Obama doubles down on failed budget strategy
In his weekly address, President Obama promised Americans "pain" unless his budget is accepted, junking the small cuts in the rate of increase in federal spending that Sequester brought, and "replacing" it with a "balanced" approach (more taxes). Apparently the president doesn't get it. The public has wised up in sufficient numbers that they blame him, not the mean old GOP, when the pain he gins up in response is felt. The old generic Democrat strategy of closing fire stations or White House tours or threatening Big Bird whenever spending doesn't rise fast enough to suit them has stopped working for him.
The Democrats in Congress know it. They folded on Sequester this week, when they hurried to move funds around allowing other spending to be cut at the FAA, instead of inflicting maximum pain by cutting Atlanta, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles air traffic controllers. People certainly noticed that. It squandered the time of a generally affluent flying public, and cost airlines untold millions of dollars. But instead of demanding the Republicans in Congress raise taxes, they complained about Obama and the Democrats refusing to cut fat instead.
John Hinderaker of Powerline summarized Obama's problem:
Too many Americans have seen through the Democrats' game. And, more broadly, the general perception is that the federal government wastes a great deal of money, so that a two or three percent reduction in the growth of federal spending ought to be absorbed easily without cutting back on vital services.
Obama and the Democrats destroyed their credibility by wild expressions of doom in the stare-down, the game of chicken he played with the GOP on Sequester. He never expected them to call his bluff. He also probably failed to understand the impact on the public of the images of wild partying by federal employees at taxpayer expense. Just about everyone but federal government employees and their crony capitalists has had a really tough time since 2008, and people know it. Almost every employer has had to pare spending more drastically than 2%. Washington has become the wealthiest city in the country and has grown fat, while the host on which it feeds, the private economy, has withered. One little picture of a gold chain wearing guy with that grin, in a high roller suite up high in Vegas-baby-Vegas tells a much bigger story, embodying an archetype. Suckers!
I would guess that most households have faced actual reductions in spending, not just cuts in the rate of spending growth. So they simply don't buy the narrative the Democrats are peddling.
Obama is betting on his magical powers of persuasion, his great oratory, his "gift" to peddle line that people simply don't believe. Jonah Goldberg identifies the key intellectual underpinning of this delusion:
"You know, I actually believe my own bull****."
That's what President Obama once told a reporter. If the man ever uttered a statement that spoke more to his approach to politics, I haven't heard it.
Whether it stems from a grandiose overconfidence in his own powers of persuasion, or the lessons he took from his years as a community organizer, or his own messianic conviction that he is on the right side of everything, including history itself, the president has always operated under the theory that he can move the American people to his causes. And he can't. He just can't.
So we have a president who is the captive of his delusions, pushing on a string, who is still going to punish the American people if he doesn't get his way on spending, when the public knows that there are plenty of other cuts that could be made instead.
Under President Obama, the president's weekly radio address has evolved into the president's "weekly address" posted on YouTube. Watch the video below and see if you think he can talk the rubes into buying his snake oil.