While campaigning for whichever Democratic candidates who wants him to campaign for them and raising money for those who don’t, President Barack Obama has been using the car in the ditch metaphor to describe the stakes of the election.
The narrative goes something like this: The Republicans drove the car (i.e. the economy) into the ditch. They stood around carping while the Democrats pushed the car out of the ditch. Now the Republicans have the temerity to want the keys back. Well, they can’t have the keys back.
President Obama used the same story in Rhode Island recently, but with a twist:
“He said Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and then stood by and criticized while Democrats pulled it out. Now that progress has been made, he said, ‘we can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.'”
The car in the ditch story, like something that was funny the first 10 or 20 times it was told, has gotten kind of old and stale, more likely to elicit groans in all but the most partisan than laughter.
Besides that, the car in the ditch story as metaphor is a little wide of the mark.
First, two Democratic law makers, Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, were more responsible for the economic meltdown than any Republican due to their ignoring of the problems facing Fannie Me and Freddie Mac and their championing of risky home loans to people who could not pay them back. They are like the drunk drivers who escape the scene of the accident, only to try to pin the blame on someone else.
For the metaphor to be more accurate, the Republicans were carping because they could see that the Democrats were too drunk to drive. Once having gotten the car out of the ditch, the Democrats threw the American people into the trunk and are currently careening around town at breakneck speeds, smashing into mail boxes and light poles and sending pedestrians running for their lives.
Meanwhile, the American people are desperately trying to escape the trunk by prying it open with a tire iron, wondering if they can get control of the care before it wraps itself around a tree.
Fortunately, the Tea Party is in hot pursuit, tossing spikes in the path of the out-of-control car, trying to get it to stop before it is too late. The helicopters are overhead. The squad cars are rolling behind. The high speed chase is showing 24/7 on the cable news networks.
Source: Obama assails GOP on clouded final campaign push, David Espo, AP, October 25th, 2010