Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Obama's Superficial Mind

Of all the conceits regarding Barack Obama, the most wildly delusional is that he is the possessor of a towering intellect and speaks with soaring prose. Obama himself is quite enraptured with this fantasy and has done much to promote it.
In today's WSJ, Bret Stephens, writing of Obama's decision not to attend the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, contrasts the two presidents.

Abraham Lincoln spoke greatly because he read wisely and thought deeply. He turned to Shakespeare, he once said, "perhaps as frequently as any unprofessional reader." "It matters not to me whether Shakespeare be well or ill acted," he added. "With him the thought suffices."
Maybe Mr. Obama has similar literary tastes. It doesn't show. "An economy built to last," the refrain from his 2012 State of the Union, borrows from an ad slogan once used to sell the Ford Edsel. "Nation-building at home," another favorite presidential trope, was born in a Tom Friedman column. "We are the ones we have been waiting for" is the title of a volume of essays by Alice Walker. "The audacity of hope" is adapted from a Jeremiah Wright sermon. "Yes We Can!" is the anthem from "Bob the Builder," a TV cartoon aimed at 3-year-olds.
There is a common view that good policy and good rhetoric have little intrinsic connection. Not so. President Obama's stupendously shallow rhetoric betrays a remarkably superficial mind. Superficial minds designed ObamaCare. Superficial minds are now astounded by its elementary failures, and will continue to be astounded by the failures to come.
Speaking of Obamacare...Why was its rollout scheduled 3 and 1/2 years after it was passed in early 2010? (Yeah, I know. Even that wasn't long enough for Kathleen (I Need At Least Five Years) Sibelius to get it up and running). If it is such a vital piece of legislation, shouldn't it have been implemented as soon as possible? Save lives and all that.
The answer is another question. Why does this administration do anything? Politics, of course.
Obamacare's implementation was delayed, in part, by legislative politics, allowing its promoters to advance the deceit that its ten year cost would come in under one trillion dollars - ten years counted as 2010 - 2019 - only six of which the law would actually be in place. The phony $940 billion price tag has given way to a more accurate 10 year (2014-2023) estimate of $2.6 trillion - and that is sure to grow (if the law survives).
But the most important reason for the delay was electoral politics. Had Obamacare made its debut in 2011 or 2012, its destructive influence would have been exposed to the electorate by Election Day, 2012. That Obama needed to obscure his signature "accomplishment" to win re-election is reflected in a recent Washington Post poll showing that if the presidential election were held today, Mitt Romney would win 49% - 45%, mirroring Obama's 4 point win in 2012 (51-47).

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