Donald Lambro

But these tax-cut proposals are coming woefully late in this recession and still do not address the Mount Everest of all tax-cut issues: Obama's plan to allow the top income tax rate jump to nearly 40 percent at the end of December. If these new proposals are needed to spur growth and create jobs, why didn't he propose them at the beginning of 2009?

The president says his administration didn't fully realize the depth of the recession and how serious it was, a remarkable admission of its failure to fully grapple with the transparent realities of an economy that were there for everyone to see.

Last week, Christina Romer, the abruptly departing chairwoman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, admitted she didn't have the slightest idea how bad the economic collapse would be, and says she still doesn't understand why it was far more severe than she expected.

"To this day, economists don't fully understand why firms cut production as much as they did or why they cut labor so much more than they normally would," she said last week at the National Press Club. Well, maybe White House economists didn't see it, but many others did.

Meantime, there was Obama in Milwaukee at a Labor Day rally, still trying to find some political traction for his year-old attacks on the GOP. "Their slogan is 'No, we can't. No, no, no. No.'"

But Republicans have made numerous pro-growth proposals on Capitol Hill and will be rolling out their jobs agenda later this month as the midterm elections get fully under way. The White House may not want to recognize this, but the voters like what they are hearing from the GOP -- including keeping all of Bush tax cuts in place at the end of the year.

A Washington Post poll published Tuesday asked voters if they think it is better to have Democrats in control of Congress to support Obama's policies or for the Republicans to be in charge as a check on the president's agenda. A whopping 55 percent said they preferred Republicans, while 39 percent said they want Democrats to keep control of Congress. The Republicans' 16-point advantage is twice what it was in July.

Call it executive inexperience, hubris or policymaking arrogance, Obama has stubbornly refused to give up on his failed $800 billion stimulus plan, defending its impotent expenditures no matter how weak the economy became or how few jobs were being created.

Now, with his party on the brink of losing control of Congress -- and his presidency in peril -- he is pulling some long-held GOP ideas off the shelf in a move that smacks of crass political maneuvering and policymaking desperation. A little too late for that now.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.