A Nation of Julias

In the competition for the creepiest campaign material of 2012, we may already have a winner. It is “The Life of Julia,” the Obama reelection team’s cartoon chronicle of a fictional woman who is dependent on government at every step of her life.

The phrase “cradle-to-grave welfare state” originated with Clement Attlee’s socialist government in post–World War II Britain. Back then, it was meant as a boastful description of a new age of government activism. Subsequently, it became a term of derision for critics of an overweening government. In the spirit of Attlee, the Obama campaign revives the concept of “cradle to grave” as it highlights Obama-supported programs that take care of Julia from age 3 to her retirement at age 67.

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