Liddick: Presidential amnesia
September 13, 2010
Sitting in traffic is never a good thing. Frustration rises to a fever pitch as the mind boils with images of suitable punishments for those who zoom past in the “closed ahead” lane, only to jam into traffic at the last moment. And inching along at a snail’s pace allows one to contemplate current events, which nowadays does nothing to enhance one’s calm.
So there I was Friday last, crawling toward the Eisenhower Tunnel with several thousand of my closest friends. After speculating on the process that resulted in a decision to start road repairs at a notorious I-70 choke point on Friday, my mind strayed to the president’s semi-annual press conference. Not a good thing.
Let’s disregard the deer-in-the-headlights look and the wandering answers when faced with the slightest probing. Let’s discount the stumbling and the platitudes, and focus instead on some of the more revealing moments.
First, the president thinks the American people are incapable of rational thought – unsurprising given his background, but annoying. He believes we can be persuaded George W. Bush is an evil genius, whose plans were so diabolically subtle that they reach across time to thwart the arrival of the Utopia candidate Obama promised on the stump. How else to explain his excuse that “the worst financial crisis … since the Great Depression” was due to the bad policies and deficits of his predecessor? While I never thought Dubya was the dope portrayed by the Left, this seems to me to be a reach. It also ignores the fact that in 2007, the deficit was $167 billion and the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. Take a look at today’s figures and ask yourself whose policies are actually the failures, here.
Not to mention that his response was a variation of the Bart Simpson defense: “I didn’t do it…”
Perhaps the Presidential Press Corps was off its game, or just out of practice; no one reminded the man that the “blame my predecessor” tactic has a limited shelf life. In November, he will have been in charge for almost two years, and the Democrats will have controlled congress for four. Time to stop dodging and man up.
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The president also thinks we have amnesia. His huffy response to a question about the recent rise in health care costs was breathtaking to those who paid attention to the debates on Obamacare last year. On Friday, the president condescendingly stated that he never expected to insure 31 million additional Americans “for free.” What he didn’t note is that 31 million additional Americans are not yet enrolled, and that in March of 2009, he baldly stated that the Democrat health care plan would “bring down the cost of health care” for individuals, businesses and the Federal government. Maybe he meant sometime later. Much later.
Then there was the real point of the press conference, shilling for an additional $50 billion in support for “shovel ready” infrastructure projects, to put people back to work. See “amnesia,” above: Wasn’t this the rationale for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was supposed to pour almost a trillion dollars into the economy to prevent the unemployment rate from rising above 8 percent? Why, yes it was. But only a bit more than $102 billion of the $468 billion allocated for spending in 2009-10 has even been targeted for specific outlays, so an additional $50 billion seems a little … superfluous. And if the original monies were not frittered away in $200,000 OHSA grants to the Service Employees International Union, the UAW’s International Union, the Interfaith Worker Justice Association or the Centro Humanitario Para los Trabajadores (right here in Denver) there would be plenty left for those “shovel ready” projects.
Not that it would make a difference. In a 2009 analysis of spending from the “stimulus” bill, the Department of Transportation itself noted that there would be minimal impact on employment from spending on – for example – the sort of new rail projects the president mentioned.
What was it called again, when you do the same thing over and over expecting a different result? Even in the teeth of contrary evidence?
Don’t get me wrong. I think infrastructure development is OK. It might even have positive impact. If you’ve been keeping up with current events, you’re probably able to point to a $20 billion dollar project right here in Colorado that would reduce the hours thousands of cars idle. I certainly can. And it’s definitely a more “shovel ready” use for some of the unallocated $366 billion in “stimulus” funds than another $220,000 grant to train “…hard-to-reach workers and youth workers in the nail salon and restaurant industries.”
No matter how often Michelle Obama has her nails done.