Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Obama Channels Teddy Roosevelt in Kansas

When Barack Obama announced his campaign for President of the United States, he did so in Springfield, Illinois and conjured up the memory of Abe Lincoln. When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, magazine covers portrayed him as the second coming of FDR, and of JFK. Then Obama began channeling Ronald Reagan and even governing like George W. Bush on terrorism, except for the nonsense of the Executive Order to close GITMO, which was to fulfill a campaign promise. Now that he is so very unpopular in the polls - at 41% approval, according to the latest Gallup poll - he has decided to mimic Teddy Roosevelt.

I kid you not.

Obama traveled to Osawatomie, Kansas to channel his inner Teddy Roosevelt. He delivered a 57 minute speech full of traditional straw men and hyperbole, along with his regular theme of elevating class warfare among the American electorate.

And, oh by the way, capitalism has failed.

But this isn’t just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement.

Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that’s happened, after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that have stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for too many years. Their philosophy is simple: we are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.

Yes, this is a defining moment in our country, this 2012 election. Obama delivered another campaign speech, though, instead of actually providing a way forward using a bi-partisan approach and solutions. He continues to demonize Republicans because with a record so thin on accomplishments, it is really all he has.

The most recent Gallup poll has Obama at 41% approval rating.

Rich Galen at compares the former Presidents since Eisenhower at this point in their first terms and shows some interesting numbers.

•Gallup goes on to compare Obama's dismal performance rating with his predecessors. In December of their third year in office here's where they were:
-- Eisenhower (1955) 75%
-- Nixon (1971) 50%
-- Carter (1979) 53%
-- Reagan (1983) 54%
-- HW Bush (1991) 51%
-- Clinton (1995) 51%
-- W Bush (2003) 58%

•No elected President in the past half-century has entered his re-election year underwater in approval.

Also, someone may want to remind Obama that Teddy Roosevelt lost the election which his Kansas speech preceded.

Republicans do not advocate that everyone "fend for themselves" or "play by their own rules." Who said that? This is a part of the straw man argument when Republicans won't write Obama a blank check.

He bashed trickle down economics that were used by Ronald Reagan, who by the way, turned around the economy after Jimmy Carter destroyed it.

Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there’s been a certain crowd in Washington for the last few decades who respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If only we cut more regulations and cut more taxes – especially for the wealthy – our economy will grow stronger. Sure, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everyone else. And even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, they argue, that’s the price of liberty.

It’s a simple theory – one that speaks to our rugged individualism and healthy skepticism of too much government. It fits well on a bumper sticker. Here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It’s never worked. It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible post-war boom of the 50s and 60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade.

And, really, does Barack Obama want to mock economic theory as "bumper sticker" logic? The guy who campaigned on simplistic slogans - hope and change, and yes, we can to name two - as he promised unicorns and rainbows along with moving the waters levels and kumbuya with our enemies?

Barack Obama should next try to channel the spirit of former President Gerald Ford. Ford knew how to work with both sides while holding to his convictions, after many years in Congress. Demonizing your political opponents in campaign style speeches does not promote good will or a desire to work for solutions.

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