Have you heard the latest from the Obama re-election team?
Mitt Romney doesn’t have enough of his money taken from him in taxes. Paul Ryan wants to give rich people a tax “break.” Mitt Romney cut jobs when he was an executive at a private equity firm. Paul Ryan wants to cut school lunches for needy children.
You’ve probably seen and heard it all before. Romney and Ryan are scary, “extreme,” and out of touch, according to Team Obama. The President, Vice President, and all their operatives and surrogates are committed to getting the word out.
But while the President and his friends are adept at making rhetorical attacks on Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, it’s an infrequent occurrence when they offer any reasons why the President should be re-elected. So what, really, is the case for an Obama re-election victory? We know why the President dislikes the Romney-Ryan ticket (and Republicans, generally). But why do we need another four years of Barack Obama as our President? “Because Mitt Romney is terrible,” seems to be the implied answer.
Try searching for remarks from the President about what he intends to do in a second term, and you won’t find much. This is because he hasn’t said much on the topic. Most of the President’s comments these days are disparaging remarks about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and not about his agenda - although he did note in an Associated Press interview on August 25th that if he is elected to a second term, he believes there are Republicans in the House and Senate who will compromise and work with him to “get things done” for the country.
I did, however, receive a recent email update from the Obama campaign, a portion of which read like this: “President Obama believes the only way to create an economy built to last is to build it from the middle out and not from the top down. His economic plan is to restore middle-class security by paying down our debt in a balanced way that ensures everyone pays their fair share. Yet the President also wants to still invest in things we need to create jobs and grow our economy over the long term, things like education, energy, innovation, and infrastructure.”
This little blurb should raise some big questions. First, we should all ask “who is seeking a ‘top-down’ approach to the economy?” The answer, of course, is the President himself.
Within less than two years of taking office, President Obama successfully put in to place a system of tremendous governmental control over the otherwise private economy. By the middle of 2010, the President had become a de-facto C.E.O. over huge chunks of the economy, with the power to hire and fire executives, establish compensation limits for executive management, and to determine what products and services are produced. Insurance companies, car manufacturers, lending institutions and energy producers – President Obama has successfully forced his will upon them all.
So has all this governmental control created an economy that is “built to last?” We should also ask the Obama campaign emailers “how does the extra $6 trillion in U.S. government debt (roughly the amount of federal debt increase since the President’s first day in office) help pay down the debt?” And what about the $813 billion stimulus bill of 2009 – that was supposed to be an “investment” in innovation, infrastructure and education – where did that money go? Wasn’t that supposed to be “invested” in important things? And what happened to “shovel ready jobs” – were there any “created?”
A quick check of Democrats.org, the national party’s website, also reveals a list of other specific policy ideas that the President allegedly supports, yet he isn’t talking about them these days. One such policy has to do with energy independence, as the Democrats claim that “President Obama knows we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” and that President Obama is focused on “developing all of America’s natural resources...”
Of course, the President himself said late last year and earlier this year that he is committed to an “all of the above” approach to energy policy, implying that he’s okay with petroleum-based energy, along with the alternative energy development that he’s promoted.
This sounded great- but the President isn’t saying this anymore. This is probably because an “all of the above” approach to energy, we now know, means “anything except Big Oil” within the Obama worldview – hence the President’s veto on the Keystone XL Pipeline project that could have reduced America’s reliance on oil from other continents and could have created jobs from the Canadian border all the way down to Texas. The President and his friends would prefer to ignore this here within the last ten weeks of the election cycle, so they simply don’t talk about it – better to remind everyone about the scary and terrible Romney and Ryan.
Historically, Americans haven’ been content to merely vote against a particular idea or candidate – they generally prefer to vote for someone or something, even if they are choosing the lesser between two “evils.” Will President Obama defy the odds this year – or will Americans be more scrutinizing?