By Steve Shute
In an episode that escaped any real notice by the mainstream media – surprise, surprise – President Barack Obama made a rather remarkable Freudian slip – or was it an admission? – in his closing statement at the first Presidential Debate last evening at the University of Denver:
“All those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is — is channeled and — and they have an opportunity to succeed. And everybody’s getting a fair shot. And everybody’s getting a fair share… err… everybody’s doing a fair share, and everybody’s playing by the rules.”
So, this is what you get when Barack Obama misplaces his teleprompter.
What you get, inevitably, is the REAL Obama. The redistributionist, welfare-statist, huckster politician who wishes to encourage government dependency instead of attempting to stamp it out. The “you didn’t build that,” “spread the wealth around,” “acted stupidly” Obama.
Unlike most of the chattering class out there – both on the left and the right – who wanted to grade last night’s debate as some sort of macabre boxing match (case in point: the narrative today is that former Governor Mitt Romney “landed some serious blows, but there were no knockout punches,” whatever that means), yours truly watched with an eye on what each candidate was saying about their own plans, and not necessarily what they were saying about each other.
To be fair, given the bleak-to-terrible performance of the economy (by any statistical measure, even the federal government’s own “lipstick-on-a-pig” distorted figures), all Romney had to do to win was walk out on that stage, smile, look presidential, lay out the facts, and let Obama try to defend the indefensible – i.e., his dismal economic record. In this respect, Romney did the job quite well (although I was rather dismayed by many of his own policy prescriptions, which were a moderate mishmash of public-private partnerships, bipartisan compromise, and way too much of the status-quo for my liking).
But, boy, did Obama step in it. Many, many times.
For example, in the discussion on Obamacare (in which Obama said he’s “become fond of this term” – another insight into his narcissistic nature), just moments after going after Mitt Romney for protecting insurance companies and their obscene profits, he admitted that the Obamacare exchanges would deliver a captive marketplace for these same insurance companies and boost their profits.
Huh? How can Romney be wrong about deregulating the marketplace because it would help insurance companies, but Obama’s idea of providing insurance companies with an unlimited, guaranteed revenue stream – and profit margins – simultaneously be right?
Another whopper came about 5 minutes later in the exchange about the role of government. Shortly after a back-and-forth with Romney about the role of the federal government in public schools, Obama said this gem:
“You know, this is where budgets matter, because budgets reflect choices.”
If that were the case, Mr. President, then where is your budget? We honestly don’t know, because although three have been proposed by you, they have been so out of touch with reality that not a single member of Congress – Republican OR Democrat – has supported them. Instead, using a mix of Continuing Resolutions, Executive Orders, and accounting tricks, you have spent money in a way that would make a drunken sailor blush. $787 billion in a failed “stimulus.” $90 billion in so-called “green” energy initiatives (although the only ones who have seen “green” with that spending seem to have been your largest campaign contributors). $1.6 trillion (and probably much, MUCH more) in largesse to foreign central banks, to prop up their failed socialist economies.
Government as “guarantor” or “savior?”
“But I also believe that government has the capacity, the federal government has the capacity to help open up opportunity and create ladders of opportunity and to create frameworks where the American people can succeed.”
The federal government may have the “capacity,” but does it have the authority to do these things? The Constitution of the United States (which Obama is supposedly well versed in, being a Constitutional Law professor and all) says, emphatically and unequivocally, “NO.”
I’m still astounded by this statement from Obama on the role of government in education:
“We use something called Race to the Top. Wasn’t a top-down approach, Governor. What we’ve said is to states, we’ll give you more money if you initiate reforms. And as a consequence, you had 46 states around the country who have made a real difference.”
States still matter – or they should, as long as the Tenth Amendment exists – and if federal control of state policies in the form of denying funds to states that don’t “toe the line” dictated from Washington, DC (or incentivizing those that do) is not “top-down,” then up is truly down, war is peace, and freedom is slavery. (Oops, slipped into a little “1984″ jingoism there.)
Yes, we know where your priorities truly lie, Mr. Obama, because without a teleprompter to hide behind, you begin to tell the truth.
And, although Romney isn’t the greatest shakes himself, it’s clear that Obama and his allies don’t have a clue about how our economy, or our system of government, work. And that makes him – and them – truly dangerous.
Steve Shute is Executive Director of the Hope for America Coalition. The opinions expressed by Mr. Shute are not necessarily those of the HFAC Governing Board or Executive Commitee.