Barack Obama would like to sing a love ballad with the economy, but the economy is sick and bed-ridden and being a real dick right now, so he has to make speeches to the American people about it, and did so this afternoon in Ohio. Yes, the media would prefer to talk about some random nobody pastor in Florida who likes to burn holy books. That is more important than the president. But Obama is going to talk about the economy anyway. So what sort of weird things is he yammering on about while nobody pays attention?
“A lot has changed since I came here in those final days of the last election,” Mr. Obama told a largely sympathetic crowd of around 3,000 at the Cuyahoga Community College campus in Parma, a Cleveland suburb. “But what hasn’t is the choice facing this country. It’s still fear versus hope; the past versus the future. It’s still a choice between sliding backward and moving forward.”
That latter part of the quote is interesting. Sometimes Obama prefers the past over the future! For example, on issues such as gay rights. For example, in inhabiting his own 49-year-old body and refusing to transfer his consciousness to a brand-new supple space-lizard body.
But Obama also chose the past over the future when he put together his economic team, people who either worked for Clinton or are from the same school of thought as those who did.
In fact, much of the speech was about the past. Sure, the need to end the Bush tax cuts was an important point to make. But then he used that to promise Clinton-era accomplishments.
Mr. Obama repeated a theme he has been sounding all summer: the economy performed better during the Clinton administration — before the Bush tax cuts went into effect — than it did afterward.
What is Obama’s position on Elian Gonzalez? Should the little Cuban boy be returned to his father on that communist isle?
Perhaps the only sensible thing to do is promise the voting public a return to the economy of the late Clinton years. But that economy is gone. It died more than a decade ago, at the exact moment our beloved Cuban boy was taken away from us, at gunpoint.
Alternatively, Obama could have used the speech to take Orange Boehner’s advice to fire his economic team. YES, that guy is a dumb troll, but it would be more fun if Obama just shut Thomas Friedman up by immediately naming him King of the Economy. What do we have to lose?
Instead, Obama is looking to do this thing with his small-business package:
Mr. Obama is calculating that business groups will like the package so much that Republicans may feel they have to support it in Congress. In fact, Mr. Obama appeared to be setting up the debate in such a way that he can accuse Republicans of opposing it simply because he proposed it.
He’s tried this sort of thing before, and Republicans just called his bluff and supported him, ruining the (truthful) narrative that the minority party is obstructionist. But what if he calls their bluff? What if he tells Boehner that if Boehner wants to save the economy so badly with his brilliant Boehner ideas, he should be a patriot and share Tim Geithner’s job with Friedman? THAT’S NEWS ENTERTAINMENT. [NYT]