President Obama took to the Rose Garden today, apparently unaware that his public appearances these days annoy and bore Americans rather than persuade them. (Actually, his skills of persuasion have never been robust, on any issue.)
Today he demanded: “On Thursday, I told Congress that I’ll be sending them a bill called the American Jobs Act. Well, here it is. This is a bill that will put people back to work all across the country. This is the bill that will help our economy in a moment of national crisis. This is a bill that is based on ideas from both Democrats and Republicans. And this is the bill that Congress needs to pass. No games. No politics. No delays. I’m sending this bill to Congress today, and they ought to pass it immediately.” His contempt for Congress runneth over.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry had this reaction in a statement: “Like the president’s failed stimulus program, this proposal offers little hope for millions of Americans who have lost jobs on his watch, and taxpayers who are rightly concerned that their children will inherit a mountain of debt. America needs jobs, smaller government, less spending and a president with the courage to offer more than yet another speech. President Obama’s call for nearly a half-trillion dollars in more government stimulus, when America has more than $14 trillion in debt, is guided by his mistaken belief that we can spend our way to prosperity.”
The president himself provided some unintentional humor when he said, “It’s not going to add a dime to the deficit. Next week, I’m laying out my plan not only to pay for this jobs bill but also to bring down the deficit further. It’s a plan that lives by the same rules that families do: We’ve got to cut out things that we can’t afford to do in order to afford the things that we really need. It’s a plan that says everybody — including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations — have to pay their fair share.” In other words, spend now, cut later. Tax only the rich people. You wonder what happens if his opponent in 2012 can explain the math.
Obama needs, among other things, new speechwriters. Much of his rhetoric has become nonsensical. “This is America. Every kid deserves a great school — and we can give it to them,” he said. “Pass this bill and we put construction crews back to work across the country repairing and modernizing at least 35,000 schools.” Even if one thought the federal government could “give” everyone a great school, do we think a new building will remedy what goes on inside?
In support of his payroll tax cut, he pronounces: “If Congress does not act, just about every family in America will pay more taxes next year. And that would be a self-inflicted wound that our economy just can’t afford right now.” Well, letting the Bush tax cuts expire would be bad too, right?
Some of it gives ”trite” a bad name: “We know what will help businesses start right here and stay here and hire here. We know that if we take the steps outlined in this jobs plan, that there’s no reason why we can’t be selling more goods all around the world that are stamped with those three words: ‘Made in America.’ That’s what we need to do to create jobs right now.” Cringe.
But most glaring of all was his constituent-group shout-out in the Rose Garden. Over here are the veterans. And here are the (unionized) teachers! Can we have a shout-out for the others — (unionized) cops and firefighters? For the man who got elected on unity, he sure knows how to carve up the electorate.
In the end, however, his problem is unavoidable. He says: “Folks are out of work. Businesses are having trouble staying open. You’ve got a world economy that is full of uncertainty right now — in Europe, in the Middle East. Some events may be beyond our control, but this is something we can control.” His GOP opponents no doubt would reply: “Yeah, the economy stinks. Thank goodness the American people can control who occupies the White House.”