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Obama's speech was replete with all three.

Even by the standards of the World's Greatest Orator, yesterday's was a dreadful speech. We observed recently that Barack Obama's reputation as the WGO rests largely on his talent for the insubstantial--for reciting "poetry" as opposed to expounding "prose," in Mario Cuomo's terms. Few subjects are more prosaic than the federal budget, the topic of the president's talk yesterday.


Obama said he was going to start "by being honest about what's causing our deficit." It's hard to cut spending: "You see, most Americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract, but like the stuff that it buys." It's hard to raise taxes: "My finely honed political instincts tell me that almost nobody believes they should be paying higher taxes." And politicians are selling voters a bill of goods when they "feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse."

What's needed, he claimed, is "a serious plan" that will "require tough choices." He then outlined a four-step "approach"--it wasn't detailed enough to achieve planhood--that showed his promise of honesty to be an utter fraud.

The first step is "to keep annual domestic spending low." Wait, it's low? He then adds this qualification:

I will not sacrifice the core investments that we need to grow and create jobs. We will invest in medical research. We will invest in clean energy technology. We will invest in new roads and airports and broadband access. We will invest in education. We will invest in job training. We will do what we need to do to compete, and we will win the future.

So when he said of government spending that Americans "like the stuff that it buys," he was referring to himself. He seems less than determined to "keep" spending low, much less actually to reduce it considerably, which is what will be required.

The second step is "to find additional savings in our defense budget." He promises he will "never accept cuts that compromise our ability to defend our homeland or America's interests around the world," which is certainly a relief. How then?

"Secretary Bob Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending." Wait, didn't the president just say the promise to cut waste and abuse was an empty one? Also, "we're going to have to conduct a fundamental review of America's missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world."

Which is in sharp contrast to the third step, the one dealing with entitlement spending. Domestically, Obama absolutely will not conduct a fundamental review of the federal government's missions, capabilities and role in a changing world.

In fact, in a scene reminiscent of the president's attack on the Supreme Court in the 2010 State of the Union Address, he heaped abuse on Rep. Paul Ryan, whom he had invited to sit in the front row, for being willing to think about "changing the basic social compact in America." In a grotesque display of left-wing jingoism, he equated the welfare state to America itself:

The America I know is generous and compassionate. . . . This is the America that I know. We don't have to choose between a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit our investment in our people and our country. . . . We do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in.

So how does he propose to prevent entitlements from eating the economy? He proposes "to further reduce health care spending in our budget. . . . Our approach lowers the government's health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself." Here's how:

We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments. We will cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare's purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market. We will work with governors of both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid.

Waste and abuse again!


The fourth step is to raise taxes on "millionaires and billionaires." From Obama's past proposals and the new taxes in ObamaCare, we know that the cutoff for "millionaire" status is $250,000, less for unmarried taxpayers. But don't worry, the president assures us that "most wealthy Americans would agree with me. They want to give back to their country, a country that's done so much for them. It's just Washington hasn't asked them to."

So were his "finely honed political instincts" wrong when they said "almost nobody believes they should be paying higher taxes"?

Obama's attack on Ryan deserves a bit more attention. Jake Tapper, ABC News's White House correspondent, damningly contrasts a pair of Obama quotes. The first was from the president's appearance at the Republican House retreat in January 2010, when he was still trying to sell ObamaCare:

We're not going to be able to do anything about any of these entitlements if what we do is characterize whatever proposals are put out there as, "Well, you know, that's--the other party's being irresponsible. The other party is trying to hurt our senior citizens. That the other party is doing X, Y, Z."

And here he is yesterday:

One vision has been championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party's presidential candidates. . . . This is a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. And who are those 50 million Americans? Many are someone's grandparents who wouldn't be able afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down's syndrome. Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we'd be telling to fend for themselves.

After this demagogy, he pivoted and concluded his speech with a call to compromise. At one point he echoed this column in exhorting fellow Democrats:

To those in my own party, I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have an obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments. If we believe the government can make a difference in people's lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works--by making government smarter, and leaner and more effective.

It's not clear what the distinction might be between, on the one hand, making government smarter, leaner and more effective and, on the other, eliminating waste and abuse. But the real problem here, as we saw most vividly in Wisconsin recently, is that today's "progressives" are politically, and perhaps also ideologically, committed to preserving the labor monopolies that produce stupid, bloated and ineffective government.

Why did Obama give this appalling speech? A pair of articles give a partial answer. The first one appeared at TheHill.com early yesterday morning, before the speech:

Anxiety over President Obama's shift to the political center is threatening to alienate the White House's liberal base. . . .

The concerns have surfaced after the White House rankled lawmakers on the left by agreeing to a 2011 spending bill that slashes funding for a number of programs long favored by Democrats and embracing a controversial trade agreement with Colombia. . . .

The criticisms highlight the problem facing Obama, who is trying to lead from the center without alienating his political base. The White House strategy could help the president with independents, but risks leaving liberals at home in the fall of 2012.

The second, by Salon.com's Joan Walsh, was a glowing review of the speech:

The president came out fighting with firmness, and with a rhetoric of social justice and equality, that I haven't seen enough of these last two years. . . . That's the president I voted for. . . . After the speech, pundits called it the opening salvo of the Obama 2012 reelection campaign, as though there was something wrong with that. If these are the founding principles of the president's 2012 campaign, Democrats and the country will be better off than we've been in a while.

Mickey Kaus notes that "Obama tends to defend the welfare state in ineffective paleolib terms. It's mostly 'compassion' and taking "responsibility for . . . each other,' whether we work or not." It seems to us, though, that the speech was meant for the left, not the center, and paleolib terms are effective with a paleolib audience.

The optimistic reading of this speech is the cynical one: Obama knows he is going to have to compromise with congressional Republicans and is buying himself some goodwill with the base. If he was speaking from the heart, though, we're in for a long 2012, though his may be even longer.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704116404576262871386063668.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion
 

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You only started 6 anti-Obama threads today. Slow news day or something?

:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Where the hell have you been for the last two years ? -and I also included a "we Tea Party'ers are pissed off at the GOP leadership for not fighting harder" and telling this socialist ass-hat to "get in the back seat".
 

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Same place you have been. I also remember the 2 years before then that you were so mad at Dune and DT and Vette USA and some others for posting so many anti-Bush threads in a single day. You tried everything from asking them to respect the man while we were at war, to talking about something else, to becomming close to threatenning.

And here you are, doing the same thing. Huh... Guess color does matter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You have a revisionist memory. I don't ask... I tell. I tell with instance rather then emotional outburst. That's not to say that emotion is not involved... how could it not be? - a socialist is systematically and purposefully deteriorating the greatness that this country was founded upon. Rather, I give instance to my charge.

Huh... Guess color does matter.
Only to those of you who voted for him.
 
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