Remember how the president's "major address" this afternoon was supposed to contain a significant "reframing" of his economic message heading into November? White House officials hyped this speech as a meaningful shift in rhetoric and approach, even as they conceded the president's comments would contain no new ideas. They were correct on the latter point, but astonishingly, the president didn't even follow through on the former pledge -- which was ostensibly the entire purpose of the speech. Obama essentially repackaged the exact same speech he delivered in April, but inserted the names "Romney" and "Bush" a few more times. Same tendentious arguments, same disingenuous analogies, same examples, same strawmen. Read all 6,300 words (!) HERE. I could waste my time writing another detailed rebuttal to all of the distortions and inanities embedded in today's presidential remarks, but I've already done so. Feel free to go back and read my April piece -- it really was thorough, and took quite a long time to craft. If you don't have the time to do so, rest assured that this president has no new ideas, nor any clue about how to effectively rebrand his stale ones. The RNC is already having a field day, rolling out a new website that needles Obama for his intellectual and leadership bankruptcy: http://obamasnewideastofixeconomy.com/
In short, this address essentially tried to cast Obama as the challenger, and George W. Romney as the nefarious incumbent. He complained about the terrible Bush years (average unemployment: 5.2 percent, average deficit: less than $300 Billion), conflated conservative economic policies with the 2008 meltdown (the true causes of which are a), and said that the asserted economy is very much on the mend (James Carville, call your office). He whined about Republican obstructionism (I exploded that red herring earlier), and called for more "infrastructure investments" to fix "crumbling roads and bridges" as if the massive Stimulus 1.0 never happened. "Fair shares" and "balanced approaches" abounded, not to mention more dire warnings of "draconian" Republican cuts. (These "cuts" actually increase spending, but at a slower rate). The only interesting twist this speech offered was the president's suggestion that Novembers election was a chance for voters to break Washington's "stalemate." There's some truth to this. Bush-fatigued voters elected an inexperienced, charismatic cipher in 2008. When he and his Congressional allies exploited their huge majorities to pass the stimulus and Obamacare, the public had seen enough. They sent 68 new Republicans to Congress in 2010. I suppose you could say 2012 might be the tiebreaker. I'll leave you with three items:
(1) Obama spoke about paying down the national debt in a "responsible" and "balanced" manner. Here's how his unanimously-defeated budget proposed to do so (actually, it proposed no such thing, as it never balances):
(2) Another RNC creation, mischieviously reminding the president why he isn't running on his record:
(3) Lefty Jonathan Alter dumping all over Obama's speech on MSNBC:
"One of the least successful speeches I've seen Barack Obama give in several years."
UPDATE - This is a snippet from the much shorter, teleprompter-free "pre-buttal" speech Mitt Romney delivered earlier this afternoon. Romney and the president are both in Ohio today:
"Talk is cheap." No kidding. This fall's debates are going to be fun.
UPDATE - Obama's "major economic speeches," by the numbers. Highlight: He's now eclipsed 50,000 words.
UPDATE II - During the president's 54-minute diatribe, the national debt increased by approximately $150,000,000.00