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Works and Days

Tuning Out a President

July 8th, 2012 - 10:54 pm

Bush Did It All

We have created four million new jobs since January 2009 which is cited as an impressive statistic, although we have also lost far more than four million old jobs, which is why a half million fewer Americans are at work today than in January 2009 — which is nevertheless supposedly good news given that more jobs were “saved” than would have been lost. In olden times, “It’s the economy, stupid” was the reply to 3% plus GDP growth under Bush I, and a “jobless recovery” was the charge against Bush II’s 5.4% unemployment rate. What name does 1.9% GDP growth and 41 months of 8% plus unemployment merit? Or in other words, since a younger Barack Obama damned the Bush record of job creation as dismal in creating only 310,000 jobs per month, what he would say of his own record of 80,000 jobs this month — a number 5,000 smaller than those added to the monthly disability roles? And does anyone remember Obama’s promise of “5 million new green jobs,” or cutting the deficit “in half” by the end of Obama’s first term? You should, since the candidate who swore there should be no more red or blue states declared George W. Bush “unpatriotic” for running up a $4 trillion debt in eight years, which he then trumped in three.

Don’t/Do Drill

This is all so confusing. We have vastly curtailed granting new federal leases for gas and oil exploration in order to discourage fossil fuels, while subsidizing wind and solar. But as the former failed and cost us billions of dollars, gas and oil production on private land skyrocketed despite, not because of, the Obama administration — which now takes no credit for the green energy it squandered, but for America’s increased oil and gas development it ignored. Gas went over $4 a gallon at about the same time that it was announced that newly found U.S. shale oil reserves and natural gas finds now mean the U.S. (with the largest coal reserves) is sitting atop the largest fossil fuel resources in the world. To understand a Solyndra, remember that the president promised that coal-generated electricity plants would bankrupt their owners, that electricity rates would skyrocket, that proper tire pressure would preclude new drilling, and that he might enact the cap and trade protocols the Senate rejected — even as his energy secretary wished gas to reach European price levels.

No One Left to Teleprompter to?

Again, examine any current topic — green jobs, the Chevy Volt, cash for clunkers, the stimulus, tax hikes, ObamaCare, unemployment, amnesty, the debt, the deficits, race relations — and more or less incoherence follows. Either things have gotten worse or what Obama says is either untrue or not consistent with what he earlier had asserted. The result is that when he starts one of those long teleprompted orations, with the dropped g’s and the faux-African-American preaching patois, we still are impressed how the cadences can package the rather empty content and serial half-truths.

None of the above means that Barack Obama is necessarily going to lose the election, and here is why, given the following paradoxes. There are roughly now two groups of tune-outs: the first are the 50% who are either partisan opponents or who have had it with a president who does not speak the truth and blames his own failures on others. The second are the 50% who likewise don’t pay much attention to Obama’s rhetoric anymore, but they assume that mortgage bailouts; loan forgiveness; massive public hiring; more food stamps, unemployment insurance, and disability payments; freedom from income tax; racial and class resentments; and more still all offer, for the poorer, welcome material, and, for the richer, psychic and philosophical, recompense.

In other words, supporters, both the poor and rich, don’t worry all that much what Obama says, but focus instead only on the fact that he either wishes them to have more government stuff or abhors the same people they’ve always abhorred.

But either way, both the president’s critics and his supporters now are tuning him out.

(Thumbnail image on PJM homepage by Shutterstock.com.)

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