Although it was billed as some sort of marvelous ???campaign reset??? or ???framing??? speech, there wasn???t much new in President Obama???s Ohio speech on Thursday. It was whiny and desperate, including a moment where Obama stooped to insisting that he was not offering ???spin.??? If you have to insist on that, you are, by definition, spinning. Also, although the President loudly declared this was an official speech, not a campaign appearance, a campaign poster was prominently displayed on his podium. Presumably that wasn???t ???spin??? either.
We???ve heard it all before: blame Bush, headwinds, we???re heading in the right direction, we can???t go back to the policies of the past. Since ???the past??? had levels of economic growth and employment Barack Obama literally cannot conceive of, he was basically cutting a Romney campaign ad with this reckless rhetoric. He actually invited people to vote for Romney if they want to go back to those old policy relics of a day when the national debt was $5 trillion smaller, the American workforce was vastly larger, and gasoline cost half as much. If there had been voting booths at the President???s venue, they would have been demolished in the stampede??? assuming anyone was still awake by that point in the endless, droning Obama oration.
This speech went on so long that it might have been the first recorded attempt to filibuster an election. He advanced no new ideas of his own. The Republican National Committee playfully created a commemorative Web site, obamasnewideastofixeconomy.com, which consists of nothing but a blank notepad with a flashing cursor. Bored TV networks, other than the faithful lapdogs at MSNBC, started cutting away halfway through the speech.
A recently-awakened Rip Van Winkle??? well, he would have fallen back asleep sometime during the fourth hour of Obama???s speech, but if he???d been able to keep his eyes open, he would have concluded the only problem with the American economy is that we don???t have enough unionized public-school teachers.
The bulk of the speech was a long ramble about the horrid collapse awaiting America if we dare to trim government spending back to somewhere in the vicinity of the staggering sums Congress was spending by the time George Bush left office. For the first time in a very long time, the President actually mentioned the hated ObamaCare, using it in the same context basket-case European social democracies use their government-run medical systems: threatening the populace with sickness and death if they dare to reclaim their health-care liberty.
One would never guess from this speech that America totters on the brink of insolvency, or that Barack Obama personally racked up more debt than any of his predecessors, or indeed most of them combined. Forward, to the New New Deal! Just tell your children to stop whining and pay the bills.
It???s a little weird to hear this President scaremongering about the likely failure of his opponents??? plans, when his are such utter and complete failures by his own standards. Unemployment is far worse than he predicted it would be without his stimulus. He once assured Americans that he???d be a one-term president, if his plans turned out as badly as they have. In fact, on the very same spot where he delivered his Cleveland speech, Bill Clinton declared in 2010, ???Give us two more years. If it doesn???t work, vote us out.???
???What???s holding us back is a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different views of which direction America should take, and this election year is your chance to break that stalemate,??? said Obama, clearly forgetting about his and Clinton???s past boasts of success-by-2012-or-bust. As it happens, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) just today made a video of himself standing behind a table covered with all the pro-growth bills Barack Obama and his party have stalemated:
It???s no surprise that each side would like to portray the other as obstructionist. What Obama???s world-view betrays is that he doesn???t even understand the false choice he???s offering. America is not hungry for a different set of hands to fine-tune the wobbling machinery of Big Government, which threatens to explode in a cloud of debt fumes and dependency shrapnel at any moment.
Obama???s government has been stalemating us. We citizens hold the entrepreneurial ideas and investment strategies that can create growth and produce real, health, necessary jobs. We???re not waiting for politicians to get up from their negotiating tables. We want them to get out of the way.
The President sneered at his opponents??? ???no-holds-barred, government-is-the-enemy, market-is-everything approach.??? A shorter, more elegant word for that is liberty. Indeed, liberty is a rough and tumble proposition, in which many ideas are tried without guarantee of success, and some of them fail. Government is our friend when it patrols the perimeter of that free market, to enforce the law and protect our individual rights??? none of which place obligations against the liberty of others.
But government, by definition, does become the enemy when it enters the marketplace. It is the enemy of all who would resist its commands, or assert the right to retain what politicians desire. It is the enemy of everyone who seeks fair competition with the government???s very special ???friends.??? Garbage like Obama???s ???green energy??? programs are a declaration of war against everyone who dissents, for the objective is domination, not competition.
Obama was grudgingly willing to admit that government doesn???t have the answers to all of our problems in Cleveland today. What he still doesn???t understand is that the rightful duty of the American government does not involve coming up with answers to whatever ???problems??? it chooses to address. The government is supposed to defend millions of Americans who are brimming with answers??? some of which are incorrect. We can all look forward to the look of astonishment on former President Obama???s face when he sees what we can do without him.
Update: Obama’s speech drew a swiftly thrown brickbat from Democrat Rep. Mark Critz of Pennsylvania, who is running a very tight re-election race in 2012: “President Obama and others in Washington need to realize that we cannot spend our way to prosperity, and that to in order to create jobs, we need to address unfair trade deals that ship jobs overseas, and enact policies that allow us to take advantage of our vast natural resources, such as coal and natural gas in a safe and responsible manner which will lower energy costs and create jobs. Approving the Keystone XL pipeline would be a good first step.”
I can feel that “stalemate” breaking already!