The Audacity of Hopelessness

Five years into President Obama’s landmark administration, his campaign slogan of hope and change might as well be “He hopes there will be worthwhile change.” Like the Hindenburg, the hope Obama promised has gone up in flames and the wreckage is laid bare for everyone to see. While the audacity, about which he wrote, has manifested itself by his having Jay Carney stand behind a White House lectern, day-in and day-out, and tell America everything is fine, when obviously it is not. America is burning and Obama is playing a fiddle.

This may sound harsh to diehard Obama supporters, but even they must admit, if only to themselves, his record merits this description. One does not need to be Obama’s opponent to see his administration is a failure. From his own words in his 2014 State of the Union Address, Obama accurately described the state of the US economy.

“Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by; let alone to get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.”

Like it or not, these are the results of Obama’s hope and change. Five years into his administration, he has no one else to blame but himself. He should listen to the advice he gave President Bush on March 16, 2006 when he rose on the floor of the Senate and said, “Leadership means that “the buck stops here.””

Oddly, in that speech he was criticizing Bush for raising the debt limit. He said, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion.” Obama was absolutely correct in this indictment, and by his own standard, he is the lead leadership failure of the last three Presidents.

Between January 2009, when Obama first took office, and October 2013, the Federal debt rose from $10.6 trillion to $16.7 trillion, an increase of 57%. In the same time frame in their administrations, the Federal debt under Bush rose 38% and under Clinton rose 32% according to The Washington Times.[1]

If this were all there was to the story, perhaps we could give him a pass, but failure surrounds this President on nearly everything he promised. He passed an $830 billion stimulus package with the promise that unemployment would not get above 8% and that it would ultimately go down to 5.4%. After he signed the stimulus package into law, unemployment rose to 10% and stayed above 7.5% for 54 straight months, “the longest stretch of unemployment at or above that rate since 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started calculating the national unemployment rate.”[2]

Prior to Obama’s second Presidential election, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics was caught falsely lowering unemployment rates. This election year fraud aside, the unemployment rate has actually come down in recent months, yet it is nowhere near where Obama promised it would be and the good news of a lower unemployment rate is overshadowed by the lowest labor participation rate in the last 16 years. Workers have given up hope they will find a job and have completely left the labor force. Is this the hope that Obama promised?

Obama also promised he would protect Medicare, but in 2012 his own campaign admitted he raided $712 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare. He promised shovel ready jobs only to later admit “shovel ready was not so shovel ready.” He promised to go after earmarks line-by-line, but earmarks have ballooned in laws he has passed. He promised to lower healthcare premiums by $2500 per year, but Jonathan Gruber, an Obamacare advisor, has since admitted Obamacare will raise premiums by 19% – 30%. He promised “If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan, period,” but he has since reneged on this promise as well.[3]

This list could go on-and-on, but I think everyone has gotten the picture, primarily because they are living through it, but even those who deny reality must remain reticent in the face of all the facts.

Mr. Obama does not need to worry about his legacy, it is secure. If he doesn’t make a significant course correction, he will go down as the worst President in recent history, beating out Jimmy Carter for the bottom; which will be no easy feat.

The only thing that can change this outcome is if he not only admits he made mistakes, but changes his policies to go along with his admission. If he does this, he will be vilified by his base, but better to be slanderously vilified by one’s own base then to be accurately demonized by history along with being responsible for the economic suffering of millions. The world can see Obama’s nakedness; it is long past time to stop pretending he has new cloths.

[1] The Washington Times, Obama’s national debt rate on track to double, October 9, 2013.

[2], 54 Months: Record Stretch of 7.5+ Unemployment Continues, July 5, 2013.

[3] Independent Journal Review, 19 Broken Campaign Promises of President Obama, June 10, 2013.


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