Monday, 01 February 2010

Obama Doesn’t “Get It”

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Is there anyone out there who thinks Barack Obama hasn’t been on TV enough, hasn’t been on enough magazine covers, or hasn’t done enough soft ball interviews?

It seemed to me that he was vastly overexposed, getting old. I thought the next thing was giant portraits of Obama on the sides of buildings, like Fidel in Havana.

But it seems that President Obama thinks the Democrats’ political defeats, first in the governor races in New Jersey and Virginia and then with the Senate seat in Massachusetts, were due to the fact that we just haven’t seen enough of him.

The alleged underexposure was a “mistake of mine,” Obama explained ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “I think the assumption was if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on this provision or that law, or if we’re making a good rational decision here, then the people will get it.”

In other words, he was rational, focused, and working hard and we were just too dumb to see it.

So he’s right, we’re wrong and now we’re going to get an even bigger dose of Obama’s speechifying, more than the record-breaking 569 interviews and speeches that he gave last year (CBS’s numbers).

That’s an average of 1.6 speeches and interviews per day during Obama’s first year, and that’s not counting all the waves and big smiles as he got off the helicopters or bought a cheeseburger.

Obama told Stephanopoulos that he’ll now do more “speaking directly to the American people,” to that big non-Harvard bunch of blockheads out here who might have to hear things a few hundred more times before we “get it.”

The idea is that we’d get onboard if we heard him talk more on health care. In fact, public disapproval went up the more he talked about it.

Obama also stated that Democrats lost in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts because people are still mad at George W. Bush. “The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office,” he contended.

He’s saying that voters aren’t primarily upset by anything that he or the Democrats have done over the past year. Instead, voters in Massachusetts, a state where Republicans make up only 12 percent of the registration, gave Republican Scott Brown the big win because they’re mad at Republican George W. Bush.

Aside from that analysis being illogical, Obama failed to mention that Scott Brown directly targeted ObamaCare throughout his campaign, arguing that the Democrats’ healthcare overhaul would “raise taxes, hurt Medicare, destroy jobs and run our nation into deeper debt.”

More concisely, Brown repeatedly vowed to be the crucial 41st vote in the Senate that would block ObamaCare.

Brown additionally criticized the higher levels of unemployment and deficit spending under Obama, as well as the administration’s ineffectual tactics in dealing with national security. “In dealing with terrorists,” he said, “our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.”

Now, a year into his presidency and knocked to the mat, Obama is shifting his focus away from saving polar bears and demonizing doctors. Now it’s job creation that’s “the single most important thing that we can do.” To that end, the single most important thing that he could do is get out of the way.

The strategy is simple. All he’s got to do to expand employment is the exact opposite of every job-killing thing that he’s proposed for the past year. That means scrapping the idea that government is the engine of job creation, and it means stopping the cap-and-trade levies, card check, and the whole range of proposed anti-growth tax hikes on capital gains, inheritances, top earners, dividends and investments.

Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.

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