Obama accomplishment: makes Jimmy Carter look good. Latest - walks away from a GOP tax gift from Toomey

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    Nov 23, 2011 8:59 PM GMT
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204443404577054141769215880.html?mod=ITP_opinion_0

    Greatest miscalculation: a re-election campaign that gives up on growth, that resorts to score-settling and resentment.

    Carter at least did not substitute his priorities for the nation's.


    By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr

    The good news is that growing economies can afford a great deal of government, if not quite as much as the Europeans and the U.S. have promised themselves.

    The bad news is that "policy error" are the saddest words in the language. These words, starting in the 1960s, came to dominate serious post mortems on the Great Depression of the 1930s, which blighted so many lives.

    Which brings us to President Obama. Has a president ever arrived freer to choose his own course, to devise his own response to the economic crisis that greeted him in office? Candidate Obama landed with no explicit ideological commitments (at least that he cared to share). He was an icon of something else altogether, and his followers were ready to follow wherever he led.

    Alas, a few days before his all-but-certain election, he glibly telegraphed what would prove the seminal mistake of his administration, telling Time magazine's Joe Klein that, right after fixing the financial crisis, "a new energy economy . . . That's going to be my No. 1 priority when I get into office."

    The financial crisis would not be fixed, but Mr. Obama decided our sagging economy would just have to endure fights over the big ideas he was so determined to implement anyway, including health care, re-empowering labor, redressing income inequality, etc.

    Let us suggest a counterintuitive historical parallel. Jimmy Carter also came to the presidency as a "progressive" Democrat, amid a failing economy. He also had considerable freedom to define his own agenda, riding a wave of Watergate revulsion rather than an ideological mandate.

    But Mr. Carter had served aboard Navy submarines. He ran a peanut plantation. He served one term as Georgia governor—real jobs that produce real effects. Mr. Carter saw himself in some realistic relation to the world.

    The world is big. A president, even the president's "progressive" commitments, are small in comparison.

    It was no part of Mr. Carter's progressive heritage to dismantle the regulatory state that the original progressives had erected. But he did so—in airlines, trucking, railroads and (partially) energy—and made a virtue of it.

    It was no part of his progressive heritage to prioritize a strong dollar, but he did so—appointing and supporting Paul Volcker because inflation-fighting had to be done.

    The Carter presidency was a mixed bag, but he had the requisite adult judgment for the job. He did not abandon his "progressive" values, but he could see the obvious—that the times called for backing and filling in the "progressive" project, not charging ahead, onward and upward oblivious to realities.

    He never got credit from the political calendar, but the Reagan economy was truly built on a Carter-Reagan foundation. Lost amid the shouting, the continuities of American life are often impressively large. Check out Mr. Carter's speech to the 1980 Democratic convention, in which he boasted unembarrassedly and at length about "slashing regulations" and "restoring free enterprise" to failing regulated industries.

    You perhaps see where we're going. Mr. Obama's career has been one in which the main effect has been the impression he leaves on audiences—the main effect has been himself. Familiarity with his country—or any other country—would be helpful at this point, if only to counterweight his mesmerization with the arc of his personal story.

    Even at this late date, he could tell his aides: "I see the bill coming due for a generation of excesses and the last thing we need is more excesses. I want growth. I want only proposals that encourage growth."

    Our economy has great internal resiliency, even with Europe imploding, even with households weighed down by underwater mortgages. Population continues to grow. Families form and need homes. Cars wear out and need replacing. Domestic energy development is booming. Manufacturing is enjoying a renaissance. Boeing just announced its biggest plane sale ever. McDonald's is doing great.

    Yet his greatest miscalculation is still to come. His aides are sizing up a re-election campaign that gives up on growth, that resorts to score-settling and resentment.

    His enemy will be the banks, which he bailed out. His enemy will be Wall Street—though the GOP rejoinder will be too easy: Tim Geithner.

    His enemy will be big business—the same big business whose adaptation to a chaotic global policy environment recently has been nothing short of revelatory.

    This is triply sad because Mr. Obama, just this week, was handed a heaven-sent opportunity, a gift beyond his deserts. That gift was GOPer Pat Toomey's tax-reform plan, floated as part of the super-committee deliberations.

    Sen. Toomey's plan concedes a big revenue hike on "the rich" in return for reforming the tax code based on pro-growth principles that both parties and Mr. Obama have endorsed. Mr. Obama, if he had the political creativity he credits himself with, would now pick it up and run with it, instantly redeeming the super-committee "failure" with an act of presidential leadership.

    The suspicion becomes nigh irresistible, however, that Mr. Obama is lacking in the leadership department as the country stumbles towards its ultimate financial crisis. But give him credit for one world-historical achievement: He makes Carter look good.

