In a column a couple of years ago, I noted that President Obama often resorts to the rhetorical tic/trick "there are those who"—a setup that warns you to be on the lookout for straw men. His speech today in Kansas (noted earlier this evening by Matt Welch and Mike Riggs) features a variation on that theme:
In the midst of this debate [about the best way to restore growth, prosperity, balance, and fairness], there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that's happened, after the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.
I am here to say they are wrong.
Who are these "some" who say everyone should fend for himself while playing by his own rules? Obama does not say, but they sound like real dicks, don't they? A quick search of the White House website suggests that "some" are at least as bad as "those":
Inaugural address, January 21, 2009: "There are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short."
Speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, March 10, 2009: "There are some who believe we can only handle one challenge at a time."
Health care speech, August 20, 2009: "There are some people who, for partisan reasons, just want to see this go down…you know, if we can beat a health care bill like we did with Bill Clinton, then we'll be able to take over the House, you know, next year….And then there are some people who just ideologically, they just don't believe in government getting involved in anything."
Speech in Holland, Michigan, August 11, 2011: "There are some in Congress right now who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win. And that has to stop."
Speech at a DNC event in Chicago, August 3, 2011: "We finally put some common-sense rules so that banks aren't taking the kinds of risk that almost led to an economic meltdown, and that consumers are protected when you get credit cards or mortgages. And, frankly, there are some folks in Congress who are trying to block us from making that progress."
White House Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa, August 16, 2011: "I know there are naysayers out there. We know that there are some who see hard times and think that we've got to accept less, that our best days are past."
Speech on the American Jobs Act in Denver, September 27, 2011: "There are some folks in Washington who don't get it. This isn't about giving me a win. This is about giving Democrats and Republicans a chance to do something for the American people. It's about giving people who are hurting a win. That's what this is about."
Let me be clear. This naysaying by partisan, anti-American, anti-consumer, nihilistic, amnesiac reactionaries who say our best days are behind us and think government has no role in anything is wrong, and it has to stop.