Less than a year ago, President Obama’s “hope and change” refrain train hit Washington to fanfare probably not experienced since VE-Day. There’s no point parsing every word, analyzing every speech, and interpreting every nuance that lead to his overwhelming victory. But what many voters took “hope and change” to mean remains something quite different from what’s its meant as a practical political and policy matter for the Administration.
Last night’s election results was a rebuke of President Obama, not candidate Obama. The country hoped for a new beginning but they never enlisted in a program to feed the growth of the public sector that substantially changes the contours of America.
The recent assessment of the jobs supposedly “saved or created” by the stimulus package is telling: half the jobs were in the public sector. The Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency in Salem, Oregon reported that its grant of nearly $400,000 went to pay raises. The misreporting of the impact of stimulus funds isn’t the White House’s fault, but their misapplication is, and it has the stench of government as usual.
After the abuse of dollars plowed into New Orleans post-Katrina, who would have believed the federal stimulus plan wouldn’t be abused, misdirected or wasted? A community organizer, perhaps. Indeed, New Orleans was a test case for the very likely outcome of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the proof is the unemployment figures that continued to climb long after the stimulus funds were injected into the economy.
The American people caught on to the reality that the political class in Washington, as Peggy Noonan so incisively put it, is callous and stupid. Weatherization programs that the Administration touted were never a key to recovery, nor was hiring more teachers. These are not wealth-creating activities. It’s been a head fake. With unemployment crushingly high in some states, the White House should be the least surprised by the outcome of the elections, which is why one report said the President wouldn’t be watching election returns last night.
He didn’t have to because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) issued the most reliable exit poll earlier in the day when he moved the Senate timetable on both the health care nationalization plan and the “make Texas a rust belt state” program (i.e. climate change legislation that could put hundreds of thousands of Texas jobs at risk). These are signature features of the Administration’s push to remake the economy.
When exposed, both proposals rest on tax increases, regulatory mandates, fines and penalties and a further erosion of the federalist system. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s version of health care “reform” funds abortions in the public option and through federal tax subsidies of private insurance plans that pay for abortions. What does public funding of abortion have to do with helping the uninsured?
This is precisely the cynical antic President Obama abides because his governing priorities and underlying ideology are at odds with massive numbers of voters, especially those self-proclaimed independents who placed so much trust in him. Last night, they manifest their frustrations in New Jersey, Virginia, Maine and even New York where the Conservative and GOP candidates won more than 50% of the vote in NY-23.
Given the size of the congressional majorities, health care nationalization and climate change taxation proposals still have life but barely. There are 85 Democrat congressmen who hold seats that either George W. Bush or John McCain won in either 2004 or 2008. Bush and McCain both won 48 of those seats. The earth moved under the feet of scores of congressmen last night.
President Obama must have had a whole lot more fun partying with Bruce Springsteen at his inauguration than the political hangover of his own creation that he’s dealing with today.