Wednesday, January 26, 2011

American Thinker: Obama Fakes Right

January 25, 2011

Obama Fakes Right

By Steve McCann

The country will be treated to yet another orgasmic reaction by the once-mainstream media upon the conclusion of President Obama's State of the Union speech. On the right, pundits such as Peggy Noonan are swooning once again and offering advice to the president on how to follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton and move to the right with facile rhetoric and symbolic actions.

The majority of the current Ruling Class will fall prey to the Obama cult of personality, as they will measure success not by what he does, but by how he says almost anything. The media elites, living in a fantasy world wherein they choose which history will be repeated, will in fact move heaven and earth to assure that Obama will be reelected as was Bill Clinton in 1996. Clinton won a major reelection victory after having suffered a significant blow in the 1992 midterms, as did Obama. There are, however, innumerable differences between 1996 and 2012. Just how similar are the circumstances between 1994-1996 and 2010-2012?

The most obvious point of comparison is the economy. In January of 1995, the unemployment rate was 5.6%, declining to 5.4% by Election Day, November 1996. The current rate is 9.4%, and the Federal Reserve projects that that rate will average 9.0% for the next two years. The Gross Domestic Product grew at an average rate of 3.9% from 1994-1996. The Federal Reserve projects the GDP to grow an average of 2.5% over the next two years.

Per the Bureau of Economic Statistics, personal income increased 11.7% the second half of Clinton's term; however, the forecast is for a growth of only 3.0% during the later part of Obama's first term. In 1996, the annual federal government deficit was $126 billion; in 2011, it will be over $1.1 trillion. Further, in 1996, the U.S. gross public debt was 66% of GDP; in 2011, it will exceed 100% of GDP. Lastly, for the first time in any ten-year period in the nation's history -- 2000 to 2010 -- the net wealth of the population declined. It fell by 4.5% (inflation-adjusted), all of the losses occurring in 2008-2010. Not only are the people feeling poorer, but they are poorer.

In 1994, one of the major factors in the overwhelming victory of the Republicans in capturing the Congress was Clinton's attempt to enact a health care reform package which failed to pass. Therefore, during the reelection campaign, he was not saddled with the onerous duty of defending something that did not become law, and it was quickly forgotten in the economic good times of the period. Obama, on the other hand, passed a similar measure, and he will have to defend a highly controversial bill whose unpopularity grows as the public continues to learn what is in its 2,700 pages.

China was a relatively benign supplier of cheap goods in 1996. Its Gross Domestic Product today has increased by a factor of six since 1996. It has become a major military power and holds an inordinate amount of influence over the United States due to Chinese ownership of a trillion dollars of American debt. With the near-supine approach to the Chinese leadership by the current occupant of the White House, China is emboldened to push forward with its hegemonic policies in Asia while the United States does nothing to counter Chinese economic growth by promoting American job creation and economic activity. The American people now recognize the threat that China presents, unlike in the 1990s.

Iran, in 1995, was mired in internal politics and a stagnant economy and was barely recovering from a decade-long war with Iraq in the 1980s. Today, Iran holds the key to war or peace in the Middle East with its development of nuclear weapons and its underwriting terrorism throughout not only the Persian Gulf region, but also the world. President Obama has done nothing about this issue except to apologize for the United States and appear feckless on the world stage. Thus, Iran will continue to make headlines and pursue its current path until powerful enough to cause a major conflict in the region.

In 1994, the United States imported 40.1% of its crude oil needs; today, the number is 51.5%, the majority of which comes from volatile countries and regions. Thus, prices at the pump are more susceptible than ever to the vagaries of the market. At this time in 1995, the cost of a gallon of gasoline was $1.26; today, it is $3.17. (Adjusted for inflation the cost of 1995 gas would be $1.89 per gallon in 2011). The prospect for the next two years is for continued high prices, as this administration has effectively killed all domestic exploration and development. The impact on the consumer pocketbook will continue to be overwhelming as incomes continue to stagnate.

Due to the above factors, the Tea Party movement was born. Thus, Obama will face a sustained opposition to his policies. It will make certain that Congress toes a responsible line, and it will not allow the Republican Party to nominate another Bob Dole for president.

The backdrop for President Obama's attempted pirouette to the right is far different from Bill Clinton's. But above all, Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton. Obama is steeped in socialist thinking from his earliest days and has known no other, nor has he cared to embrace any other, thinking. Clinton from his time as governor of a Southern conservative state learned how to deal with reality and did not have any rigid ideological foundation.

Barack Obama will not be able to fool all the people again as in 2008. Too much water has gone over the dam. The country has seen this play before, and thanks to the internet, talk radio, and Fox news, unlike the triangulation of Bill Clinton, the once-mainstream media cannot control the message regardless of how marvelously Barack Obama delivers a propaganda oration.

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