I will be held accountable…Look, if I can't turn the economy around in three years; I will be looking at a one-term proposition." -Barack Obama, The Today Show, Feb. 2, 2009
Apparently the President thinks he has fulfilled the above pledge to turn the economy around. Not only is he campaigning 24-7 for a second term, but he recently declared, "The truth of the matter is…the private sector is doing fine." The absurdity of that statement caused dozens of high profile Democrats to distance themselves from The One, and many to begin to openly criticize his campaign strategy.
The White House and much of the media tried to explain away the preposterous "doing fine" statement as simply a gaffe. Later that same day, the President tried to explain what he really meant, and over the weekend his surrogates were in major damage control mode. It didn't work.
David Axelrod, the chief strategist for the campaign, appeared on CNN's State of the Union supposedly to pull Obama out of the ditch, but instead he dug it deeper. When asked by Candy Crowley, "Is the private sector doing fine?" Axelrod said, "We need to accelerate job creation in the private sector. One of the ways we can do that is putting teachers, firefighters, and police back to work." An obviously stunned Crowley responded, "That's the public sector!" To which Axelrod only doubled down saying, "But, that will help accelerate the recovery."
Axelrod was really just repeating what the President had said two days before. After proclaiming the private sector was "doing fine", Obama went on to say, "Where we're seeing weakness in our economy [has] to do with state and local government." That he said was the fault of "cuts initiated by governors and mayors" as they scrambled to deal with declining revenues during the prolonged and deep recession.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said it was an "outrage" for Obama to blame state and local governments for the nation's economic woes. "He has the audacity to stand up this morning and say that it's the nation's governors and mayors who are driving our economy down by not hiring enough people for government work," Christie said.
Government and more government is all that Team Obama knows or cares about. Obama's "doing fine" absurdity wasn't a mistake – it was a remarkable confession of his disdain for America's free-market economy.
Government can never be the problem for Barack Obama – only the solution. And, Obama can't comprehend that not everyone appreciates his genius. According to an in depth analysis of the current campaign by Real Clear Politics, Obama "has expressed alarm that Romney has attracted public support with his push for lower taxes, smaller government, less regulation and a market-governed and state-based health care system." Imagine that…a Presidential candidate who sounds more like Ronald Reagan than Francois Mitterrand is gaining public support? And, Obama is "alarmed."
As bizarre as the President's "doing fine" declaration about the private sector seemed, it actually provided a window to his soul. His two books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, drip with disregard and contempt for America's free-market system. Like his father and so many of his mentors and role models, Barack Obama believes that the capitalistic economy of America and Western Civilization is the root of the world's evils. The private sector, he believes, has routinely abused "people like him" and exploited the poor and their resources in the developing nations of the world.
Further, even a casual read of his books reveals that Barack Obama sees everything through a black-and-white prism. For him, racism explains everything. The free-market system, as he sees it, is dominated by white men at the expense of blacks. It has been used to enslave, exploit, and permanently suppress blacks in his view.
Barack Obama can't say all of this so candidly as President, of course, so he gives lip-service to the need to "strengthen" the economy and "save-or-create" jobs. His only interest in the private sector is to pay the tab for his obsession to grow government.
The President's disdain for the private sector evolved not from personal experience – he never had any - but, by his assimilation of the ideology of his estranged father, his often absent mother, his Kenyan relatives, and his America-hating minister Jeremiah Wright. This becomes obvious in his books. There is no mention of Friedrich Hayek or Milton Friedman.
Obama had no small-business parent as a role model. Most of his formative years were spent in Hawaii and Indonesia – not exactly Abilene, Kansas. In Dreams from My Father, Obama also makes it clear that his brief trip to Kenya to visit his father's grave and limited interaction with relatives profoundly affected and solidified his beliefs.
Whether the American private sector free-market economy is healthy or weak, growing or contracting, creating jobs or shedding them, it is of little real interest to Barack Obama. He is motivated and driven by an entirely different agenda.
The President is so detached, so disinterested in the American private sector that as long as one exists in any condition it is "fine" as far as he is concerned. It is like the analysis of a golf swing by someone who knows – or cares – nothing about the game. As long as the club contacts the ball, the swing must be "fine."
It's like someone who never owned or cared for animals declaring a pen of cattle to be "doing fine" after only a drive-by glance out of the car window with no regard for whether the animals are healthy, well-fed, or of good genetic quality.
It's like deciding children in a classroom are "doing fine" with only a snapshot of them in their seats and quiet with no regard for whether they are actually learning and in a safe, wholesome environment.
When Barack Obama said "the private sector is doing fine," he really meant "I don't care how the private sector is doing." It is of no real concern to him beyond how it might affect his re-election chances. That is the only reason – at least until November 6 – that he has to appear somewhat interested in the private sector economy.
That is why on Thursday, June 14 Obama took another shot at delivering what the White House billed as a "major speech" on the economy. This was to clear the air following the brouhaha that erupted from the "doing fine" fallout. He failed, again, even according to his usually blindly adoring friends in the media.
Andrew Rosenthal, editor of the editorial page of the New York Times, said the speech was "really long and dreary." Jonathan Alter, the former senior editor of Newsweek and now with the Bloomberg View, interviewed on MSNBC called it, "one of the least successful speeches I've seen Barack Obama give in several years. It was long winded…lost the thread…lost his audience by the end."
Even with the aid of a teleprompter, Obama can't seem to speak credibly about fixing something he neither understands nor respects.
So, what of his in-your-face 2009 boast to fix the economy or be a one term President? "Now, he's essentially saying it's an eight year proposition," mocked CNN's John King. Instead of admitting his policies have been wrong and that he has failed, Obama is back to blaming George W. Bush – along with the aforementioned governors, mayors, the Europeans and anybody else that comes to mind. But, that's not going so well, either.
Following the Cleveland speech, CNN's chief political analyst Gloria Borger said, "They [the American people] don't want a President who whines about what a terrible situation he's in and woe is me. They want somebody who can lead us out of it."
Borger is right. Obama was elected on his promise to lead America out of the recession, not convince us of how we got here. In the summer of 2009, he was the one who announced that the recession was over, that he had "rescued our economy from catastrophe." But, today were in the middle of the third consecutive summer of sliding backwards and renewed fears of a double dip recession. Economic growth is stagnant, recent jobs reports are horrible, families have lost 40% of their net worth, consumer confidence and retail sales are declining, and graduates are moving back home with their parents because they can't find a job. The only things going up are the national debt and the anxiety level of the American people.
Not so fine after all, Mr. President.
The best idea Mr. Obama had during his first term was that one about a "one-term proposition." We should hold him to it.