TeeJaw Blog

Megan McCardle Expected Obama To Have a Real Jobs Plan — Huh? Why?

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 8: 53 AM

See Update 9/14 below.

The Atlantic is not a conservative magazine, in fact I think it’s leaned left in recent times.  It’s senior editor Megan McCardle is certainly no conservative, in fact she’s pretty clearly an Obama supporter, at least a hopeful one.  So her comments on Obama’s speech last Thursday are striking:

I was tenatively in favor of the jobs plan that Obama proposed last week.  But that’s before I realized that he has no intention of trying to get it passed.

Ms. McCardle details evidence that the specific proposals Obama has said will pay for his jobs bill will in fact kill jobs. Thus, he knows the House Republicans will not go along with it because it would be political suicide for them.

I didn’t need all the research Ms. McCardle cites to know what Obama’s game was last Thursday night. It should have been obvious to everyone that the Obama speech last Thursday had nothing to do with jobs for us and everything to do with his own job  and whether  it will be a job saved or another job lost in the 2012 election. Obama knows he’s in trouble in 2012. He knows that even the One Billion Dollars in campaign war-chest money he will raise may not be enough to get him to 50.1%. He needs a narrative to get himself off the hook for the economic trouble he has created for the country. This latest “jobs” plan is meant to give him the “do-nothing Congress” political argument that got Harry S Truman re-elected in 1948. Obama wants to be able to say in 2012 that the economy would have improved “if only those obstructionist Republicans had passed my Jobs Bill!”

So he gives them a plate of dog poop, calls it ice cream, and whines when they turn their noses up.

It won’t work. Obama is not Harry S Truman, and 2012 will be nothing like 1948.

Truman had been greatly vilified in 1948. I was only 4 years old, but I can remember my grandfather ranting about Truman. I didn’t know who Truman was, but I knew he was somebody my grandfather didn’t like. He could have lived next door for all I knew;  the rant was intense enough to make an impression on a four-year old. This Truman guy, whoever he was, my grandfather had no use for him. Of course, now I know my grandfather was wrong. But I digress.

Obama’s plan won’t work because Harry S Truman was a master of the “whistle stop campaign” and the economy was good in 1948.  Obama is too narcissistic and arrogant to make the retail connection with people Harry S Truman could do easily. Truman genuinely loved and respected the people of this country.  Obama hates most of us and we know it.  Moreover, the American economy will still be in the tank in 2012. No president can overcome a high unemployment rate and a sick economy. That’s the main measure of their popularity. Obama is hazardous material at this point, and will be toxic in another 12 months of the mess he has created.

Ms. McCardle has more to say:

I really wish that Obama hadn’t wasted my Thursday evening, and that of 31 million other Americans, listening to a jobs plan that was only designed to produce one job–a second term for Barack Obama. I mean, I don’t blame him, exactly. But I get a little pang when I realize that I could just as well have spent that time bleaching the grout in the master bath.

Megan McCardle, you are a senior editor of The Atlantic magazine founded as The Atlantic Monthly in 1867 by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., John Greenleaf Whittier and James Russell Lowell.  Your magazine’s pages have reported American cultural, literary, political and intellectual thought for 144 years.  I was a happy subscriber for about 25  of those years, until you went so far left I could no longer understand or appreciate what you have to offer.  You are yourself an astute political observer.  Surely, you could not possibly have thought that watching Obama’s speech last Thursday evening was going to be anything other than a waste of time.  You had to know it was going to be just what it was:  pure political theater, nothing more.

I guess I understand your problem.  Like Obama, you are still stuck in the “aggregate demand” Keynesian twilight zone.

Obama will no doubt be giving jobs speech #942 soon, so maybe you can get that grout in the master bath cleaned.

UPDATE:  Ms. McCardle has another submission today on The Atlantic site, Why Obama Was Never Going To Be The Next FDR.  There is so much I could say about her current writing if time would permit but it won’t.  I can distill its major theme this way:  Obama’s policies won’t help the economy, that much is admitted and I certainly agree.  I don’t agree that Obama actually wants to improve the economy, but that’s another subject.  Ms. McCardle and her muse for today, Ezra Klein, apparently believe that nobody, absolutely nobody, knows what to do.  Obama is just unfortunate in having his presidency coincide with such a rotten economy.  He has no magic tricks he can perform, and neither does anyone else.

It’s true that Obama can’t come up with a plan to improve the economy because he doesn’t know what that would be.  But others do and it’s fairly simple.  Since it involves government getting out of the way of the people and allowing their animal spirits to go to work, Democrats have no interest.  It isn’t that they don’t know what should be done, it’s that what must be done is something they will never agree to do — get out of the way.

All this brings to mind a Robert Heinlein quote I’ve posted a couple of times before, but it never gets old:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

— Lazarus Long in Time Enough For Love (1973), by Robert Heinlein.

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