Remember when Barack Obama was a brilliant and inspiring young leader who was going to revive an America that had gotten dangerously off track? To be honest, neither do we, but we were reliably informed of it at the time. Now, however, that talk of hope and change has given way to a familiar litany of failure.
"Obama used his speech rolling out a stimulus-style jobs program Tuesday to point the finger at Republicans for allegedly facilitating the economic crisis and then foisting it off on his administration to solve," FoxNews.com reports:
While praising his own team for pioneering "ambitious" financial reform and "sweeping" economic recovery initiatives, the president took some pointed shots at Republicans who are now blasting the latest package as a spend-crazy "stimulus two" that will drill deeper into the deficit.
"We were forced to take those steps (to jump-start the economy) largely without the help of an opposition party which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that had led to the crisis, decided to hand it over to others to solve," Obama said, starting his address with a history lesson on the roots of the recession.
But here's something with which we can agree:
Obama said the crisis was caused not just by economic weakness but the "weakness in our political system"–one corroded by the "bitterness of partisanship," and the "endless campaigns focused on scoring points instead of meeting our common challenges."
"We've seen the consequences of this failure of responsibility. The American people have paid a heavy price," Obama said, calling the nation's unemployment a "human tragedy."
The president, of course, is engaging in psychological projection. The primary political responsibility for the country's problems has belonged to Obama for a year, and to his party in Congress for three years, because the voters deemed the GOP unworthy of it.
WARNING: The following makes too much sense
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But there is something Obama could do that would likely help the economy: call a moratorium on so-called health-care reform. Just tell Congress to put the effort on the shelf until after next year's election.
The threat of a government takeover of the health industry, which would impose enormous new costs on businesses, has got to be a drag on the economy. In part this reflects a fear of the unknown, a tendency to hold off on major economic decisions as long as it is unclear what if any legislation will pass. But from all we've heard about the so-called reform bills under consideration, there will be plenty to fear once it's known, too.
ObamaCare looks like a political disaster as well as an economic one. It is increasingly unpopular in its own right, and if it is a drag on the economy, that doesn't enhance the prospects of the party in power come next November. Obama needn't give up on the idea of health-care reform. All we're suggesting is that he call a halt to it for the next year, on the grounds that the economic crisis makes the timing bad, and that he has listened to the concerns of voters who don't want to see such a sweeping measure rammed through on a partisan vote.
Everyone would understand that if Democrats do well, that is a signal of approval for ObamaCare-like policies, whereas if it's a good Republican year, they want a different approach–one that Obama could make his own, just as Bill Clinton embraced some Republican ideas after the GOP took Congress in 1994. Under this scenario, the extreme left would have every reason to get out and vote Democratic, and congressmen who think socialized medicine is good policy and good politics could put that belief to the test.
An ObamaCare moratorium would counter the emerging stereotype of Obama as arrogant and out of touch. Will he do it? Probably not. After all, that stereotype is true, isn't it?