Wed, 25 Feb 2009 23:05:20 +0000 – By Jon Kraushar
Where to begin (and end) with President Obama's chutzpah? It was on full display in his speech to Congress last night, in which he not only defended his trillion-dollar "stimulus" but also said it was only a "first step in getting our economy back on track."
The next step is that the Democrats in the House have just put forth a $410-billion omnibus spending bill containing 8,570 earmarks totaling up to $7.7-billion and so far Obama hasn't raised a peep of protest.
Obama said-- with a straight face -- last night: "Now, I know there are some in this chamber and watching at home who are skeptical of whether this plan will work. And I understand that skepticism. Here in Washington, we've all seen how quickly good intentions can turn into broken promises and wasteful spending. And with a plan of this scale comes enormous responsibility to get it right. And that's why I've asked Vice President Biden to lead a tough, unprecedented oversight effort -- because nobody messes with Joe."
If nobody messes with Joe Biden it's because Joe Biden is too busy messing up. It is sheer chutzpah for Obama to designate the clownish, gaffe-prone Biden as a compliance leader for the responsible, transparent implementation of the most expensive transfer in history of money "from those who pay federal taxes to those who don't pay federal taxes," as FOX Business host Stuart Varney has put it.
Biden, remember, was the presidential candidate who said that it is "patriotic" for wealthy Americans to pay more in taxes. How much sense does it make to play class warfare and impose higher taxes on "wealthy" entrepreneurs and investors who, after all, will largely either "create or save" the four million jobs Obama keeps claiming will happen because of his stimulus?
This morning, after Obama's speech, as Biden was saying that the stimulus would "drop-kick" the economy out of its deep recession, the stock market, which puts its money where it thinks Obama's (and Biden's) mouths are, continued to drop faster than the latest Biden verbal whopper or presidential spending initiative. According to Reuters, "The tone [for the dipping Dow] was set early by disappointment [that] President Barack Obama shed little new light about how his administration would stabilize the economy in a major speech before Congress."
In a fact check of Obama's speech, the Associated Press noted, "...his assurance Tuesday night that only the deserving will get help rang hollow. Even officials in his administration, many supporters of the plan in Congress and the Federal Reserve chairman expect some of that money will go to people who used lousy judgment."
While Obama's media groupies raved about the president's tone (ABC's Jake Tapper cooed about"the most positive speech that President Obama has given since election night")Tucker Carlson, MSNBC's senior political correspondent, said this: "Obama sprinkled the speech with enough sweeteners to trigger diabetes: Massive new spending and deficit reduction at the same time. Tax cuts for you, tax increases for people you've never met. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The end of cancer. Literally: the end of cancer. The list went on. How much of this can we believe?"
That is the crux of Obama's chutzpah. In sealing his nomination for president, Obama prophesied that, "...this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth."
In just over a month we should be on to Obama's chutzpah about moments. While his minions proclaim that he is "The Messiah," Obama continues to repeat that, "A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession, a less robust recovery, and a more uncertain future." It's "Apocalypse Now," unless we follow The Messiah.
There is an eerie echo in Obama's chutzpah that recalls the same apocalyptic bulldozing, the same welter of unaccountable and mismanaged multi-billion-dollar spending schemes that came from the messianic "master of the universe," former Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Paulson's "Troubled Asset Relief Program" has morphed into Obama's "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."
Simon Rosenberg of liberal think tank NDN,who worked in the Clinton White House, said before Obama's speech that, "The American people are willing to give him time, but he needs to make sure they walk away with a clear sense of what he wants to do for them and that they think that it's actually possible for him to pull it off."
If he does, we won't continue to speak of Obama in terms of chutzpah but rather with another Yiddish expression. He will be, if not a messiah for this country, a metzia:a bargain, a real find, or a lucky break.
As they also say in Yiddish, "Alevai: It should only happen! May it come to pass!"
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.