Drew Weston has done us a favor. The liberal professor from Emory University, in a large opinion piece in the Washington Post, has unwittingly given us a peek into the liberal mindset that contends that President Obama did not go far enough with his liberal agenda and his failure to turn further left could spell his electoral doom.
This is, of course, sheer nonsense. Obama made dozens of mistakes during his first three years in office, none of which made their way on to Weston’s list.
Weston argues Obama made three critical mistakes – but what he calls mistakes bear little resemblance to reality.
Mistake Number One: “Obama’s first mistake was inviting the Republicans to the table,” Weston argues. Inviting Republicans to the table? Republicans weren’t even invited to get the scraps off the table. The failed trillion-dollar stimulus program passed without one Republican vote. A government takeover of the health care system was written behind closed doors and passed without one Republican vote. What table is Weston talking about? Obama promised to be America’s first “post-partisan” president. He promised to unite Americans — Americans divided by race, creed and politics. But once he took office, he governed like a two-bit dictator from a South American country — one accustomed to not even acknowledging the opposition.
Obama’s first mistake was not “failing to invite Republicans to the table,” but failing to live up to the promises to the campaign to bring the political parties together. His health care plan was an ideological and philosophical jihad. Efforts to include Republican proposals like allowing competition for policies over state lines, lawsuit reform and promotion to Health Savings Accounts were tossed to the wayside. The president could have gotten his pre-existing condition ban passed with other tangential reforms, had he not decided that a trillion dollar takeover of health care was a prerequisite for reform. Had Obama looked for reforms of the system — not a wholesale uprooting of it — Republicans would have crawled over themselves to get onboard. Just look at the roll call vote on the Kennedy-Kassebaum bill signed during the Clinton presidency — health care legislation passed through a Republican House.
In Washington, securing bipartisan passage of legislation requires an honest give-and-take not a lecture from a president who fancies himself as the next FDR.
Mistake Number Two — According to Weston, Obama’s “second mistake was squandering the goodwill that Americans felt toward the new president and their anxiety about an economy hemorrhaging three-quarters of a million jobs a month.” Weston contends, “The stimulus was a good start,” but Obama failed to sell the program rhetorically to the American people and failed to spend enough. Weston believes that the stimulus failed because the president cut back the spending ” by a third and turned another third into inert tax cuts designed to appease Republican legislators whose primary aim was to defeat him. He stimulated the economy — but just enough to leave the results open to interpretation, rendering questionable what should have been an uncontested success.”
Once again, Weston hoists himself on his own ideological petard. Paul Krugman and his ilk continue to believe the stimulus did not spend enough. But the results of the stimulus fly in the face of their Keynesian worldview. Keynesians believe, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that a flood of government spending for food stamps, unemployment checks and Solyndra’s would get Americans spending again. Then, as the New York Post opined “a wave of “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects would kick in, creating new jobs repaving roads and making homes more energy efficient. As the economy got churning again, new investments in wind farms, solar panel factories, electric cars, broadband and high-speed rail would lead America out of the recession and into a 21st century economy competitive with the rest of the world.”
None of which happened. Rather than learn from history, such as in the case of the economic crash of 1921, Obama and his allies relied upon their own almost religious belief that government would lead us out of the recession. Now we are faced with trillions in debt and no jobs. Weston and his liberal friends will cling to their beliefs until the bitter end, never letting facts get into the way. The stimulus failed because the government cannot create jobs not because it didn’t spend enough.
Mistake Number Three — Finally, Weston argues that the administration failed to sell their policies. “In keeping with the most baffling habit of one of our most rhetorically gifted presidents,” Weston writes, ” Obama and his team just didn’t bother explaining what they were doing and why. To them, their actions were self-evident. But nothing is self-evident when your opponents are spending millions of dollars to defeat you. Instead, the White House blundered around with memorable phrases such as “bending the cost curve,” which didn’t speak to the values underlying the need for health-care reform.
Rhetoric will only get you so far. Results are what matters. The president promised that enactment of his stimulus plan would keep unemployment under 8%. His rhetoric was clear and concise. His results were disastrous. The same holds true with claims that passage of a trillion dollar entitlement program would reduce the deficit; promises that the president would half the deficit; and the commitment that he would never raise taxes on people making under $250,000, were all rhetorically sound but policy disasters.
Liberals will use Weston’s argument as an excuse should the president lose his re-election campaign. Mark my words, you will be hearing these arguments in the near future.
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