“Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You want to do it with a great guy.”
So begins the now famous official Barack Obama for President campaign ad that was released last week. The ad depicts a young woman named Lena Dunham, who is apparently a celebrity among Americans in their teens and 20s.
After that opening line, Ms. Dunham continues on for another minute and a half discussing how having sex for the first time and voting for Barack Obama for president are really the same thing, and how young women don’t want to be accused of either being virgins or of having passed up on their chance to cast their votes for Obama next Tuesday.
I’ve never been particularly interested in so-called “women’s issues.” It never seemed to me that any party or politician was particularly good or bad for me due to the way they thought of women. That all changed with the Dunham ad for Obama.
With this ad, Obama convinced me he is a misogynist.
The Obama campaign’s use of a double entendre to compare sex – the most personal, intimate act we engage in as human beings, with voting – the most public act we engage in as human beings – is a scandal.
It is demeaning and contemptuous of women. It reduces us to sexual objects. When called on to vote, as far as Obama is concerned, as slaves to our passions, we make our decisions not based on our capacity for rational choice. Rather we choose our leaders solely on the basis of our sexual desires.
Beyond the ad’s bald attempt to impersonalize, generalize and cheapen the most personal act human beings engage in, the ad is repulsive because it takes for granted that what happens in our private lives is the government’s business.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is a totalitarian position.
THE WHOLE point of liberal democracy is to put a barrier between a person’s personal life and his or her government. A liberal democracy is founded on the notion of limited government. It assumes there are a lot of places where government has no role to play. And first and foremost among those places is the bedroom.
The theory behind limited government is that if the government is permitted in our private space then we are no longer free. When – as in the case of the Dunham ad – a political campaign conveys the message that there is something personally wrong with not actively supporting its candidate, it communicates the message that it sees no distinction between personal and public life, and therefore rejects the basic notion of freedom from government. And this is repugnant, not just for women, but for everyone who values freedom.
One of the oddest aspects of the Obama sex ad is that to believe that this sort of message can be effective, the campaign had to ignore mountains of data about the demographic group the ad targets – young college-educated women.
According to just about every piece of survey data collected over the past 20 years, young women in America today are more accomplished, more professionally driven, and more intellectually successful than their male counterparts. That the Obama campaign believes the votes of this successful, smart group of women can be won by appealing to their basest urges rather than their capacity to reason is demeaning and perverse and, one would think, counterproductive.
But it isn’t surprising.
The fact is that the Obama campaign – and indeed, the Obama presidency – has treated the American people with unprecedented arrogance and contempt. On issue after issue, Obama and his minions have eschewed intellectual argumentation.
On issue after issue they have preferred instead to attack Obama’s detractors as stupid, backwards, bigoted, bellicose and evil.
For instance, however one feels about current events in the Middle East, there is a legitimate – indeed critical – argument to be had about the nature of the Islamist forces the Obama administration is supporting from Cairo, Egypt, to Alexandria, Virginia.
The Muslim Brotherhood is the most popular movement in the Islamic world. It is also a totalitarian, misogynist, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian and anti-American movement. It seeks Islamic global supremacy, the genocide of Jewry, the subjugation of Christianity and the destruction of the United States.
There is an intellectual case to be made for appeasing these popular, popularly elected forces.
There is a (stronger) intellectual case to be made for opposing them. But rather than make any of the hard arguments for appeasing the Muslim Brotherhood, the Obama administration has deflected the issue by castigating everyone who opposes its appeasement policies as racist, McCarthyite warmongers.
If women who don’t support Obama are prudish geeks, Americans who oppose his appeasement policies are bloodthirsty bigots.
Then there was the attack in Benghazi on September 11 and the general Islamic assaults on US embassies throughout the Muslim world that day.
The acts of aggression that Muslims carried out against several US embassies on September 11 and since have all been acts of war against America.
The rioters who stormed the US embassies in Egypt, Tunis and Yemen and replaced the American flag with the flag of al-Qaida all violated sovereign US territory and carried out acts of war. The US had the right, under international law, to repel and respond with military force against the rioters as well as against their governments. Instead the White House blamed the acts of war on a US citizen who posted a video on YouTube.
