By Alan Caruba
The day following President Obama’s State of the Union speech I opened my daily newspaper to read the headline “What the president said and what the facts say.” It was an Associated Press story and it drove a tank through the President’s various promises and assertions.
The AP reporters weren’t the only people who had some doubts. A Reuters news story confirmed my prediction, noting that “Stocks fell on Wednesday as investors found little new in a major speech by President Obama on how he planned to stabilize the economy, while gloomy home sales data weighed on the market.”
Facts are stubborn things. Eventually they cannot be ignored.
I have previously pointed out that this new President’s start in office has had what is surely the shortest “honeymoon” on record with both the public and the media. We’re not talking about FDR’s famous “first hundred days.” We are talking 56 days as this is being written.
There is, I suspect, a growing feeling among both the public and the media that this recession, if the White House and Congress had done NOTHING, would have run its course. All recessions do. But Obama came out almost immediately calling it a “catastrophe” in order to gin up support for a “stimulus” bill that surely had been in the works for the last two years that Democrats had control of Congress, but were unable to get passed because of a potential presidential veto by George W. Bush.
All that pent-up desire, for example, to reverse the welfare reform that occurred in 1996 after the GOP had gained control of Congress and for which then President Clinton took credit is now being undone. Never mind that it required people to find work in order to qualify for assistance. Never mind that it greatly reduced the cost of welfare to both the federal and state governments.
But I digress. While it is undeniably true that Obama knows how to deliver a speech, it is increasingly evident that he has great difficulty delivering the truth. Even his birth certificate is in doubt. The Hawaiian document put forth during the campaign has been declared a forgery by experts and a bad one at that.
There is no need for me to repeat what others have said about the contents of the State of the Union speech. It was a political statement, full of dubious promises and claims. I have this vision of a small group of historians some years far from now sitting around like a group of Talmudic scholars and laughing hysterically over what Obama said.
The problem for the rest of us, however, is that there is NOTHING to laugh at in his speech and the initial reaction of Wall Street had a lot of investors bailing out. The market will surely regain some, lose some, regain some, lose some. The operative word is “fluctuate.” Still, it is a window to how the speech was received by real people dealing in real money.
If the economy does improve, it will not be due to anything in the “stimulus” bill. It will be because a lot of people, small businesses and large, will make their own private bet that they must invest in their own future. Others will take advantage of the low housing prices and interest rates on mortgages. It’s called capitalism.
If public opinion about Obama is this tepid less than two months into his administration, I suspect the polls will report a continued dip in his numbers. This happened to the unlamented Jimmy Carter whose failure to deal with a recession and the taking of hostages by the Iranians gave him one term in office. I’m only surprised he has not moved to Iran and run for president there.
As to the Republicans, they are being handed the 2010 Congress on a platter. What they need is a real leader. Gov. Bobby Jindal is not that man. Louisiana, home of the populist Huey Long who gave FDR indigestion, is famed more for its history of corruption and general ineptitude than, say, Indiana, whose Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels was re-elected because of---not despite of---real fiscal prudence.
There are some potentially strong Republicans who could give Obama a real run in 2012. The party did the right thing in opposing the “stimulus” bill, but now it has to find some real courage and carry the fight to him every step of the way. It’s time to take the gloves off.
All this talk about being non-partisan makes me want to puke.
Early signs the media is already having second thoughts and buyer’s remorse must be acted upon before those sheep lead the other sheep over the cliff. Again.