EDITOR OF REDSTATE
No Act of Moderation: Why Barack Obama cannot fix the economy
Updated to reflect Obama’s NBC interview
This past week, the Gulf States who hoped Barack Obama would actually do something to help them were stunned when he imposed a ban on deep water offshore drilling.It is no exaggeration to say that as much as shrimping is part of the way of life in the Gulf Coast area, oil drilling is too. Barack Obama, with the stroke of a pen, put tens of thousands of men and women on the unemployment line.That was no act of moderation. That was an overreaction — a desire by Obama to move the narrative from “do nothing” to “do something.” He did something alright. In his zeal to turn this from his Katrina to his 9/11 with a “Never Again” moment, he destroyed an entire industry.That was not an act of moderation. It was a desperate, selfish bid to change the narrative, despite all sorts of collateral damage.It was one well, one platform, and one company well connected to Barack Obama and those with whom he has surrounded himself. Now a whole industry is out of work.The move came as the Department of Labor announced a horrible jobs number touted by the White House as good news. Take out the census’s temporary jobs and the private sector economy grew by only 41,000 people. Moreover, take out the census’s temporary jobs from the last couple of jobs numbers and the only sector growing in Obama’s economy is the government.Go back to Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech. He touted his stimulus package and the jobs it created. Every job he listed was either in government or so dependent on government it might as well have been a government job, e.g. green jobs and road infrastructure building.Tie Barack Obama’s handling of the economy together with his handing of the British Petroleum accident and we have the definitive reason Barack Obama cannot fix the economy. The man needs an enemy to act.That is not leadership. That is bullying. That bullying gives way precisely to his NBC News interview wanting to know whose a** to kick — rhetorical immoderation that would get a warmongering jingoistic Rethuglican like George W. Bush in hot water with the media. But Barack Obama needs an enemy to function.Sadly for the American public, Obama’s enemies are the rich, businesses, Wall Street, and Republicans — not terrorists, Islamic radicals, Iran, and North Korea.Until the White House announced it was “divorcing” itself from British Petroleum, it refused to act aggressively. Once divorced, British Petroleum became an enemy to be dealt with — criminal prosecution, attacks on its PR budget, complaints about it “lawyering up” in the face of criminal prosecution, etc. Never mind that Barack Obama kept all the campaign contributions from BP.Again and again, before this man picks a policy, he picks an enemy. Wall Street executives must be smote. Doctors performing unneeded tonsillectomies on kids must be restrained. Republicans must be neutered. Time and time again, until he has a bad guy, Barack Obama cannot and will not act.Thus we arrive at the economy. Obama is smart enough to know he cannot turn the entrepreneurial class into a bad guy. That class of people polls better than any other in America. Besides, his policies are all designed to destroy that sector. He has turned Wall Street into the enemy, but it isn’t working for him on the economy.The source of our economic misery is, in fact, the government. Government policies, including the stimulus, rewarded government spending, not private sector spending. Barack Obama’s bailout policies, perpetuating misguided Bush Administration policies, increased moral hazard, multiplied unknowns and instability in government, and increased the debt burden so dramatically the economy has stayed in tailspin.To fight this and fix it will require a President who understands government is the problem, not the solution. That man is not and will never be Barack Obama because to paint the government as the enemy would mean he himself must become the enemy. It would take an extraordinary act of leadership for Obama to do that, to admit he was wrong. Too bad he is much more comfortable playing the school yard bully.