On Monday, when doing cardio at the gym, I looked up to catch President Obama’s speech at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. In the eighteen minutes that I watched the speech (until CNN cut away), I heard little but attacks on Republican policies, with frequent references to the middle class.
Pausing between $10,000-a-plate fundraisers for his re-election campaign, President Obama called on Congress in a highly partisan speech Tuesday to approve a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for programs for the middle class.
This “highly partisan speech” was an official speech, allowing the president to bill taxpayers for the fundraising trip to the Sunshine State, packing the 30-minute address, as he did, “in the midst of three fundraisers in the battleground state, prompting complaints by Republicans that Mr. Obama was fleecing taxpayers for campaign travel.”
In the speech, billed by the White House, as remarks on the economy, the president offered no new policies to strengthen the anemic recovery, choosing instead to fault Republicans for gutting what he calls “investments” (his terms for government grants):
They proposed a budget that showers the wealthiest Americans with even more tax cuts, and then pays for these tax cuts by gutting investments in education and medical research and clean energy, in health care.
. . . .
Now, thousands of medical research grants for things like Alzheimer’s and cancer and AIDS would be eliminated. Tens of thousands of researchers and students and teachers could lose their jobs. Our investments in clean energy that are making us less dependent on imported oil would be cut by nearly a fifth.
Note the conditional of the president’s attacks. People could lose their jobs. Investments in “clean” energy? Has he been paying attention to the number of such companies which have gone belly up (despite receiving federal grants and loan guarantees)?
Perhaps, he should have listened to his own words in that very speech when he offered a paean to scientists who when learn from their experiments which fail badly:
Sometimes you can learn from failure. That’s part of the data that teaches you stuff, that expands our knowledge. But you don’t then just keep on doing the same thing over and over again.
In promoting “clean” energy investments after all these bankruptcies sounds, he wants to do the same thing over and over again. Guess the president hasn’t yet learned from the failure of his clean energy program.
Just as he hasn’t learned from the failure of the program, he hasn’t learned from economic history, claiming, in the most derisive of terms (normally the province of blog posts and partisan operatives) that (what he dubs) the “same trickle-down theories — including members of Congress and some people who are running for a certain office right now” are “peddling” as “broken-down theories.” Well, that broken-down theory* did lead to a economic boom that begin in the early 1980s and lasted until the fourth quarter of the last decade.
Not just that, well into the last quarter of his own administration, he continues to attack his predecessor who has long since left office:
At the beginning of the last decade, the wealthiest Americans got two huge tax cuts — 2001, 2003. Meanwhile, insurance companies, financial institutions — they were all allowed to write their own rules, or find their way around rules. We were told the same thing we’re being told now — this is going to lead to faster job growth. This is going to lead to greater prosperity for everybody.
Guess what — it didn’t. (Laughter.) Yes, the rich got much richer. Corporations made big profits. But we also had the slowest job growth in half a century.
This guy is faulting someone for slow job growth?!?!? And note once again, in his address on the economy, he derides his opponents’ policies instead of promoting his own. Perhaps, he’s still running against Bush because it worked so well for him eight years ago.
So now he’s trying to do to Mitt Romney what Democrats long have done to Republicans, paint him as an extremist. “Based on his three speeches” on Monday, writes Michael Hirsch in the National Journal
. . . as well as others he has recently made–particularly the one last week before the American Society of News Editors–Obama’s strategy seems to be this: I’m going to persuade the American people to think that you, Gov. Romney, are the reincarnation of Barry Goldwater, an extremist extraordinaire both on the economy and foreign policy. One who lost in the biggest landslide in American history in 1964.
Guess he’d rather attack his opponents than defend his record, particularly given how economic performance has become his Achilles Heel. He won’t run on his record and he won’t run on proposals to reform (er, “change” Washington. “He’ll run” instead, Jennifer Rubin contends, “against prior Republicans administrations. [And w]hat he won’t do is tell us what he plans to do in a second term.”
Maybe he thinks that since attacking a Republican administration worked so well four years ago, it’s bound to work again this year. That kind of campaign does kind of tarnish his image as the candidate of change and new ideas.
*As per my previous post, what Democrats call “trickle-down” economics were the actual economic policies of the Reagan administration.