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February 06, 2009

The Neverending Campaign

President Obama, speaking to the Democrats:

"We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that, for the last eight years, doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin," he said. "We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face, that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or failing schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees.

"I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV -- if you're headed for a cliff, you've got to change direction."

... "We're not moving quickly because we're trying to jam something down people's throats," he said. "We're moving quickly because if we don't, the economy's going to keep getting worse."

Obama rejected calls for more tax cuts and significant slashing of the bill's more than $800 billion price tag, and said complaints the package was a spending bill rather than a stimulus bill were off base.

"What do you think a stimulus bill is?" he said. "That's the point."

To critics who argue that the government shouldn't be spending billions with a large and growing deficit, Obama said, "I found this national debt doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office."

The American people called for change in November, he said, "and that's what we're going to deliver."

Gravitas.

So let's see if I've got this right. The GOP left Obama with a doubled national debt (wrapped in a big bow, even), and the best way to "change" the country's direction is to triple or quadruple that debt by spending money on the NEA, child-care and “neighborhood stabilization activities?"

When President Obama was Candidate Obama, he promised to give 95% of us a tax cut. The porkfest passed by the House includes $275 billion in tax breaks and $550 billion in spending, even though more tax cuts would make the bill more popular with voters. But Obama rejects "that theory," and says that you did as well.

After all, he won. Rich Lowry calls Obama's need to resort to that argument "is a symptom of the intellectual collapse of the case for his stimulus bill," then reminds us what Obama said on the campaign trail.

The president should read the transcript of the third presidential debate. He claimed his program represented “a net spending cut.” He called himself “a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go. Every dollar that I’ve proposed, I’ve proposed an additional cut so that it matches.” He added, “We need to eliminate a whole host of programs that don’t work.”

Now, circumstances change, and no president can adhere to every jot and tittle from his campaign, but the “I won” argument only works if the campaign program matches the governing program. Obama himself seems confused on what exactly “I won” means.

In a meeting with congressional Republicans, he brandished “I won” as a defense of his version of tax relief. But he later used “I won” to push back against an excessive reliance on tax cuts, claiming that it had been repudiated during the campaign even though he talked every day on the trail of cutting taxes for “95 percent of working people” and never once mentioned a commitment to extreme deficit spending.

Obama's actions now show just how deceptive he was then. On the campaign trail, Obama repeatedly lied to the American people about his economic plans. He lied about his commitment to clean, transparent government. He lied about his willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion. Obama is not even pretending he meant what he said then.

In only three weeks, Obama has managed to undermine many of the central tenets of his claim to represent hope and change. He has gone from promising to bring "an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas..." to using arguments like "I won," and the worn-out campaign rhetoric he threw to the Democrats last night.


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posted by Slublog at 09:15 AM

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