Feinstein's Office Initiates Biden-like Protocol Regarding Interacting with the Media
Hunter Biden’s Defense of His Gun Crime Is Really Something
The McCarthy-Biden Debt Ceiling Deal Sends America Into Economic Demise
We Might Have Found the One 2024 GOP Candidate Who Would Not Make...
Conservatives Have Found Their Power
Chicago Residents Have Had It With Illegal Aliens Flooding the City
Shocker: Blue Jays Say Player Apologizing for Posting Pro-Bud Light Boycott Is Not...
Liberal DC-Area Activist Wants This for His Attacker Instead of Going to Jail
'Out of Control!': Residents in This Very Liberal City Are Angry Over High...
Looking Upwards, Rather Than Left or Right, for That Which Unites Us
Yet Another Sign Bud Light Has No Intention of Changing Course Despite Boycott
Woke Women's Magazine Features ‘Trans Pregnant Man’ for ‘Pride Month’ Cover
Is This the Weirdest Primary Campaign Issue Yet?
Why Isn't Biden Campaigning?
Female High School Track Athlete Suing Connecticut Over Trans Athlete Policy

Obama's Audacity of Hype

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
President Obama got a good laugh from his liberal audience at the nationally televised meeting of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. At least all those who joined in the laughter there had jobs.

‘Shovel-ready was not as . . . uh . . . shovel-ready as we expected,” the president jibed.

He certainly seemed to be a good sport about it all. One half expected the Daily Show’s puckish Jon Stewart to chime in: “Maybe you better not quit your day job, dude!” There’s a real problem when the President of the United States feels the need to become the entertainer-in-chief, especially when the joke’s about very serious matters that have long-term consequences.

Take this line, Shovel-Ready. It became the signature phrase of none other than Barack Obama himself as he rushed through a jumbo $787 billion stimulus package in the opening days of his administration. Why must we bypass the normal, drawn-out process of committee hearings, markups, amendments, debates, and extended votes? With the economy in free fall in the days leading up to Inauguration, there was no time for that, Mr. Obama assured us. This would be like FDR’s Hundred Days. He had only to say a measure was needed to get folks back to work and Congress—especially a Congress filled with make-work, make-hay-while-the-sun-shines liberals—would get cracking.

Even some Republicans, normally the green eyeshade folks, muted their criticisms. They were surely uncomfortable with this gusher of spending. But they didn’t want to be bottom-line skunk at the liberals’ recovery picnic. Reality would not be allowed to intrude on this hurry-up bit of spending projects.

Now, when FDR summoned the nation’s energies (and its wallets) to jump-start the economy with make-work projects, it didn’t really work, either. By 1936, after four years of his “bold experimentation,” the unemployment rate was still 16%. But it had been 25% in the depths of the Great Depression, so most folks gave Roosevelt credit for trying. As Amity Shlaes has admirably demonstrated in her powerful book, The Forgotten Man, much of Roosevelt’s New Deal actually prolonged the Depression.

Still, you have to give Roosevelt credit for this much. When he looked for shovel-ready projects to fund, he actually found them. We have the Appalachian Trail, hundreds of bridges, lots of hydroelectric dams, and, of course, the Tennessee Valley Authority to show for all that spending.

FDR didn’t just shovel money. We got tangible projects from his administration. And millions of Americans to this day give him the credit. Even President Ronald Reagan would tell interviewers in the White House how he voted four times for FDR, despite the fact that his administration worked daily to curb the excesses of Big Government.

How could President Obama have sat in the U.S. Senate for four years and not know that there are no shovel-ready projects? Every senator who wants to build a post office in, say, Dixon, Illinois, knows you must wait years before putting the first spade to the dirt. Franklin’s cousin Theodore “made the dirt fly in Panama,” true, but neither the U.S. nor Panama had to do environmental impact studies a hundred years ago.

Barack Obama should have known that what he was really selling was snake oil. And his opponents should have been bolder in stopping his raid on the Treasury.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is right: This Obama joke about no shovel-ready projects is no laughing matter to the 14 million unemployed Americans. But it’s even worse than that. If the President was unaware of the fact that it takes years to break ground then he is woefully unprepared for his office. If he knew this and cynically plowed ahead, then he is willfully misleading us.

Government by consent is debased when the people say Yes and later learn they’ve been sold a pig in a poke. Obama’s election campaign was based on the audacity of hope. His economic recovery based on shovel-ready projects was based on the audacity of hype. I sure hope the Obama Library is shovel-ready.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member


Trending on Townhall Video