Just before setting off for San Francisco, I skimmed Peter Wehner’s piece in Commentary where he probed something other conservative pundits and bloggers (including yours truly) have observed, the contrast between the President’s description of himself and his actual record–and even rhetoric.
Obama, as Wehner puts it, portrays
. . . himself as America’s philosopher-king, the person standing not only above country but above politics itself [who is] uniquely able to transcend old, tired, and rutted debates, to think anew, and to bring a fresh, creative approach to the problems of our time.
Yet, the Democrat repeatedly dismisses Republicans as offering only “tired,” “worn” and “old” ideas, often misrepresenting those ideas by reducing the range of GOP proposals to tax cuts:
You got a problem with health care: tax cuts. You got problem with education: tax cuts. You got a problem with the economy: tax cuts. Poverty: tax cuts. That’s not a policy, it’s a dogma, a tired and cynical philosophy.
At the same time, he offers ideas which are little more than the recycled liberalism of the past three-quarters of a century or so–increase government spending and federal regulation. So, we could paraphrase Obama to criticize his own record in office:
You got a problem with health care: more government spending & increased regulation. You got problem with education: more government spending & increased regulation. You got a problem with the economy: more government spending & increased regulation. Poverty: more government spending & increased regulation. That’s not a policy, it’s a dogma, a tired and cynical philosophy.
And in each case where he proposes a solution, he’s adopting a policy which has been tried before, either here or abroad–and has failed.
Yes, his predecessor did propose tax cuts without corresponding cuts in federal domestic expenditures, but other Republicans, including his 2008 rival for the White House, have proposed far more comprehensive policies.
If he were truly the transcendent politician he claims to be, he would regularly do (as he has done on occasion) and acknowledge that conservatives have put forward such policies and criticize their proposals on the merits. He also should address the failures of past policies similar to his own and demonstrate how he has adapted these ideas to contemporary circumstances, so as to guarantee their success this time around.
Right now, all we see is the same tired, old statist solutions.
It would be nice if the president based his proposals on policies which actually succeeded.