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Tags: Editor's Pick | obama | economy | jobs | unemployment

Obama’s 1,000-day Report Card: ‘Gridlock, Dysfunction'

By    |   Monday, 17 October 2011 12:00 PM

Don’t look for champagne, party horns, and confetti to mark President Barack Obama’s 1,000th day in the White House today.

Indeed, some might be forgiven for feeling that these thousand days of “hope and change” seem more like a thousand years.

Partisan discord — fueled by a president who seems unable to find any common ground with the opposition party — is rife and rancorous.

The economy is seeing its worst times since the Great Depression. Internationally, the country is bogged down in two major wars, while competitors such as China and Brazil take advantage of the mayhem to seize crucial economic terrain and key industries.

Editor’s Note: Can Obama Fix the Economy, Create Jobs, Lower Unemployment? Vote Here Now!

The president whose approval rating stood at a stellar 69 percent on Inauguration Day has seen his popularity dip deep into the cellar on several occasions, dropping below 40 percent. Independents have left him in droves, contributing to a midterm drubbing for Democrats that was among the worst in political history.

As the nation struggles with a Carter-esque malaise, Democratic pollster and Fox News commentator Doug Schoen tells Newsmax: “There is no ‘hope and change,’ no high-minded politics. It is just politics as usual: gridlock, dysfunctionality, and impotence. Sadly, you see it on both sides of the aisle.”

Consider the facts:

Jobs: The president has presided over the loss of 2.2 million jobs.
Debt: Obama has increased taxpayer debt by $4.2 trillion. Every day, the nation runs a deficit of $4.2 billion.
Foreclosure and Bankruptcy: 2.4 million homes have been foreclosed on. Homeowners and businesses have declared 4 million bankruptcies.
The Stimulus: Obama promised that his $787 billion stimulus would save or create 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010. He came up 7.3 million jobs short of his goal, according to the Heritage Foundation.
Healthcare: Obamacare did not reduce healthcare costs as promised and is in fact responsible for increasing costs in 2011. Health insurance premiums are up 13 percent.
Poverty: Nearly 3 million more Americans live in poverty than did before Obama took office.

On Friday, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly summed up the situation perfectly for Republicans in his "Talking Points Memo."

"On the economic side, things remain dismal," O'Reilly said. "The president will try to convince the folks that things could be a heck of a lot worse had he not spent all that money, that his economic policies saved the banks and some car companies.

"Democrats will also say they saved the country from another great depression because the Bush administration was so bad. Some Americans will buy that, even though none of it can be proven."

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Salena Zito reports that, after a recent jobs speech by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in the Steel City, an audience member shouted “Let’s go Obama!”

What followed, Zito reports, was an awkward, prolonged silence — among a crowd of Democrats, no less.

“It was a reaction you'd expect at a Republican rally,” Zito writes, “not from Pittsburgh unionists, elected Democrats, and other party faithful gathered to support Barack Obama's jobs bill.”

Editor’s Note: Can Obama Fix the Economy, Create Jobs, Lower Unemployment? Vote Here Now!

Of course, it has long been a maxim of American politics that presidents campaign in poetry and govern in prose. On the hustings, Obama’s political verse seemed more euphonious than most. But in governance his prose at times has seemed encrypted, as far as the American people are concerned.

The president’s hard-core supporters remain confident he will prevail over GOP primary contenders. As Team Obama awaits the survivor of the struggle between the buttoned-down political competence of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and whichever grass-roots standard-bearer finally prevails, they know they will have to rewrite political history to win re-election: No president since FDR has won re-election with unemployment above 8 percent.

Critics of the administration complain that President Obama seems to speak a different tongue when it comes to connecting with everyday Americans. To be fair, Obama’s shining achievement was giving Seal Team Six the green light to take out Osama bin Laden. But the one-term presidency of George H.W. Bush demonstrates how brief the half-life of foreign-policy success is for a president presiding over a poor economy.

However, the 7.4 percent unemployment rate that Bush-the-elder presided over in November 1992 would look like veritable boom times, compared to the economic circumstances of today.

