It’s been a tough couple of weeks for President Obama, one of those stretches where everything seems to go south at once. The economy is soft, his poll numbers are down, and Europe has the markets on edge; Romney is even beating him in the money race. What was once hailed as personal confidence — or condemned as arrogance — is long gone. Panic has set in, and it’s making Team Obama do strange and disturbing things.
In Wisconsin, the result was merely a bit of comic relief. Fearful of making a personal appearance in a losing cause, Obama couldn’t even bring himself to phone it in. Instead, he packed the power of the presidency into a 95-character tweet endorsing Tom Barrett’s challenge to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Barrett, a plainspoken former congressman, is far too nice to speak the truth: Thanks for nothing.
Next came a more pronounced gaffe: Obama’s statement at a press conference that “the private sector is doing fine.” Panic can make anyone say crazy things, but blurting out irrational statements isn’t exactly ideal for a president of the United States.
Aides tried desperately to walk things back, but the damage was done precisely because it revealed an element of truth about Obama — that he views the government as the critical source for economic activity in America. That’s why the core of his “jobs” program consists of more infrastructure spending and bailouts for state and local governments.
For months, the White House has been assuming that the economy would be humming by Election Day. Caught flat-footed by the recent slowdown, they have nothing to offer but reheated leftovers from the 2009 stimulus — proposals that not even the Democratic-controlled Senate has passed. Add to that the fact that they will only add to our crushing debt; no Congress will raise taxes in an election year. Memo to the president: The solution to too much debt is not more debt.
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