The Obama Watch

A Structurally Deficient Bridge to Nowhere

Obama's credibility continues to crumble, shovel ready enough to be buried.

By 9.15.11

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Barack Obama's expertise lies not in creating jobs but in losing them. In pre-Obama days, employees of a company would have looked forward to a presidential visit; now they probably tremble in fear of one. In May of 2010, employees of Solyndra lined up to hear the visiting president praise their company as a "testament to the ingenuity" of America. Two weeks ago, 1,100 of those employees lost their jobs after the solar panel maker declared bankruptcy.

Solyndra is a testament not to the ingenuity of America but to the credulity and corruption of Washington. The American taxpayer is now liable for the company's $535 million loan that the White House pressured the Office of Management and Budget to bless. A credit-rating agency predicted Solyndra would go belly up by this year, but harried OMB staffers had to ignore such warnings and sign off on the loan quickly so that Joe Biden and Steven Chu could speak at its groundbreaking.

By the time Obama arrived in 2010, auditors had already questioned its status as a "going concern," reports the Washington Post. That Obama showed up anyways indicates the depth of the administration's incompetence and ideological blindness.

This week Obama fell understandably silent about the urgency of "green jobs," shifting his attention to another phony enthusiasm of the moment -- fixing America's infrastructure. "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected," he said not long ago after he received a briefing on the lengthy permit process for construction projects. But now he is back to the same line, saying that shovel-ready jobs exist to repair bridges, schools, and roads. "There are construction projects like these all across the country just waiting to get started," he said in Ohio.

Selling his structurally deficient bridges to the gullible, however, is proving difficult, including in liberal Brooklyn. Obama cost the Democrats New York's 9th congressional district on Tuesday. Democrats had held the district since before the Great Depression. But Obama's economy is demoralizing enough to convince even Democrats to vote Republican.

Flummoxed, Democratic Party leaders are falling back on desperate spin. "It is a very difficult district for Democrats," says DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Never mind that Anthony Weiner, one of the most stridently liberal members of Congress, occupied it easily until his sexting scandal.

Democratic leaders are also dusting off the "local" issues spin that they had tried out in 2009 after Obama cost them governorships in blue New Jersey and purple Virginia. This explanation ignores that Bob Turner's opponent, David Weprin, had nationalized the race by trying to tar Turner as a Tea Partier. Turner is an advocate for "Tea Party budget ideas," said Weprin's ads. "My opponent is identified with the Tea Party element of the Republican Party that clearly has held our country hostage," Weprin said at a debate.

Weprin tacitly acknowledged that Obama posed a problem for him by not asking for his help. Bill Clinton and Andrew Cuomo lent a hand, but Obama was nowhere to be found. Cuomo's gay marriage legislation, which Weprin supported, didn't help matters, as Orthodox Jews, disenchanted with Weprin on that issue and others related to Israel, ended up voting for the Catholic Republican over the Jewish Democrat. So much for the recent prognostications that gay marriage is now a politically safe position for the Dems.

Democratic strategists who are not bothering to spin this one fret that the party lost not only usually reliable Jewish voters but also Catholic ones. They interpret that as a particularly troubling harbinger for 2012. Meanwhile, the president's press secretary, Jay Carney, tells reporters to move on, that there is nothing to see here in this "unique" and meaningless special election. According to this spin, the one safe job in Obama's economy is his own.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.