Now that we know just what President Obama thinks of people who succeed in business, it is no wonder that the economy is so much in the crapper. In his desperation to avoid any discussion of his own disastrous handling of the economy, Mr. Obama announced last week what he thinks of the struggling spark plugs of commerce: They are a bunch of felons.
Of course, he did not come right out and directly say that himself, because that would risk drawing renewed questions about whether he is actually an American with the slightest whiff of respect for private industry and ingenuity that defines America.
So he did what gangsters from the South Side of Chicago have always done. He dispatched one of his bloodthirsty capos to handle his dirty work. Then he strolls up onto the scene all clean and innocent-looking in his fancy, pressed duds and shiny spats and plays the wise guy.
This time it was Stephanie Cutter cornering Mitt Romney in the dark alley, which is apparently the only place these people can operate nowadays. She said Mr. Romney was either "lying" about when he left the helm of Bain Capital or he had committed "a felony" when he was still named on SEC documents in the years after his departure.
To grasp how utterly dishonest this whole attack is that has consumed the media, consider this: If Mr. Romney was, in fact, no longer part of the company at the time the SEC documents were filed, how could he possibly be responsible for what was written on the documents? Truth, justice or decency have no place in the alleys where these people operate.
"A real character and trust issue," said Ms. Cutter, wiping Mr. Romney's blood off her switchblade before snapping it closed.
By the time Mr. Obama arrived on the scene, all he had to do was say that Mr. Romney must answer questions about his time at Bain, which is code for endorsing his campaign's calumny that Romney is a felon. And yet, not a drop of blood spatter hits him.
As Mr. Obama misquoted Harry S. Truman the other day: "The buck stops with you." Obviously he was confusing Truman with his real hero, Al Capone.
This political thuggery straight off the streets of Chicago signals desperation in the Obama campaign and a level of deception unrivaled in recent presidential politics.
Democrats howled when John Kerry got "swift-boated" during the 2004 election with questions about his deservedness of medals he won during Vietnam — medals that he later threw away in protest of America and the military.
That was certainly rough-and-tumble politics, but let's consider the differences between the charges leveled against Mr. Kerry back then and those leveled today against Mr. Romney.
The swift-boat attack was in no was sponsored by spokesmen for Mr. Kerry's political opponent, President George W. Bush. No, those harsh attacks were leveled by his comrades from the war, who carried out the same swift-boat operations that Mr. Kerry did, knew precisely how medals were awarded. For decades, these men harbored deep hostility toward Mr. Kerry and others who came home and turned against the war and so publicly shamed the men left behind who were still fighting and dying for Mr. Kerry's very freedom to betray them.
You may not have agreed with the attacks on Mr. Kerry, but you certainly could not dispute his fellow swift-boaters the right to say exactly what they wanted to about the guy when he was running for president.
For many, the testimony from Mr. Kerry's old comrades revealed something troubling about Mr. Kerry's character, just as these attacks on Mr. Romney do. Only, they don't reveal much about Mr. Romney's character. They reveal something about Mr. Obama's.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org