WASHINGTON -- Rushing to lock the nation into expensive health care and climate change commitments, Democrats are in an understandable frenzy because public enthusiasm for both crusades has been inversely proportional to the time the public has had to think about them. And the president pushing this agenda has, with his incontinent hunger for attention, seen his job approval vary inversely with his ubiquity. Consider his busy December -- so far.
His Dec. 1 Afghanistan speech to the nation was followed on Dec. 3 by his televised "jobs summit." His Dec. 8 televised economics speech at the Brookings Institution was followed on Dec. 10 by his televised Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, which was remarkable for 38 uses of the pronoun "I."
And for disavowing a competence no one suspected him of. ("I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war." Note the superfluous adjective.) And for an unnecessary notification. ("Evil does exist in the world.") And for delayed utopianism. ("We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes." But in someone's.) And for solemnly announcing something undisputed. (There can be a just war.) And for intellectual applesauce that should get speechwriters fired and editors hired. ("We do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected." If the human "condition" can attain perfection anyway, human nature cannot be significantly imperfect.)
Then on Dec. 13, he was on "60 Minutes" praising himself with another denigration of his predecessor, aka "the last eight years." (Blighted by "a triumphant sense about war.") When Attorney General Eric Holder announced that five accused terrorists would be tried in federal courts, he said: "After eight years of delay. ..." When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force made the controversial recommendation that women should get fewer mammograms, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said: "This panel was appointed by the prior administration, by former President George Bush." In congressional testimony, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner almost deviated from the script. He said the Obama administration began after "almost a decade" -- slight pause -- "certainly eight years of basic neglect."