Is the bonfire of his vanity burnin’ down da house?

June 8, 2012: “The private sector is doing fine.”

July 13, 2012: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

and on July 23, 2012: “we tried our [economic] plan and it worked.”

What has happened to the vaunted rhetorical excellence of Barack Obama? No political speech writer or political strategist worth his salt would have uttered those lines or included them in a speech for President Obama, given the present economic realities.

No, the private sector is not doing fine. Yes, entrepreneurs *did* build that. No, it didn’t work:

This chart is from the White House. They used it in 2009 to sell the "stimulus." The light blue line is what they projected unemployment would be if the stimulus did not pass, the dark blue is what they promised unemployment would be if the stimulus passed, and the red indicates what really happened under Obamanomics. This is not the sign of one's economic polices "working."

So what happened? Why this rash of obtuse, but revealing, statements from such a purportedly great speaker and politician?

I have a theory: he doesn’t like his position in the polls, blames the people around him rather than his own dismal performance as president, and has started to ignore the big political guns who got him elected in the first place.

Back in April this gem was found in Jodi Kantor’s book The Obamas:

Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

(This report is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Obama’s high opinion of himself.)

If he really does see himself as a better x, y, or z than the people he hired to be x, y, or z, and if he does not see the results he expects to see while following their advice, why *wouldn’t* he just start ignoring them? And when a political novice with an ego the size of Vizzini’s and fundamentally un-American notions on economics starts to go off the script (Tele-prompter in this case)  hilarity shall likely ensue.

Mind you: I’m not complaining or suggesting he should go back to listening to the guys who got him there in the first place—that might help him win. I just wonder how many bottles of Pepto David Axelrod goes through on a given day.



  • John Barnes

    Tom, I’m curious what you mean by “fundamentally un-American notions on economics.” Rather, I suspect I know what you mean by that, but what do you consider to be “American” notions of economics, and how did you arrive at the definition?

    • Randall

      American economics: unfettered capitalism, as under President Ronald Reagan. Fundamentally un-American economics: crushed under a socialist jackboot, as under B. Hussein (Obama) Soetero.

      • John Barnes

        Thank you, Randall, for that wonderfully erudite comment. Did you come up with that on your own?

    • Tom Crowe

      Heh. Professor Barnes, I’ll have that essay to you by the end of the term. Unless I ask for an extension.

      • John Barnes

        Tom, you’re in luck. This term I’m giving extra credit for turning in assignments early.

        • Tom Crowe

          Bah. I don’t need extra credit.

        • Tom Crowe

          But, John, let’s toss this out and see if it sticks: American economics: “One deserves the rewards of one’s industry and ingenuity, and one has the moral obligation to, in as many ways as prudent, help those less capable.” Obama economics: “The government ought to make sure economic prosperity is ‘spread around,’ especially to those who will vote for Obama, and seen as a product of government beneficence.”

  • Gregory

    He probably is better. That’s why he is president. If Amy buffoon could do the job, we probably wouldn’t need to vote. Further, while some of the above quotes might be political gaffes (especially the one you took out of context), he never went to a foreign country and insulted them, like Mitt Romney did this week.



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