Obama's Address Was About Style, Not Substance

Since Obama has nothing new to say, how he says it is everything.

Obama's long-awaited jobs plan is, unfortunately, yet another economic plan based on smoke and mirrors.  The hole in Obama's plan is so big Joe Plumber could drive his truck through it.

I was watching Obama's campaign, er, I mean jobs, speech (text from Tucson Citizen.com) tonight and it reminded me of a famous Steve Martin clip on Saturday Night Live:

"You say.. "Steve.. how can I be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes?" First.. get a million dollars. Now.. you say, "Steve.. what do I say to the tax man when he comes to my door and says, 'You.. have never paid taxes'?" Two simple words. Two simple words in the English language: "I forgot!" How many times do we let ourselves get into terrible situations because we don't say "I forgot"? Let's say you're on trial for armed robbery. You say to the judge, "I forgot armed robbery was illegal." Let's suppose he says back to you, "You have committed a foul crime. you have stolen hundreds and thousands of dollars from people at random, and you say, 'I forgot'?" Two simple words: Excuuuuuse me!!"

Classic Steve Martin humor.  The President uses the same logic; only he tries to pass it off as serious.  The ridiculousness of his explanation of how this plan will be paid for is on par with Martin's "I forgot!" and "Excuuuuuse me!!"

First, Congress is supposed to be working on cutting spending for the sake of cutting spending. In his speech he said he is asking Congress "to increase that amount (the amount they will cut spending) so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act."  In plain English that means that cuts in spending the Congress might have made independently of this "Jobs Act" will now be assigned to cover this bill, which means they are no longer cuts to reduce the deficit.  Cutting spending and enacting new programs isn't cutting spending.

Second, I wouldn't bet my lunch money on Congress agreeing on the first $1.5T they are supposed to cut, let alone another $450B.  Yet he insists Congress pass this bill now, now, now.  If I even thought the bill were worth passing or agreed that the "deficit-cutting" was a rational way to pay for it (which I don't) I would at least require Congress succeed in the deficit-cutting part of the promise before the plan were enacted.  But, no!  He wants to agree to spend now and pay later, not unlike the whole spending culture of Washington in general.

Third, "And a week from Monday, I'll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan, a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run."  Why a week from Monday?   Is it because this allows him to get "credit" from those on the receiving end without having to pay for it now -- like the whole Washington spending culture in general?   Or is it because he doesn't have a more ambitious plan and is hoping one will appear to him in a dream?  And if he doesn't come up with one, he can always just demand Congress find even more money to cut elsewhere and we can therefore not spend it by spending it.  (Sorry if you are confused, but who isn't?)

Some might say the reason for presenting the rest of his "plan" on Monday is so he won't be on national TV at a joint session of Congress when he presents any bad news.  (You notice there was no bad news in his impassioned speech this evening).  I, for one, think his new "plan" will have as much meat in it as his jobs bill.  Tofu at best.  And he doesn't want to look even more foolish on television.

The liberal Michael Tomasky, writing for the The Daily Beast has a gem for his first paragraph:

"I usually hate it when pundits put style ahead of substance. It's most often done by people who don't actually know much about substance, or don't give any indication of knowing much. So when someone writes a sentence like "It's not so much what Barack Obama says on Thursday night as how he says it," I groan. Having said all that: It's not so much what Barack Obama says on Thursday night as how he says it.

In other words (as much as Tomasky hates to admit it) since Obama "doesn't actually know much about substance, or doesn't give any indication of knowing much," how he says it is all he's got.

And for anyone who has any doubts, don't be misled into thinking this was a jobs speech: this was a campaign speech through and through.  Here's how you know:

*Obama is a Democrat

*He promised everything

*He provided a fantasy plan to pay for it

*He's blaming the opposition in advance for anything that goes wrong

And don't expect Obama to change course any time soon: to do that would be to admit he was wrong and his policies have cost future generations and us dearly, with an apology in order.  Not likely from a guy who consistently blames everyone else for his failures.

After all, to borrow from Mr. Martin again: "An apology? Bah! Disgusting! Cowardly! Beneath the dignity of any gentleman, however wrong he might be."