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Own It, Barack!

Lucia Brawley: The more hard-hitting and direct you are the better. The more you own your critics' ammunition against you and turn it on them, the more effective you'll be.

You actually heard me, President Obama. You used "Obama Cares," which I've been saying ever since you proposed your historic health care plan and which I coined publicly in my blog last week .

obama bus tour

In one of your Midwestern town meetings on Monday, you said, "I don't mind hearing that 'Obama Cares.' Of course I care. Do you want a President who doesn't care?" You owned the Republicans' slur, "Obamacare," and you turned it on them, just as I urged you to. While I would like to think you read my blog post, you probably just caught onto a zeitgeist. Either way, you heard my message and the message of so many other democrats exhorting you to get back on the offensive in the fight for the future of our country.

The more hard-hitting and direct you are the better. The more you own your critics' ammunition against you and turn it on them, the more effective you'll be. Since, as you embark on your listening tour, you actually seem to be listening, I have a few more comebacks for you. Feel free to use them liberally. No pun intended.

  • Tax and Spend: "You're right. I want to tax the richest Americans a little more, in order spend on getting the middle and working class back to work, and keeping this country innovative and great. The Republicans want to tax the middle and working class and spend it on tax breaks for the rich. I know some Americans do not want the rich to be taxed because they figure when they get rich they will want to keep their money. To which I say, 'Don't worry. If you're a billionaire and you're taxed at the same rate as your secretary, you'll still be a lot richer than your secretary.'"
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  • Bleeding-Heart Liberal: "The Right is always talking about Christian values. I believe in freedom of religion, according to the First Amendment; I embrace the diversity of American beliefs; and I believe, as Jefferson did, in the separation of Church and State. But if we are talking about bleeding hearts, Christ is the ultimate example. He said, 'The last shall be first,' 'the meek shall inherit the earth,' 'blessed are the peacemakers,' and 'it it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.' And they call me a socialist. Similarly, the Republicans are always talking about family values, but from what I can tell, they want to cut every program that helps American families."
  • Big Government: "To some people, saving the country from a Depression, saving the American auto-industry, providing health care to 20 million Americans who didn't have it before, helping to save the environment, giving women equal pay for an equal day's work, as well as access to free women's health, and killing Osama bin Laden mean big government. I just call it governing. All the Republicans do is say no to everything -- except to giving giant tax breaks to big oil, corporate jet owners and corporations who ship their jobs overseas. That's not small government. That is not governing."
  • Lack of Leadership: "Some people, even in my own party, say I lack leadership because I compromise too much, even when the other side won't compromise at all. But I promised when I ran for president that I would bring people together. Is it leadership to polarize and divide, never to see the other guy's point of view, to sacrifice getting any legislation passed at all just to stand for well-intentioned legislation that won't pass? Call me idealistic if you want, but I still believe in a democratic America in which the different branches check and balance each other to create a compromise that best meets the needs of the whole union. I am not King Barack, who can just cram any laws I want through the Congress. I am an American president, which means that I work in partnership with the other branches of government and, most importantly, with you, the American people." (For this idea, I owe most of the credit to my fellow campaign organizer, Jeremy Grandstaff.)
  • Where are the Jobs?: "Speaker Boehner has asked me, 'Where are the jobs?' I'll tell you where they are. The jobs have been cut as Speaker Boehner's party has allowed corporations to massively downsize workers, so that CEO's and board members now split record profits, without sharing them with the people whose hard work helped make them rich in the first place. Even mega-billionaire Warren Buffett said in his op-ed piece that there were more jobs when taxes on the rich were higher, under Reagan, Bush, Sr. and Clinton. In fact, job rates have plummeted since my predecessor offered the very richest Americans unprecedented tax cuts. There is no correlation between lower taxes and higher job rates. No matter how many times the Republicans call rich people 'job creators', no matter how many times they tell us that these 'high tax' rates are stifling their ability to put Americans back to work, no matter how many ways they spin this malarky, it still won't make it true.

Lucia Brawley
Reprinted from Huffington Post with the author's permission.