I could not improve on Rich Lowry’s title. Nor could I think of anything more fitting.
He spoke for more than an hour, but the quick gloss might have been, “It’s not my fault, and please ignore your lying eyes.” Obama did everything in the speech – reach out to the middle class, feel people’s pain, try to recapture the stirring magic of past oratory – except acknowledge what people dislike about his agenda and recalibrate accordingly.
Obama noted that we had a budget surplus of more than $200 billion in 2000, and a deficit of more than $1 trillion before he took office. It’s true that the fiscal picture deteriorated dramatically with the recession and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, prior to Obama’s ascension. But Obama’s historic spending spree and ever-growing entitlements are what create the current $1 trillion deficits as far as the eye can see.
As an antidote, he now wants a three-year spending freeze on about 13 percent of the federal budget. This portion of the budget has seen an almost 20 percent increase during the past two years, not including gigantic boosts in the stimulus bill. The freeze is supposed to save $15 billion next year, but Obama called in his address for a new “jobs bill” that, in the House, has a price tag of another $150 billion. The freeze, in other words, is a simulacrum of fiscal restraint painted in red ink.
The left is currently mindlessly parroting the words whispered in their ears by the Wizard’s endless campaign team. (There’s a huge echo chamber up over at Memeorandum at the moment. Read any of the posts and you’ve read them all.) This appears to be the hand of David Plouffe creating another of his plouffles – a light, airy froth of astroturf.
The problem is that Americans no longer listen to the frothy words and self-reverential grandiosities. They are believing their eyes, not the words of the Wizard.