Obama Misleads on Economic Distractions

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Mar 11, 2009 9:30 AM
http://images.broadwayworld.com/upload/39835/barack_obama.jpgBarack Obama is a master at sophistry -- the art of making a plausible, yet misleading argument...

He did so again yesterday by invoking the names of great presidents to argue that -- despite what some intelligent observers (including Warren Buffett and Jack Welch) have said -- Obama's focus on a myriad of issues has not distracted him from the economy.
Here's his quote:

"They forget that Lincoln helped lay down the transcontinental railroad, passed the Homestead Act, and created the National Academy of Sciences in the midst of civil war.

"Likewise, President Roosevelt didn't have the luxury of choosing between ending a depression and fighting a war," Obama told the US-Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

"President Kennedy didn't have the luxury of choosing between civil rights and sending us to the moon."


Aside from the fact that this is yet another example of the Obama team deciding to immediately "attack the attacker," let's actually examine Obama's statement:

... Regarding Abraham Lincoln, all I can say is: "Mr President, you're no Abraham Lincoln!"

... Yes, it's true that Franklin Roosevelt did manage both the Great Depression and World War II. Of course, Word War II started a decade after he became president. Moreover, it's important to note that Roosevelt was thrust into the war. He certainly did not choose to start it during his first 100 days.

... Obama cites Kennedy's focus on civil rights, but Kennedy actually did very little to advance civil rights (his death, however, paved the way for LBJ to push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964). Why did Kennedy do little on Civil Rights?

According to TIME:

... once elected, Kennedy was reluctant to give in to demands for prompt and forceful action on civil rights. And his attention was elsewhere: he devoted his Inaugural Address almost exclusively to foreign affairs.


And while Kennedy deserves much credit for his 1961 speech and his decision to go to the Moon, his vision wasn't accomplished until 1969.

In each instance, Obama mentioned two or three important things these presidents did over the course of their term (in Roosevelt's case, he was elected to four terms). But Obama failed to note that none of the presidents he cited attempted to accomplish these things in their first 50 days -- which means Obama has presented us with a false analogy ...