Monday, October 11, 2010
Obama Becomes Politically Radioactive
By Alan Caruba
How pathetic do you have to be to have a set of Teleprompters set up in a sixth grade classroom in order to address the kids? Barack Obama has been compared to many people, but Peanuts’ Linus Van Pelt and his ubiquitous security blanket has become an enduring symbol of a man who can barely speak an entire, coherent sentence without the speech machine.
I suspect some future historian will date Obama’s political demise and burial to a commentary by Mark Halperin in the October 11th edition of Time magazine. This is the same Time magazine that put Obama on the cover one time with an illustration that compared him to Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the irony was that FDR presided over the longest, deepest Depression in the nation’s history.
“With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists,” wrote Halperin, “most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters.”
Halperin, in a paroxysm of insight, noted that “Moreover, there is a growing perception that Obama’s decisions are causing harm.” He then listed problem areas such as “energy policy, health care, deficits, housing, immigration, and spending.”
And that pretty much covers the entire scene except for jobs; something for which the Obama administration has had no answers and has not made a priority as compared with the takeover of health care, one sixth of the nation’s faltering economy.
Most of his so-called economic advisers have all gone scurrying back to their academic ivory towers where tenure will ensure they don’t lose their jobs.
Let me go on the record saying I have never trusted any of the employment statistics conjured up by the Department of Labor. I think the present “unemployment rate” of 9.6% will stay at that point, never quite reaching 10% because someone in the White House has decided that it would be the political kiss of death. News flash! You guys passed that point months ago.
A comparison of unemployment rates from the Great Depression years is instructive. Remember, there were a lot fewer Americans in those days. In 1929, before the stock market went to hell on October 29th, the population was just over 88 million and there were 1,550,000 unemployed, a rate of 3.14%. By 1932 when FDR was first elected, the population was 91,810,000 and unemployment was already at 23.53%. It would hit a high in 1934 of 21.60%.
A year before America joined World War Two unemployment stood at 14.45% in 1940 with some 8,120,000 people, mostly men, out of work. The war put everyone back to work, either in the armed services or on the home front equipping them. To put it another way, it took a world war to rescue the nation after FDR’s several administrations had tried everything and failed!
Obama’s administration apparently never read a history book because their “solution”, throwing billions of borrowed dollars at the problem, was the same one as FDR’s.
An October 8 Investors.com article noted that, given all the unemployment today, “At this pace, the U.S. won’t recoup all the 8.36 million lost jobs until March 2020—147 months after the December 2007 high.” It added that “The current jobs slump also is the deepest of any in the post-war era, with payrolls down as much as 6.1%. They are still 5.6% below their December 2007 level.”
Statistics, frankly, tend to make my eyes glaze over, but I cast my lot with those economists who are saying that the real unemployment rate is already over 20%. The reason for this is the way the Department of Labor plays games “defining” who is unemployed, who is receiving unemployment compensation, who no longer is, and who has stopped looking for work.
So the reality is that the man who was elected on a promise of “spreading the wealth around" has, in fact, only been able to spread the poverty around.
Unlike the 1930s when the only way you heard President Roosevelt was on the radio when he gave his “fireside chats” or in the Movietone weekly news reels, Americans today have been able to follow Obama’s descent into economic hell day-by-awful-day.
When only the most desperate Democrat candidates are willing to be seen with you and the rest are running against your legislative agenda, you have become politically radioactive. It’s a wonder that Barack Obama doesn’t glow in the dark these days.
© Alan Caruba, 2010