He was a half hour late. His head turned from side to side as if he were attending a tennis match. He practically never looked in the camera, as if he were averting our gaze. And those were the strong parts of President Obama’s disastrous speech.
It was a bit like a slow-motion car crash. After a while, one stopped listening to the blather and simply watched the stock ticker go down and down. And down some more.
Obama had all weekend and the best he could come up with was a reiteration of his plea for a “balanced” approach to deficit control. That’s right. We have a tumbling stock market, over 9 percent unemployment and a flight to gold (some investment advisers say it will be at $2,500 per ounce by year’s end). All he can do is promise to raise taxes.
Now that’s not exactly right. He did trot our proposals for a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut and extension of unemployment benefits. And he promised to make his own proposal to the debt committee. That’s it. It is what he has been saying for what seems like forever. He has nothing new.
He did say one indisputably true thing: The downgrade was more a comment on our political dysfunction than on our ability to repay our debts. That is the dysfunction that he has presided over. That is the paralysis he perpetuated by insisting for months on tax increases. He was describing his own disastrous tenure as president.
This illuminated Obama’s predicament — devoid of ideas, bitter about political opposition and completely in over his head. If the election were held today, I bet he’d lose. By a lot.