Monday, September 10, 2012

The Recycled Forward Speech

Last Thursday seems so long ago, the Obama acceptance speech has already become irrelevant. But in the interest of completing what I set out to do, this is Part II of commentary on the speech. [Part I here.]

Some of the coming sentences are simply false. Some are painfully ironic.
“I've cut taxes for those who need it.” Taxes are down for those who paid very little to none; 50% of earners pay no taxes, and many of those nonpayers actually receive tax credits. Does this redistribution create wealth? No, none. But he remains willing to nearly double capital gains taxes, even if doing so brings even less revenue to government, because taking from the rich (as he defines anyone making $250,000 a year who has been investing post-tax money as capital) is “fair.” Hmm.
“Now, I won't pretend the path I'm offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth.” Actually, he indicated that economic recovery was doable, and quickly: “If I don’t have this done in three years, we’re looking at a one-term proposition.” That statement wasn’t from the speech; that was from an interview with Matt Lauer, February 1, 2009, a couple of weeks after the inauguration, where he’s predicting real progress within a year and says he’s glad he’ll be held accountable. OK, then.
“The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place.” Definitions are so useful when communicating. Does he mean the path to prosperity, which he hopes you believe? Or does he, in his mind, mean the path to government controlled economy, which he sees as “a better place,” even though most Americans, who are not happy to be takers for nothing nor as providers of slave labor for nonproducers, would not see it as better? They would rather have job opportunities instead of unpaid-for government largesse.
“I'm asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country, goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security and the deficit, real, achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.” What set of goals, exactly? None mentioned, so you go ahead and fill in the blank.
“We reinvented a dying auto industry that's back on the top of the world.” Except that the parts of the auto industry that are doing worst are the ones Obama chose to take over and subsidize, as well as those that would have been competitive if Obama hadn’t bet against them, using taxpayer dollars.
“And after a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last 2 1/2 years.” This seems arbitrary, as stats go. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 582,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since Obama took office, a little more in loss than the gain he claims.
“In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day, more than any administration in recent history. And today the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades.” Any increase in domestic production is mainly due to boom going on in North Dakota—on private land, so Obama had no power to stop it. He shut down production in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere, and sent huge amounts of tax money to help Brazil drill off their coast. No one related to the industry actually believes Obama deserves credit for anything positive about oil production.
“So long as I'm commander in chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.” His “plan” includes cutting $1 Trillion from the military. To make it the strongest ever. How? Obama isn’t what we’d call good at math, so maybe we shouldn’t trust him on this one.
“My plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion.” Didn’t he say this before? And the result was not halving the deficit, but more or less doubling it? Not that such a budget is anything but air, because we can trust Obama’s Democrat-controlled Senate to continue to pass no budget at all.
photo found here
Nothing amused me so much as a side-by-side comparison, provided on Rush Limbaugh’s Friday show, with Jimmy Carter’s 1980 acceptance speech. One would think they used the same speechwriter, if it weren’t for the 32-year time difference. And then team Obama has the temerity to choose the word “forward” as their campaign mantra.
Here are a few samples:
The Choice between Two Futures:
OBAMA: The choice you face won't just be between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America, a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.
CARTER 1980: This election is a stark choice between two men, two parties, two sharply different pictures of what America is and what the world is, but it's more than that. It's a choice between two futures.

Being President Is Hard:
OBAMA: Times have changed, and so have I. I'm no longer just a candidate. I'm the president. I know what it means to send young Americans into battle. For I've held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn't return. I've shared the pain of families who lost their homes and the frustration of workers who've lost their jobs. While I'm very proud of what we've achieved together, I'm far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, "I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go."
CARTER 1980: Let me talk for a moment about what that job is like and what I've learned from it. I've learned that only the most complex and difficult task comes before me in the Oval Office. No easy answers are found there, because no easy questions come there. I've learned that for a president, experience is the best guide to the right decisions. I'm wiser tonight than I was four years ago. And I have learned that the presidency is a place of compassion. My own heart is burdened for the troubled Americans, the poor and the jobless and the afflicted. They've become part of me.

I’ve Finally Got Energy Figured Out:
OBAMA: You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We have doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day, more than any administration in recent history. And today the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in the last two decades.
So now you have a choice between a strategy that reverses this progress or one that builds on it.
We've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we'll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country's energy plan or endanger our coastlines or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers. We're offering a better path.
We're offering a better path where we—a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal, where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks, where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy, where—where we develop a hundred-year supply of natural gas that's right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.
CARTER 1980: The battle to secure America's energy future has been fully and finally joined. Americans have cooperated with dramatic results. We've reversed decades of dangerous and growing dependence on foreign oil. We are now importing 20 percent less oil. That is one-and-a-half million barrels of oil every day less than the day I took office. This is what they propose: to destroy the windfall profits tax and to unleash the oil companies and let them solve the energy problem for us.

Maybe it’s just coincidence, or circumstance; maybe there’s nothing else that can be said to ask for four more years of a failed presidency.
Let’s hope, for the sake of our nation’s future, that Obama is exactly as effective with these words as Carter was.

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