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President Present

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

President Obama’s re-election campaign is in full swing. He’s flying to swing states, on our dime, to convince voters he deserves a second term based upon…I’m not exactly sure what.

Obama 2012 released its first ad this week (you can watch it here). It’s a call for volunteers. Maybe the campaign thinks since the president’s policies have driven so many people into unemployment, there are a lot of people out there with time on their hands to go door-to-door for Obama.

The most telling part of the ad is the line, “…the outcome (of the election) will depend not on what I do but on what you do.” Which, come to think of it, says a lot about his presidency.

Barack Obama is not only running away from his record, he’s Air Force One-ing it away from it as fast as he can, probably to a waiting tee time on a golf course somewhere.

He can’t run on his record because it’s a record of failure and unpopularity. But it’s less a record he earned than one he sat by and watched happen. Which actually makes it worse. As he said, it didn’t depend on what he does.

In a time when the country needs leadership, Obama has been a spectator in the Oval Office. Even with his “biggest accomplishment,” Obamacare, he was involved mainly on the conceptual level, leaving the details to Democrats in Congress.

In a time when the country needs a positive voice, Obama has been a critic. Americans have “gotten a little soft,” he said. They are getting “lazy.” Sure, some people do respond to negative motivation, but it’s hardly inspiring.

In a time when the country needs a champion, Obama has reverted to voting “present.” He’s there, he’s president, and when he absolutely has to, he’ll do something. But his “doing something” usually means he gives a speech, then leaves the room. You can’t expect much more from a man who has golfed more times than he’s met with the Speaker of the House.

How often have you heard the President talk about the greatness of America? When not apologizing for this or that, he’s busy golfing and telling us how horrible we are. He says how he wants to “fundamentally transform” the country more often than he talks about its greatness. Try this: Next time you talk to your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, tell them you love them but you want to “fundamentally transform” them and see how well that goes over.

If you love someone or something you may seek to change a habit or two – slightly. But you don’t seek to “fundamentally transform” them. If someone tells you they love you but want to dramatically alter you, you have to wonder what they loved about you in the first place.

I don’t doubt Barack Obama loves this country. I just don’t think he gets it.

He, and “progressives” like him, see only the end of the marathon, with runners crossing in whatever order they finish, and think, “That’s not fair! Why are some of those people finishing with better times than others, and some aren’t finishing at all?” They miss the start of the race, when everyone is on the same line with the same distance in front of them. And they miss the hard work and discipline that goes into being able to run long distances.

When they talk about “leveling the playing field” they are really talking about the end of the race, not the start.

Sure, some people are born on third base (and act like they hit a triple) and others are born in the dugout. But where people finish is entirely up to them. People born on the bench can pinch-hit a grand slam, and those born on third can get picked off. Progressives always ignore this reality.

President Obama rejects this reality.  He thinks government has to be the arbiter of the finish line to make things “fair.” He does so seemingly without thinking how his own life story, of rising from modest means to the presidency, undercuts his philosophy.

It can’t be that he doesn’t know.  He has written two – yes two! – autobiographies! It has to be that he doesn’t get it.

Since we know so little about his background – his grades, how he got into college, who his friends were then, etc. – we are left to look at the things we do know. He spent his professional, non-elected life as a rabble-rouser.  “Community organizers” don’t try to inspire people to better themselves; they encourage people to demand more from others, from government. No one ever took to the streets to demand more from themselves.

President Obama has lived his professional life this way. He gets people worked up, then sits back and watches what happens…usually from the golf course. He’s around, but not engaged. Some people have called it “leading from behind,” but that implies he’s leading on some level. He’s not. Much like the tough votes when he was a state senator in Illinois, he’s simply “President Present.”

A Quick Note About The Unemployment Numbers

The unemployment rate dropped this week from 9% to 8.6%. Democrats and MSNBC employees (redundant?) took to the streets to do a celebratory dance that rivals the Icky Shuffle in obnoxiousness. But unlike the Icky Shuffle, no one scored a touchdown, or even accomplished anything.  

In a con that makes three-card Monte on a folding table in Times Square at 3:00 AM look honest, that number is cooked.

The economy created 120,000 jobs last month, many of which are temporary holiday jobs. That’s great, jobs are jobs and we need jobs. But we need to create 200,000 jobs per month simply to keep up with population growth. Without breaking out my calculator, in real terms that seems like a shortage of 80,000 jobs.

Anyway, forget that, 120,000 is more than zero and every job helps.

But how does the unemployment rate drop .4% from a “gain” of 120,000 jobs? Because the government does not count people who’ve been unemployed longer than 99 weeks, the length of unemployment insurance payments, they just disappear. And last month 315,000 Americans hit that magic number, thus dropping off the planet in these statistics. Since the labor force is what the unemployment rate is calculated against, and nearly a third of a million Americans went “poof” off of it, you begin to see what’s happening.

American Enterprise Institute’s economics blogger Jim Pethokoukis put it the following ways:

“If size of labor force had not declined so sharply from Oct., Nov. unemployment rate would be 8.9 percent.”

“11%: That would be the U-3 unemployment rate if laborforce was same size as when Obama took office in Jan. 2009”

On the dropped 315,000, he said:

“If labor force size was same as Oct., U-3 unemployment rate would be 8.9%; same as when Obama took office, 11%”

Finally, considering the dissolved third of a million, he pointed out:

“Labor force participation rate falls to 64.0 percent from 64.2 percent.”

Essentially he’s pointing out that the books are cooked, the numbers are meaningless, and we’re being lied to by willing cheerleaders in the media.

All of that is a mouthful to recite at the dining room table or at the bar, so I came up with a way to put it in plain English that anyone can understand.

If you applied the same logic behind how the government measures the unemployed to, say, health care, you could sum it up this way:

“If we'd just kill all the sick people we'd be the healthiest country in the world!”

It’s really that simple. When you don’t like the measurements you’re getting, change the unit of measure you’re using until you get the numbers you want.

This isn’t unique to the Obama Administration, but the media cheerleading is. They used to report not only what a politician said, but also whether or not it was true. Now they seem to just feed White House talking points directly into the teleprompter, turn on the cameras and go.

On a personal, self-congratulatory note, Sean Hannity quoted me on that on his radio show Friday. I was driving at the time and have to imagine that feeling is as close as someone who couldn’t carry a tune if it had a handle will ever come to hearing their record played on the radio for the first time. I managed not to drive off the road and kill anyone…mostly because I was stopped at a light at the time and it took about 10 seconds and 10 emails from friends for me to realize I actually heard what I heard. Anyway, it was a very cool feeling.

And One Last Note On The Week

General Motors announced this week that they would be offering to buy back all the Chevy Volts they’ve sold because some of them have an annoying habit of bursting into flames.  While this will probably impact GM stock prices, it might not be that much since they barely sold any of the cars. It’s kind of like offering a refund to anyone who bought a “Razor-Wire Dodge Ball” from Wham-O. There were very few people who bought them and those who did are kind of crazy. I’m kind of wondering where Ralph Nader is in all this. A search on for his forthcoming book “Unsafe Parked” yielded no results. Couldn’t be because it’s a “green” car now, could it? Hmm…

That is all, go about your week.

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