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    Nov 23, 2011 9:58 PM GMT
    Wow. The WSJ editorial page's stunning lunacy continues to impress.

    I expect the writer's insight into the Obama reelection campaign comes from hacking the WH phones.

    Good job, Rupert!
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    Nov 23, 2011 10:15 PM GMT
    Christian73 saidWow. The WSJ editorial page's stunning lunacy continues to impress.

    I expect the writer's insight into the Obama reelection campaign comes from hacking the WH phones.

    Good job, Rupert!


    What is even more stunning is that people actually believe this BS. Amazing...
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    Nov 23, 2011 10:30 PM GMT
    Christian73 saidWow. The WSJ editorial page's stunning lunacy continues to impress.

    I expect the writer's insight into the Obama reelection campaign comes from hacking the WH phones.

    Good job, Rupert!

    Writing on the wall is getting harder to hide from. He does have one quality for which I am truly grateful: extreme arrogance. That will keep him in the race instead of bowing out and letting Hillary take over. That would be the Democrat's best weapon.
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    Nov 23, 2011 11:58 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidWow. The WSJ editorial page's stunning lunacy continues to impress.

    I expect the writer's insight into the Obama reelection campaign comes from hacking the WH phones.

    Good job, Rupert!

    Writing on the wall is getting harder to hide from. He does have one quality for which I am truly grateful: extreme arrogance. That will keep him in the race instead of bowing out and letting Hillary take over. That would be the Democrat's best weapon.



    John - Of all the conservatives on this site, you're the one that I expect to see through this kind of hooey. It's one thing for the hoi polloi to believe it, but you're an educated man who can't possibly not see how deranged the Republicans have become.
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    Nov 24, 2011 12:09 AM GMT
    Christian73 said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidWow. The WSJ editorial page's stunning lunacy continues to impress.

    I expect the writer's insight into the Obama reelection campaign comes from hacking the WH phones.

    Good job, Rupert!

    Writing on the wall is getting harder to hide from. He does have one quality for which I am truly grateful: extreme arrogance. That will keep him in the race instead of bowing out and letting Hillary take over. That would be the Democrat's best weapon.

    John - Of all the conservatives on this site, you're the one that I expect to see through this kind of hooey. It's one thing for the hoi polloi to believe it, but you're an educated man who can't possibly not see how deranged the Republicans have become.

    Christian - I appreciate the comment and also hold you to a higher standard. But I have to say, and it's not to be provocative, that I absolutely agree with the great majority of comments from the right. And I also believe Obama's policies are damaging to the country. I'm a moderate, believe it or not, and pragmatic, per my comments on immigration in the other thread. If the blue-dogs within the Democratic Party still had some clout, I could see them as a reasonable counter-balance if the Republicans go crazy over social issues, for example.

    From my perspective, I think you are in a reaction mode, as exemplified by your response to the Toomey proposal. While I understand it did not provide the soak the rich plans the Democrats so crave today (ok using charged rhetoric, so will also say it this way,...does not provide tax hikes on the wealthy that the Democrats prefer), the fact that Senator Durbin thought it was a breakthrough should give some weight to the fact that it was a legitimate offer. I think the Democrats are playing political games, all intended to further Obama's election theme that the Congress is do nothing. I think their conduct begets the sharp reactions I and others have.
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    Nov 24, 2011 4:26 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Christian73 saidWow. The WSJ editorial page's stunning lunacy continues to impress.


    True. It is truly insane these days to read such truth in the media.


    Thanks for backing up my assertion for the majority of those here who will see your imprimatur as a sure sign of lunacy.
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    Nov 24, 2011 5:50 AM GMT
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 said
    Christian73 saidWow. The WSJ editorial page's stunning lunacy continues to impress.


    True. It is truly insane these days to read such truth in the media.


    Thanks for backing up my assertion for the majority of those here who will see your imprimatur as a sure sign of lunacy.


    Versus yours? I mean you've already acknowledged you are an extremist as far as that goes and are completely unafraid to lie to further your views.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Nov 24, 2011 10:55 AM GMT
    I dunno SoCal?

    Mebbe you should run that one by Mr Norquist and see what he says

    He's the one who's running your party

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    Nov 24, 2011 2:17 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 said
    Christian73 saidWow. The WSJ editorial page's stunning lunacy continues to impress.


    True. It is truly insane these days to read such truth in the media.


    Thanks for backing up my assertion for the majority of those here who will see your imprimatur as a sure sign of lunacy.


    Versus yours? I mean you've already acknowledged you are an extremist as far as that goes and are completely unafraid to lie to further your views.


    Nope. I never claimed to be an extremist and am constitutionally incapable for lying.