On his “listening tour” of the Midwest, President Obama can mainly listen to the sound of himself complaining about his “bad luck.” In Iowa yesterday, Obama said “in the past six months, we’ve had a run of bad luck. He cited the Japan earthquake, the Arab Spring, and the European debt crisis. He also said, incredibly, that “we’ve reversed the recession, avoided a depression, and gotten the economy moving again.”
In our book Fleeced, we warned that “pessimism is the bodyguard of liberalism.” Liberals are always saying that the consequences of their own bad decisions are just the inevitable result of factors beyond their control. Times are tough and will continue to be, they say, we had better get used to it.
But Obama’s bad luck (Japan excepted) is his own doing. It was his misguided and naïve welcoming of the popular rising in Egypt that triggered the chaos of the Arab Spring and is now giving rise to Islamist regimes in countries once both loyal to the U.S. and at peace with Israel. Instead of stability in this oil rich region, he has helped to usher in war, chaos, and uncertainty that are driving up the price of oil.
Nor is he innocent in the Euro debt crisis. It has been his insane borrowing to fund his stimulus spending that has stretched global capital markets to the breaking point, making lenders nervous and less willing to accept debt from risky countries. If the United States had not increased its debt from $10 trillion to $14 trillion in two and a half years, the capital community might be more willing to cut Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal some slack.
But it is his comments about the economy that leave one truly breathless. He has “gotten the economy moving again?” He has “reversed the recession?” On what planet is he living? Economic growth has slowed to 0.8 percent in the first half of this year. Unemployment remains at 9.1%. He actually told his Iowa audience that “the economy is better off than when I took office.” Really? Back then unemployment was at 7.6%.
Continuing with his litany of accomplishments, the president said that he had moved closer than ever before to universal health care. Really? Has he read the Eleventh Circuit court decision striking down the individual mandate that lies at the heart of his health care law? Written by a Democratic judge it heralds the likely overthrow of his misguided legislation by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The paucity of achievements he can cite was evident to all who heard or read his remarks on the tour and who witnessed the muted reception he received. He literally has nothing to run on. Despite controlling Congress for two years – and the Senate with sixty votes for one year – he has passed no energy bill, no immigration reform, no program to cope with foreclosures, no real jobs program, no environmental legislation, and no real curbs on Wall Street excesses. His tenure is a nullity. All he has succeeded in doing is driving us further into impossible debt.
It’s not him. It’s just bad luck!