Opinions are like a $50,000 government debt — in America, everyone has one. So we here at Klavan on the Culture are committed to going beyond mere bloviational opinionating to get you the sort of facts, insights, and interviews that only we can make up. In that spirit, today we bring you our exclusive interview with a man who rarely comes out of the shadows into the limelight: Neil Lister, the strategist behind the strategists for Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.
KOC: Mr. Lister, thank you for talking to me.
LISTER: My pleasure.
KOC: I’m going to be very blunt here. I don’t understand how the president can run on his record. In July of 2008, Mr. Obama called George W. Bush “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” for adding 4 trillion dollars to the national debt over 8 years. But in less than 4 years, Mr. Obama has added 5 trillion dollars to our debt and has proposed no reforms except a bogus tax on rich people which would accomplish virtually nothing. At the same time he keeps trying to buy off voters by offering things like student loan subsidies and other unfunded entitlements that would actually add to the debt. How do you propose to address this issue?
LISTER: Well, the debt is a very serious problem, but by the same token, I think you have to agree that Mitt Romney drove for twelve hours with his dog in a crate on top of his car.
LISTER: He’s been cited for cruelty by two different animal rights groups.
KOC: Well, okay, but, in his book Dreams From My Father, President Obama says he actually ate a dog!
LISTER: I don’t think we should be talking about dogs at a serious moment like this. Dogs are just a distraction.
KOC: Fine, let’s get back to the economy. Entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are projected to consume all tax revenues within thirty years. Social Security could be operating at a deficit within only two years. Congressman Paul Ryan has put forward a serious and politically courageous plan to address entitlement reform. What will be the president’s approach?
LISTER: We’re on it. Even as we speak, we have hired an actor who looks like Congressman Ryan to pretend to push an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. I don’t see how the GOP can answer that, especially when you consider that Mitt Romney’s ancestors may have been bigamists.
KOC: Mitt Romney’s ancestors? Barack Obama’s father was a bigamist!
LISTER: I don’t think we should be talking about bigamy at a serious moment like this. Bigamy is just a distraction.
KOC: All right then, let’s talk about foreign policy…
LISTER: Obama killed Osama bin Laden.
KOC: Yes, that’s great but…
LISTER: It was a gutsy call.
KOC: Maybe so, but…
LISTER: Mitt Romney would never have done it. He would’ve let Osama escape to kill again.
KOC: Well, that’s absurd and actually kind of despicable.
LISTER: I never said it.
KOC: Look, what I’m trying to get at here is that, under President Obama, Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons, the Middle East seems to be increasingly under the rule of Islamists, we’re quietly losing the war in Afghanistan, and Iraq, a war President Bush actually had won, has been all but abandoned.
LISTER: All that may be true, but Rush Limbaugh called a woman a slut.
KOC: I beg your pardon?
LISTER: The Republicans are waging a war on women.
KOC: Republicans? Democrats have been calling women like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann far worse things than slut for years!
LISTER: I don’t think we should be talking about women at a serious moment like this. Women are just a distraction.
KOC: Women are a distraction??
LISTER: I never said that.
KOC: You just said it right now.
LISTER: This was not a statement I personally heard while I was sitting here.
KOC: I can play back the tape.
LISTER: Look, just because some guy in the neighborhood says something, that doesn’t reflect on the president.
KOC: What guy in the neighborhood? It was you! Neil Lister.
LISTER: It’s a common name. I personally know three Neil Listers.
KOC: But this one was you!
LISTER: Here’s my point. This great country has always been committed to the fairness of everyone rising to the occasion of a vision of a future where college can bring justice to those who would look away from the seriousness of unfair and oppressive policies of the past that got us into this situation in the first place.
LISTER: Oh my God, your hair’s on fire!
KOC: My hair! Help! Quick, get me some water! Wait a minute, I don’t have any hair. Mr. Lister? Where did he go? He was here just a minute ago…