One thousands days into his presidency, Obama’s own economists project that unemployment will still be about 9 percent on Election Day 2012. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is slightly more sanguine, projecting 8.5 percent joblessness. The fractious tea parties have established formidable get-out-the-vote machines in some congressional districts, as Obama’s “summer of recovery” gave way to a long economic winter of discontent.

Obama’s difficulties transcend economics, however. His “signature legislative achievement,” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is so unpopular that Democrats rarely mention it on the campaign trail.

On Friday, the reforms known as “Obamacare” sustained yet another blow, as the administration pulled the plug on the disability-insurance entitlement known as CLASS, admitting it has no path to economic viability.

Republicans had warned all along that the voluntary program, whose premiums would skyrocket to $3,000 a month by some estimates in return for a $50-a-day payout if you become disabled, was a budgetary gimmick that defied common sense.

Canceling the program after its approval in the Democratically controlled 110th Congress put Obamacare another $80 billion in the red, because the administration had counted on advanced premiums payments to help finance providing insurance to another 35 millions souls.

The administration continues to say the Affordable Care Act will save Americans $120 billion over 10 years, but the CBO is expected to rescore the entire Act now that CLASS is defunct.

Perhaps even more worrisome for the administration: The expected June 2012 timeframe for the Supreme Court to rule whether the individual mandate, the sine qua non of the program’s viability, is constitutional. If Obama loses, he will have only 120 days to explain to American voters why his No. 1 legislative proposal would violate the founding covenant that Obama in 2001 told a Chicago radio station was “a charter of negative liberties” limiting federal power.

“Americans are less free than they were 1,000 days ago,” Obamacare foe and former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey tells Newsmax. “Many of the Obama administration’s acts, and initiatives without legislation, have reduced American freedom and the rule of law.”

She cited the granting of thousands Obamacare waivers granted by the administration to unions and companies as an example of actions she says have pushed the United States closer to “rule by cronyism.”

Allegations of insider favors to supporters are fueling the congressional probe into the loss of 1,100 jobs when the politically connected solar-panel firm Solyndra shuttered its doors after it received a $535 million loan guarantee President Obama hailed as a model green-jobs “investment.”

The administration and Attorney General Eric Holder also find themselves dogged by a flurry of congressional subpoenas stemming from the Operation Fast and Furious program that allowed automatic weapons to “walk” across the border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, which used them in scores of crimes including the December 2010 murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry near Rio Rico, Ariz.

None of the setbacks appear to have discouraged Obama, who at times appears happiest on the campaign trail trying to score tactical points against Republicans. A recent Washington Post editorial by Scott Wilson portrayed Obama as “The loner president.”

Wilson noted that former President Bill Clinton had an army of loyal surrogates — James Carville, Lanny Davis, Dee Dee Myers — to carry his water to the national media. Wilson calls Obama “a political loner who prefers policy over the people who make politics in this country work.”

Although polls show Obama remains well-liked on a personal level, he recently conceded himself that Americans are not better off than they were four years ago, then proceeded to imply that Congress and President George W. Bush bear the blame.

Robert E. Moffit, senior fellow at the Center for Policy Innovation at The Heritage Foundation, tells Newsmax that Team Obama has displayed a penchant for repeating its talking points even when facts no longer support them.

“I think one of the reasons why the president’s approval ratings are so low is not just the economy, but the backdrop of saying things over and over and over again that nobody seriously believes,” Moffit says.

He cites the administration’s ongoing insistence that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will reduce the federal deficit as just one example.

“It gets tiresome and I think at some people start to just simply shut it out. I’m not talking about Republicans,” he says. “I’m talking about Independents — there is very strong evidence that it this is true. Even Democrats are starting to say, ‘I hope he doesn’t say that again. Please don’t say that.’ — and he says it.”

Editor’s Note: Can Obama Fix the Economy, Create Jobs, Lower Unemployment? Vote Here Now!

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Don t look for champagne, party horns, and confetti to mark President Barack Obama s 1,000th day in the White House today. Indeed, some might be forgiven for feeling that these thousand days of hope and change seem more like a thousand years. Partisan discord fueled...
Monday, 17 October 2011 12:00 PM
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