Alas, he made a fatal mistake. He believed his own hype. Now, with our illustrious Community-Organizer-in-Chief still reeling from the fact that his personal charm and charisma has not ended the war our nation is engaged in (or even closed Guantanamo), his economic policy has been disastrous and has actually increased unemployment, and the planet still has a long way to go to be healed, to top it off he has been handed the worst electoral defeat in more than half a century, losing more than 60 seats in the House to give Republicans control. The sobering reality that he is a mere mortal must be stunning to him.
If you are going to proclaim messianic powers, you'd better have a few miracles to pull out of your back pocket. Unfortunately for him, he is fresh out of miracles. As the cheering has faded and he has been faced with making actual decisions (which is a new phenomenon for a man that reached our nation's highest executive position with no previous executive experience, mainly on inspiring, if content-free, rhetoric and a long trail of "present" votes). And with each setback to his agenda he has become less presidential and more of a petulant child, furious at the audacity of nope (the shocking revelation that people may disagree with him and not abandon principle).
His press conference was a bizarre display of narcissism and split personality disorder. President Obama apparently negotiated this deal with the Republicans without getting the leadership of his own party involved. Then he held a press conference that was spent in part lauding the compromise as being what the country needs to invigorate economic growth, and in part demonizing the very people with whom he negotiated the deal.
It must have been a bitter pill indeed for Obama to swallow. After spending nearly $1 trillion on a stimulus package that actually increased unemployment along with the national debt, after the underhanded manner in which ObamaCare was passed only to have the people reject it, now he was being forced to retreat from one of his central campaign themes, namely, ending the tax cuts for the evil, hated rich.
The press conference was a saddening display of partisanship, class warfare and the politics of greed and envy. Obama continually refers to the beneficiaries of extending the tax cuts as the "wealthiest Americans," yet the reality is somewhat different. Nearly half of those that qualify under Obama's definition of "rich" are small business owners who file business income on a personal tax return. These are not the robber barons of old, but average Americans working long days to create a better life for themselves and their families, and who create the majority of all new jobs in the process. Yet Obama is absolutely determined to portray these people as being something society should only grudgingly tolerate, and only then in order to confiscate what they have produced.
His own prepared remarks and subsequent answers to reporters' questions exposed his duplicity. In response to a reporter all but accusing him of bowing to pressure, Obama replied, "We can't get my preferred option through the Senate right now. As a consequence ... on Jan. 1 of this -- of 2011, the average family is going to see their taxes go up about $3,000." Yet how is it possible for the "average family" to have their taxes go up by $3,000 when every self-respecting liberal Democrat knows that it was only "millionaires and billionaires" that benefited from the Bush tax cuts?
One astute reporter asked the president if it was a failure of leadership that led to the inability of the Congress to pass a bill sometime during the last two years that would end the tax cuts for the rich. This is a valid point. As much as Obama is demonizing the Republicans, it was his inability to muster Democrat support (recalling that Obama had a filibuster-proof Senate and a massive majority in the House) for eliminating the tax cuts that has led him to this point.
Mr. Obama goes on to say, "So what this package does is provide an additional boost that is substantially more significant than I think most economic forecasters had expected. And in fact, you've already seen some, just over the last 24 hours, suggest that we may see faster growth and more job growth as a consequence of this package. I think the payroll tax holiday will have an impact. Unemployment insurance probably has the biggest impact in terms of making sure that the recovery that we have continues and perhaps at a faster pace."
Again, the president contradicts himself. Since this package is made up of one part spending (a 13-month extension of the unemployment benefits) and three parts tax incentives (an extension of the current rate plus a lower than anticipated death tax rate and a one-year, 2 percent reduction in payroll taxes), this is a de facto admission that the Republican policy is the correct one, and that lower taxes do have a stimulative effect on the economy (unless someone laughably argues that, as Nancy Pelosi claimed, unemployment checks are the best way to stimulate the economy).
The press conference had a decidedly skeptical and accusatory tone, something that Obama has rarely experienced from an adoring press. Obama failed the test of civility and diplomacy, deflecting blame and referring to Republicans as "hostage takers" that were willing to sacrifice the economic health of the average American in order to get more money for their rich friends.
The President of the United States has called his political opposition hostage-takers for a philosophical difference in tax policy, and accused them of highly nefarious motivations. One wishes he could find the same level of outrage for true evil. The Iranian government unleashes state police on peaceful protesters, shooting them like dogs in the street, and the best Obama can muster is disappointment. North Korea sinks a South Korean vessel, and later shells a South Korean town, resulting in dozens dead or wounded, and all Obama feels is deep concern, maybe an occasional flash of outrage, although a calculated, academic outrage. Third World thugs insult our country from the floor of the United Nations and he smirks and fails to defend us.
No wonder Obama and the Democrats have lost the trust of the American people. They see their real enemies as being Republicans, conservatives, free market supporters, the TEA Party and the internal combustion engine. Meanwhile, they call for understanding and sympathy for terrorists, dictators and murderers. They had better recalibrate their moral standing or else 2012 will be a continuation of 2010. Class warfare does not stimulate economic growth, and right now the people are emphatically declaring "It's the economy, stupid!"
Louis DeBroux is a Taylorsville resident, married, with eight children. He is vice chair of communications of the Bartow County Republican Party. He owns Gatekeeper data backup and recovery. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.