Obama back in campaign spin modeWASHINGTON — Oh, good grief! We’re back in campaign mode again.
By: Anne McFeatters, The Dickinson Press
WASHINGTON — Oh, good grief! We’re back in campaign mode again.
When everyone demanded President Barack Obama’s Plan B a week ago, after he lost his filibuster-proof 60th vote in the Senate and thus quick passage of any health-care-overhaul plan, his first reaction was to hire back his 2008 campaign manager. So much for insisting that he’s tired of the 24/7 campaigning that goes on in Washington.
After 29 assertions in his State of the Union speech that he will fight, fight, fight for jobs, jobs, jobs, he went to Tampa, Fla., where he said, “I ran to fight for people. ... I’ve been fighting all my adult life. ... Change never comes without a fight.“
The current “change” he’s talking about seems to be changing the chant from “Health insurance reform now!” to “A job for every American!” Nice work if you can get it.
As supporters cheered him in Tampa, he said he will rein in the deficit by asking Congress to pass a partial budget freeze, spend billions on a second stimulus (a/k/a jobs) bill, help students pay off college loans, put $8 billion into high-speed rail, raise defense spending and cut taxes for working families.
Shades of Ronald Reagan, who solemnly promised to increase defense spending, balance the budget and cut taxes! But, hey, Reagan was very popular and had the support of Reagan Democrats. Today, there is no such thing as Obama Republicans. (Lately, there don’t even seem to be that many Obama independents.)
Beset with the worst economy since the Great Depression, two wars, a failing infrastructure, public distrust of institutions, a catastrophe in Haiti, a $12 trillion national debt and falling poll numbers, Obama is working on ... falling poll numbers.
Obama’s challenges are huge. But at least he should be relieved that he did not appoint the philandering John Edwards as attorney general.
We all acknowledge that Obama is a great speaker. It’s a pleasure to listen to him talk to us as adults. It’s even impossible to find a GOP legislator who will (publicly, at least) say he/she doesn’t personally like the president.
However, it should be noted that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid yawned as the president gave his whither-the-country speech. And Justice Samuel Alito shook his head, apparently muttering “not true,” when Obama, a constitutional lawyer, condemned a Supreme Court ruling as “opening the floodgates to special interests.” At least he didn’t shout, “You lie!,” as has happened before to this president.
But Obama’s silver tongue aside, I am tired of hearing no specifics about a health-care plan and having to wait until Obama was halfway through his speech before he even mentioned his failed 2009 top priority of improving health insurance.
The president also is still not giving us specifics for how new jobs will be created by small businesses that can’t get loans or afford employee health insurance. As for his claim that he’s helped 2 million Americans keep their jobs, there’s no way to prove or disprove that.
Obama isn’t even specific about how he plans to get Republicans to work with him. (His fabled beer summit may have worked with the Boston police officer, but a few brewskis are unlikely to seduce Capitol Hill Republicans into voting for his policies and cheering, “Yes, we can!,” at the drop of a presidential signal.)
Obama also is promising that he’ll work to end the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” which is used to drive openly gay service men and women out of the military. But, once again, there were no specifics on how or when he’ll do it.
Obama told the happy, clapping crowd in Tampa, “I have never been more hopeful about our future than I am right now.”
We are reassured that at least there’s one person who believes that. Or who says he does. And who, in year two of his presidency, is ready to fight.
— McFeatters has covered the White House and national politics since 1986. E-mail her at email@example.com.