Then there was Benghazi. In Benghazi, jihadists took this collective aggression a step further. They attacked the US Consulate and a US government safe house with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Their goal was to murder all the US citizens inside the compounds. In the event, they successfully murdered four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
In the six weeks that have passed since the attack in Benghazi, despite administration attempts to stonewall, and despite the US’s media’s inexcusable lack of interest in the story, information has continuously dribbled out indicating that Obama and his senior advisers knew in real time what was happening on the ground. It has also come out that they rejected multiple requests from multiple sources to employ military power readily available to save the lives of the Americans on the ground.
There may be good reasons that Obama and his top aides denied those repeated requests for assistance and allowed the American citizens pinned down in Benghazi to die. But Obama and his aides have not provided any.
Rather than defend their actions, Obama and his advisers first sought to cover up what happened by blaming the acts of war on that YouTube video.
When that line of argument collapsed of its own absurdity, Obama shifted to blaming the messenger.
His campaign accused everyone asking for facts and truthful explanations about what happened in Benghazi of trying to politicize the attack.
Obama himself has twice struck the Captain Renault pose and declared himself “Shocked, shocked!” that anyone would dare to insinuate that he did not do everything in his power to save the lives of the Americans whose lives he failed to save.
The reason specific sectors of a society usually feel compelled to vote on the basis of their sectoral interests rather than their general interests as citizens of their country is that they feel that one candidate or party specifically endangers their sectoral interests. Hence, the Lena Dunham ad, which insults women specifically, compels women to vote as women against Obama.
In the case of Obama’s appeasement of the Muslim world, there is no specific group that is hurt more than any other group by his policies.
As we saw in Libya, Egypt, Tunis, Yemen and beyond, his appeasement policies endanger all Americans equally.
This is not the case with Obama’s treatment of Israel and Jews. Obama’s supporters always highlight statements he has made and actions he has taken in relation to Israel and Jews that are relatively supportive of both.
To be sure, like every other US president, Obama has made some statements, and taken some actions, that have been supportive of Jews and of Israel. But unlike most other US presidents, he has made far more statements and taken far more actions that have been contemptuous and hostile to Israel and Jews. And this is inexcusable.
It is inexcusable that Obama uses coded anti- Semitic language to blame America’s economic woes on “fat cat bankers.” It is inexcusable that his secretary of state and his senior advisers have repeatedly made references to the so-called Israel Lobby to explain why America is supposedly hamstrung in its ability to sell Israel to the wolves.
It is inexcusable that Obama sends his surrogates before the cameras to refer to Israel’s prime minister as “ungrateful,” or to castigate Israel for permitting Jews to build homes in Jerusalem on land they own and for permitting Jews to exercise their legal rights to their property – simply because they are Jews.
Israel is the US’s most important ally in the Middle East. As such, it deserves to be treated well by the US – all the time. Any move to treat Israel with contempt is an unprovoked hostile act and therefore inexcusable.
So, too, US Jews have a right to make an honest living doing anything they wish – including working on Wall Street or owning a casino in Las Vegas. Jews have a right to be treated with respect by the US government. They should not have to be concerned about having their reputations maligned by politicians who use anti-Semitic tropes to gain political advantage.
Obama’s contemptuous vilification of Israel and successful American Jews make him bad for Jews specifically. Just as the Dunham ad exposes his underlying hostility towards women and so makes clear that women’s interests are imperiled by his presidency, so Obama’s repeated hostile treatment of Israel and American Jews make him a specific danger to Jewish interests.
MANY WOULD-BE deep thinkers have proclaimed that the presidential election is a choice between two competing narratives. But that isn’t an accurate description of the race.
Only Republican nominee Mitt Romney is presenting a narrative. In his narrative, the US faces very difficult problems in domestic and foreign policy alike. Romney has laid out his priorities for which problems he wishes to contend with, and has presented policies he will adopt to do so if he is elected next Tuesday.
On the other hand, by Obama’s telling, the real problems America faces are all the result of the empowerment of his political opponents and America’s allies.
Benghazi wouldn’t be a problem if his political opponents weren’t talking about it. Jihadists aren’t a problem. The problem is the people who say they are a problem. The national debt isn’t a problem. The problem is the “fat cat bankers.”
Women will vote for him because we are dimwitted sex objects. And Jews will vote for him because we are taken in by his occasional Borscht Belt schmaltz platitudes about Hanukka.
God help us all if his contemptuous assessment of his countrymen is borne out next Tuesday.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.