President Barack Obama gave a well-publicized speech this afternoon that signaled a campaign reboot. After failing to land successful attacks on Governor Romney using women or Bain Capital, his campaign needed something big. The speech promised to redefine the election and set the stage for the next five months. Unfortunately, nothing the President said was that new, groundbreaking, or remotely accurate.
From the very start the President got off on the wrong foot. He agreed with Mr. Romney that this election would be about the future of the U.S. economy. He said, “this election presents a choice between two fundamentally different visions of how to create strong, sustained growth; how to pay down our long-term debt; and most of all, how to generate good, middle-class jobs.”
The problem with this statement is that it assumes Mr. Obama has not been President for three and a half years already. He says the election is about “strong, sustained growth”? Then look at the meager GDP figures he currently presides over. If it’s about paying down our debt, then look no further than the five trillion dollars he added to it. But if this election is about creating “good, middle class jobs,” then look at the over 23 million Americans who are unemployed, workers who have been out of work for most or all of his entire Presidency. On every score, Mr. Obama must perform the political equivalent of Kabuki Theater to convince America that his record during the last four years provides any sort of compelling evidence for four more.
His first act is to embellish the events he inherited from George W. Bush. Even though this has been his oldest line of attack while in the White House, it still just reeks of blame shifting and is in stark contrast to President Truman’s “The buck stops here”. To Mr. Obama, the buck still resides at a ranch in Crawford, Texas. Regardless of his blatant historical rewrite of President Bush’s term, the mere fact he continues to blame Mr. Bush as a prerequisite for every policy proposal is laughable and silly.
Next, the President began to smear Mr. Romney and tie him to the Republicans in Congress. Mr. Obama laid out what he considers to be Romney’s plan for economic growth. With a good amount of straw in his arguments, he claimed Mr. Romney would, “eliminate most regulations, cut taxes by trillions of dollars, strip down government to national security and few other basic functions, then the power of businesses to create jobs and prosperity will be unleashed and that will automatically benefit us all.”
Mr. Obama ignores the fact that his new regulatory structure, some of which has not even been written yet, acts as a yellow or red light to business investment and growth. It’s simple: If you don’t know the rules of the game, you probably aren’t going to start to play. But that basic logic is couched by President Obama as, “10 million college students would lose an average of a thousand dollars each on financial aid. 200,000 children would lose the chance to get an early education in the Head Start program. There would be 1,600 fewer medical research grants for things like Alzheimer’s and cancer and AIDS; 4,000 fewer scientific research grants, eliminating support for 48,000 researchers, students and teachers.” It’s just plain political distortion of the worst order. It’s ‘Medi-scare’ gone Presidential.
But not to fear, because President Obama reassures us that “I am giving you an honest presentation of what [Romney’s] proposing… This is not spin. This is not my opinion. These are facts.” It is there that his speech gets truly ridiculous. No, Mr. President. Everything that was said today was opinion. Everything that was said today was spin. None of it was particularly honest or factual. It was campaign rhetoric written by a campaign that can’t run on their record. That same rhetoric was used in 2009, 2010, 2011, and now 2012. So, come to think of it, there was one thing President Obama said today that was absolutely accurate: “There is nothing new.”