrats of course claim what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; that ask Bill Clinton: Romney’s ads about Obama’s Executive Order changing the work for welfare requirement are misleading and deceitful (they’re not; see attached explanation from Robert Rector, author of the welfare reform provisions in 1996); and if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. 
More important, the Christie and Julia spots highlight the fundamental difference between the Obama Campaign and the Romney Campaign, and our country’s futures under a second Obama Administration and a Romney Administration.  Voters need to ask themselves not which candidate they like better, who they would rather have a beer with, or who does a better job on late night TV shows.  Obama and Romney are seeking election as Commander in Chief, not Celebrity in Chief.  Rather, voters should ask themselves what kind of country do we want not just for the next four years, but what kind of country do we leave to our children and grandchildren? 
Obama campaigns on a model of ever-increasing involvement of the Federal Government in personal decisions about health care, child care, nutrition, education and education funding, retirement planning, etc.  This involvement minimizes (if not eliminates) the element of personal choice and necessarily requires a larger Federal bureaucracy and deeper, more complicated tax base to generate the revenues to support the ‘freebies’ and the bureaucracy to administer the distribution of the freebies.  It’s a model similar to what we presently see in many European social democracies.  By contrast, Romney campaigns on a model emphasizing the growth of small businesses, less Federal regulation, a simpler tax code, greater self-reliance (hence the 47% ‘gaffe’ which is actually a very accurate summation of the progressivity of the Federal income tax system), and the beginning of a return of personal choice in health care, education, retirement, and other areas of life.  This model can support the erosion of the Federal Leviathan or at the very least curb its Frankenstein-like growth. 
Of course there are other significant differences in the visions of the two candidates, in areas like military defense, social issues (abortion, mandatory recognition of gay marriages), foreign policy and so forth.  But the contrast highlighted by the plight of Julia and Christie presents the starkest difference in what we can expect from a second term of Obama and a first term of Romney-Ryan.
Early voting has begun in several states.  It’s time to choose.  But choose wisely.


Those who choose unwisely should expect no less a fate than this:


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