This morning, AP writer Jim Kuhnhenn wrote that “congressional Republicans show no desire to demonize President Barack Obama, so they’re condemning Democratic leaders instead.” As evidence, Kuhnhenn quotes Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House Minority Whip, saying that “We want to work with this president“:
Listen to the No. 2 Republican leader in the House, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia. “We want to work with this president,” he said Sunday. “We want people to regain their confidence in Washington. And what people are looking for is results.”
But what of the $787 billion economic recovery legislation that not a single Republican in the House supported? That, Cantor said, was “Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi’s stimulus bill.”
But Kuhnhenn’s thesis ignores the effort by the congressional GOP to paint Obama and his policies as socialist in nature. For instance, at CPAC last week, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) called Obama “the world’s best salesman of socialism“:
Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the only member of the senate to earn a perfect rating from the American Conservative Union, called President Obama “the world’s best salesman of socialism” on Friday in describing his prime time speech earlier this week.
DeMint, a fierce opponent of government expansion, told the CPAC crowd that conservatives might have to “take to the streets to stop America’s slide into socialism.”
It isn’t just the backbenchers like DeMint who are demonizing Obama as a socialist. Members of the GOP congressional leadership are pushing that line of attack as well:
— Last week, House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) called Obama’s budget proposal “one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment.”
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that Obama is trying “to basically Europeanize America.”
— At CPAC, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), the third-ranking Republican, denounced Obama’s economic agenda as “European-style socialism.”
Apparently, the AP doesn’t consider attempts to cast Obama as a socialist to be efforts to demonize him.