Published August 31, 2011
Get out the marshmallows and gather ’round the campfire, boys and girls, President Obama is about to give another speech.
OK, so the idea doesn’t exactly send a tingle up your leg or make you swoon with visions of Hope & Change. In that case, you don’t have to wait a minute longer for him to actually declare how he’ll create jobs. Here’s what he will say next week.
“Folks are hurtin’.”
“We have to invest in the future.”
“We need a balanced approach.” “My hope and expectation is that we can put country before party and get something done for the American people.”
The first three are boilerplate arguments for ever-more government spending and ever-higher taxes. Whatever else he says, that will be the heart of his “pivot” to jobs.
There’s nothing new in the approach because it’s exactly what he’s said and done since he took office. He probably calls for tax hikes in his sleep.
It’s the last phrase -- “put country before party” -- that is especially noteworthy and troubling.
Starting with his Midwest bus tour, the demand that Congress (read Republicans) “put country before party” has repeatedly popped up in his speeches, as it did Monday, when he introduced a new economic aide.
It’s a twist on another staple of his us-against-them rhetoric. Mostly, he’s aimed to divide America along class lines, with his nonstop references to “millionaires and billionaires.”
That was cynical enough, but the message behind the new talking point is darker and more ominous.
The inference that anybody who doesn’t agree with him is putting party before country is essentially an accusation that opponents are unpatriotic. It says they are pulling against America and, by logical extension, labels them as traitors.
This is rancid politics by any reasonable measure, and it reveals the president’s desperation. He sees the polls and knows the odds are rising that he’ll be a one-termer because he broke the bank on failed economic policies.
By landslide proportions, 55 percent of voters tell Gallup they disapprove of his job performance and 76 percent say the economy is getting worse. His signature issue, ObamaCare, now commands support from only 39 percent of the nation, the Kaiser Foundation says.
Equally telling, Americans for the first time view the federal government more negatively than any major business or industry, with only 17 percent having a positive view of Washington, Gallup reports. That’s below the oil and gas industry!
Yet even at this late date in his term, Obama has no new ideas on how to create jobs, nor is he willing to embrace the GOP push to cut spending, reform the tax code and trim the regulations strangling business growth. He is sticking with the same failed Big Government policies that got him and the nation to this downgraded moment.
He has largely given up on changing the substance of his economic and fiscal record before the election. White House deliberations reportedly focus not on what ideas would create jobs, but on how to frame the argument so he is not blamed for the failure.
It’s a game plan that hangs on impugning the integrity of any and all opponents. It’s pure character assassination, but, because he won’t change policies, cheap politics is all he has left.
As I have noted before, that’s not the kind of president he said he would be. But that’s the kind of president he is.