Obama passes the buck again
When running for a first presidential term, it’s easy to tell voters what you plan to do later. When running for a second term, though, it’s hard to hide from what you’ve done lately.
And while it’s understandable that President Barack Obama wants to recapture the 2008 “hope and change” aura that helped put him in the White House, he’s defying numerical logic by trying to make our nation’s persisting economic doldrums all somebody else’s fault.
The president recast that far-fetched re-election pitch last Thursday in what was billed as a major economics speech in Cleveland. He warned his audience at Cuyahoga Community College:
“If you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney.”
Actually, if you want to keep count of who’s responsible for “the policies of the last decade,” then you should review these facts:
Mr. Obama has been president for the last three and a half years. During his first two years as president, he had virtually a blank congressional check as fellow Democrats held strong majorities in both the Senate and House.
Though Republicans regained House control early last year as voters soundly rejected the record spending (and record deficit) approach of the president and his congressional allies, Democrats still control the Senate, which hasn’t passed a budget in three years.
And by the end of this year, party control will have been nearly evenly split over the previous decade in the White House (six years by Republicans, four by Democrats), the Senate (a 6-4 Democratic edge) and the House (a 6-4 GOP edge).
Assume that you buy the president’s dubious party line of Republicans causing our present economic difficulties largely due to insufficient taxing of “the rich.” If Mr. Obama, with considerable congressional support, hasn’t been able to reverse what he described last week as “the mistakes of the past” in nearly a full presidential term, why should you believe he could correct them in a second term?
The same principle applies to the president’s announcement Friday that his administration will stop deporting most of the young illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children (see Cal Thomas’ column on today’s Commentary page).
Mr. Obama admitted that this was “not a permanent fix” for illegal immigration. But as president, he hasn’t made the long-term legislative “fix” needed — comprehensive immigration reform — a priority.
And his Justice Department has taken several states, including ours, to court for passing immigration laws of their own. The Obama team correctly points out that immigration enforcement is properly a federal obligation. Yet the administration has blatantly failed to fulfill that duty — and now is retreating even further from it.
Oh well, if you were running for presidential re-election with an 8.2 percent unemployment rate that would be even higher if so many Americans hadn’t given up on finding work, you would probably try to change the subject, too.
Certainly this president’s rhetorical options are limited on the subject of the economy.
For instance, he has been catching widespread grief for saying on June 8 that “the private sector is doing fine” when it obviously is not.
So because he can’t credibly say the economy’s “doing fine,” he has decided to concede that times remain tough while trying to pin the rap for that on Republicans past and present — and sounding an alarm against their proposals for the future.
Yes, this president inherited an economy in a tailspin. However, with every passing month, his unseemly habit of shifting the blame backward rings ever less true.
There’s something depressing about the spectacle of far too many elected leaders — from both parties — relentlessly ducking their shared responsibilities for the nation’s problems.
Another Democratic president, Harry Truman, did win the 1948 presidential election by running against a “do-nothing Congress.”
But at least he kept this still-appropriate reminder in a sign on his Oval Office desk:
“The buck stops here.”