by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s not quite the same thing as the “man bites dog” story of Britain’s left-leaning Guardian offering pro-GOP analysis, but it’s still interesting to read a clear synopsis of the Obama administration’s woes from a right-of-center publication based on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The Daily Telegraph‘s Washington-based Nile Gardiner offers this assessment for the readers back home.
President Obama has been rolling up his sleeves campaigning across the country delivering a surreal stump speech message supposedly aimed at the middle class: big government works, Obamacare is manna from heaven, the wave of recent scandals are “phony” figments of the imagination, and all economic problems are the fault of the Republicans. Conveniently, he leaves out the bankruptcy of Detroit, a city run by his own party for more than half a century. His message is so stale and unconvincing, that even The New York Times and Washington Post have noticed. Both papers, usually loyal to Obama, remarked that Tuesday’s speech by the president in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was largely a rehash of old rhetoric, with The Post commenting that Obama’s “grand bargain” for the middle class was merely “a repackaging of old proposals,” and swiftly rebuffed by the GOP.
President Obama claims that “as long as I have the privilege of serving as your President. I’ll spend every minute of every day I have left in this office doing everything I can to build that better bargain for the middle class and make this country a place where everyone who works hard can get ahead.” The problem for Obama is that the American public isn’t buying the Kool-Aid. Poll after poll in the last couple of weeks have shown the president’s job approval ratings at their lowest levels for two years. The White House’s flagship health care reforms are so unpopular that even Democrats are starting to turn against it. In California the president’s ratings have plummeted by ten percentage points.
In Tennessee, Barack Obama talked about shoring up the middle class, but has little understanding of the real issues that middle class voters are facing today – high taxes, burdensome regulations facing small businesses, high levels of unemployment, concern over staggering levels of government debt and unfunded pension liabilities, to name but a few. If Obama was serious about helping the middle class he would ditch the failed big government rhetoric, while cutting taxes, and encouraging the growth of economic freedom.
However, instead of offering a constructive approach advancing policies that actually work, the president continues to insist on resorting to the outdated language of class warfare in true left-wing tradition, with a 1970s-style bash the rich theme, much like Francois Hollande in France. There is more than a whiff of hypocrisy to all this. Obama can’t escape the fact that his own lavish lifestyle is distinctly that of the “one percent” he loves to demonise.