Streetcar Line

If Only Obama Would Abdicate

This man's act is stale and counterproductive.

By 8.22.11

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This boringly ineffective would-be demagogue in the Oval Office keeps trotting out the same tired, petty, counterfactual lines in every one of his pompous, detached-from-reality speeches -- and he did so again in his Saturday radio address. So shopworn is his refrain, and so counterproductive are his policies (both enacted and proposed), that the markets tank just about every time he opens his mouth, and the economy suffers with each minute he continues to occupy the White House. His resignation from office, in abject embarrassment at his failures, would be a great first step toward economic recovery, not to mention a balm to the souls of tens of millions of Americans sick of his condescension, his prevarications, and his incompetence.

Of course this man's ego won't let him resign, but just think: Vice President Joe Biden, for all his blarney, is a naturally ebullient "people person," a dealmaker, and more a conventional liberal politician than an ideologue. If he ascended to the presidency, the markets would immediately take heart that some sort of rough progress could be fashioned despite Washington's bitter divide. His tone alone would improve the confidence of both consumers and investors and help unleash the "animal spirits" that are necessary for an economy to grow.

Let Barack The One Obama take his hectoring lecturing back to some university classroom somewhere, while the rest of us get about the business of reviving the country we so love. Ahh, we can only wish….

That aforementioned radio address, so beneath what should be the tone and message of an American president that it was downright tawdry, bears some analysis to demonstrate just how far this man has sunk.

His "blame-everybody-but-me" routine started in his first substantive paragraph after the usual opening niceties. "I think our country would be a whole lot better off," said our national School Marm, "if our elected leaders showed the same kind of discipline and integrity and responsibility that most Americans demonstrate in their lives every day…. we need folks in Washington -- the people whose job it is to deal with the country's problems, the people who you elected to serve -- we need them to put aside their differences to get things done."

To which the obvious response is, Wait, isn't Obama himself not only one of "our elected leaders" but the pre-eminent one, at least by title and responsibilities? Is he himself exempt from "putting aside differences"? The man speaks as if he's still an outsider, an observer, rather than one of the most vociferous of all Washington's ideological hard-liners and the absolute king of hardball, compromise-be-damned practitioners of black political arts. (Obamacare, anyone? Where was the compromise and good will in its legislative legerdemain and its bare, one-vote majority?)

As for discipline and responsibility, such bromides don't carry much moral weight when they come from a guy who has yet to put forth a budget this year that earned even a single vote from his own party, who never put forth an actual plan on paper to solve the debt-ceiling crisis, and who vacations with the rich and famous in Martha's Vineyard while asking taxpayers to pick up the tab for a second plane for the Obama family, which was just the latest in taxpayer-funded extravagances for the First Lady.

But back to his radio remarks: After then proposing some ineffectual policy prescriptions (about which, more in a moment), The One continued in this same vein (or was it this vain?). As in: "The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That's the problem right now. That's what's holding this country back. That's what we have to change."

Now I get it. Why wasn't it clear before now? If you don't like Obama's own ideas, you can't possibly be motivated by any honorable considerations. The only thing that can motivate the supreme being's opponents is politics of the crassest kind -- so benighted, indeed, that it amounts to selling out one's country. But if everybody would stop selling out their country for partisan gain, everything would suddenly be hunky-dory -- because, you see, it is only this unpatriotic partisanship that is "the problem right now" and the only thing "holding this country back."

I'm glad we cleared that up. I somehow thought the problem was overwhelming debt piled on by Obama, outrageous regulatory burdens imposed by Obama, and the bursting of an asset bubble caused by a combination of moronic Federal Reserve policies and horrendous housing policies pushed by mostly liberal politicians and by the Democratic profiteers who ran Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It's nice to know we can fix things, instead, just by stifling and hamstringing the unpatriotic politicians who dare to tell Obama he can't rule by oh-so-benevolent fiat.

It's all so simple. For instance, Mr. "This Was the Moment" Obama says we should extend his temporary cut in payroll taxes. Hmm…. Fat lot of good that has done us so far. Cutting payroll taxes takes money dedicated to Social Security and replaces it in Social Security's paper accounts with non-existent money from the general fund which then is chalked up to the overall deficit and debt, all while doing almost nothing to change the actual incentives for economic behavior. Every time we try one of these temporary tax cuts or "rebates," the benefits for the overall economy prove as ephemeral as the supposedly shovel-ready jobs from the Obama "stimulus" package that Obama himself, ever-so-jocularly, finally admitted weren't shovel-ready after all. We're still waiting for those jobs, and we're still waiting for any tangible macro-economic benefits from the current payroll-tax cut, yet Obama wants us to extend the ineffective cut again because, well, it's like giving out free money.

Then Obama says, "And let's pass trade deals to level the playing field for our businesses." He is referring to long-ago-negotiated agreements with firm allies Colombia, Panama, and South Korea -- with our stalwart friends in Colombia especially needing the agreements as they try to be a bulwark of freedom against the scourge of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and against vicious drug lords.

Great idea! Finally something we can all agree on! There's just one problem: Obama himself ran on what Sean Goforth in World Policy Review called "a mildly protectionist platform," then let the deals languish without any presidential impetus for two years, then insisted that they contain additional requirements as sops to labor bosses. Oh -- and as Goforth notes, "most lingering objections come from the Democrats' side of the aisle."

But that's the Obama way: Blame everybody but yourself. Question everybody's motives but your own. Insist on renewing policies that haven't worked. Demand responsibility but accept none for yourself. Then hit the links, or a boat tour of the beach where Spielberg filmed the great white tea party shark terrorizing ordinary American "folks" just trying to stay afloat in these trying times and tides.

The truth is, it's a sad day in America when Joe Biden's blarney would be a marked improvement in Oval Office leadership.

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About the Author
Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator and a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom. Follow him on Twitter @QuinHillyer.