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Obama Came to a Fork in the Road and Took It

September 2nd, 2011 - 10:12 am

Will President Obama’s Thursday address be the worst speech ever? Kevin Hassett almost thinks so:

It might be that this jobs report stimulates the Obama team to drop all the Keynesian nonsense, but I doubt it. Frankly, I expect Obama’s jobs speech to be the worst presidential speech in my lifetime.

I don’t know how old Kevin is, but my lifetime stretches back to Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” speech of 1979. The Washington Post‘s David Nakamura remembers it, too:

Obama is not Carter. But when asked if there were historical parallels between the high stakes Obama is facing in his big jobs speech to Congress at 7 p.m. next Thursday, some presidential historians made the connection to Carter’s moment three decades ago.

“It was a make-or-break speech,” said John Kenneth White, a political science professor at Catholic University. Carter had “gone to Camp David to assess what had gone wrong in the energy crisis, but also what had gone wrong with his presidency, to hit the restart button.”

Obama is scheduled to go to Camp David on Friday for two days, the same day that the newest job report shows unemployment holding at 9.1. percent.

Presidential historians said Obama has raised the stakes by scheduling such a highly anticipated address before a joint session of Congress. An address in the Oval Office could last less than 15 minutes, they said, but gathering both chambers of Congress means the president will have to present something substantial.

Substantial? Perhaps. But will Obama’s proposals be substantially different from his policies of the last two-plus years?

On the negative, you have the appointment of Alan Krueger as the president’s top economic advisor. As we’ve discussed before, here and on PJTV, Krueger is Austan Goolsbee is Christina Romer. I have a better track record on Obamanomics than any of these Ivy-pruned jokers. (Also see here and here.) And it’s not like the president has announced a cabinet shakeup or fired any of his army of czars.

It’s not looking too good so far.

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