by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If you seem to recall several occasions during the past 4 1/2 years when President Obama has announced plans to focus more attention on the struggling economy, you’re not alone. John Hayward of Human Events titles his latest column “Obama begins Pivot to the Economy 19.”
It was a nostalgic hour and seven minutes in Illinois today, as President Barack Obama made his 19th “pivot to the economy” by recycling his old speeches and bromides into a long stroll down memory lane. Fortunately, he was able to wrap things up before the state government of Illinois went bankrupt. That would have been awkward.
All of Obama’s dusty old rhetorical relics were on display. Praise for the World War II generation? Check. Endless discussion of the Sainted Middle Class? You betcha. Blaming his failures on the “mess” he inherited? Oh yes. Castigating corporate CEOs for earning too much money? Yes, he was able to get that off his chest, before departing for his latest taxpayer-financed luxury vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. Taking credit for the allegedly “recovery” that only he can detect? Done! Scaremongering about default on America’s sovereign debt? You got it. Calls for more infrastructure spending? Checkity-check-check-check! …
… Above all else, there was Obama’s boundless faith in government, his embrace of the collective. To this President, independence is greed, liberty is a luxury only the rich can afford, responsibility is cruel, initiative is anarchy, and nobody knows how to run a business better than he does. “Inequality” is the ultimate evil, and only Big Government’s round table of regulatory knights can slay it. “Washington” is a combination of special-interest avarice and blind apathy that Obama was shocked to discover, when he arrived there yesterday. If we want to survive, we must not do anything that would threaten the steady growth of government. And if the government doesn’t take action, we are “standing by and doing nothing in the face of immense change.” Only the actions of the mighty State and its epic leaders make a difference. “Investment” is something the government does, occasionally delegating the task to obedient private entities, who are allowed to retain a modest amount of wealth as a reward for their loyal service.
By the way, if you’re ready to dismiss Hayward’s criticism because of his conservative background, perhaps you’ll want to revisit Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank’s latest piece.
Pfeiffer was announcing the rollout of a series of economic speeches Obama would begin on Wednesday — roughly the 10th time the White House has made such a pivot to refocus on jobs and growth. What would set this one apart is that Obama would be reprising a speech he made eight years ago, when he first became a senator; Pfeiffer included a link to clips from that speech, set in part to mood music from the Canadian electronica group Kidstreet, the same music used in an Apple ad last year.
But even a reincarnated Steve Jobs would have trouble marketing this turkey: How can the president make news, and remake the agenda, by delivering the same message he gave in 2005? He’s even giving the speech from the same place, Galesburg, Ill.