It has become received wisdom that, despite the horrendous economy, Barack Obama is sitting pretty for re-election. The Republican party, ever the masters of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, will put forward a severely damaged, desperately weak candidate as so often before, who will be steamrollered by overwhelming media bias and Obama's billion dollars in campaign money.
Maybe. It's a fact that both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are horrifically flawed standard-bearers for the supposed party of conservatism and that the media will remind all America of every mistake they've ever made going back to kindergarten for a solid year to come. If Barack Obama were Bill Clinton, the pundits would be right; there'd be little hope.
But Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton. Don't believe the media puffery about his brilliance and transcendent genius! The last three years have proven that Mr. Obama knows how to give a good speech, maybe even better than ol' Slick Willie, but when it comes to translating words into concrete action, he's little better than a student body president.
This week's State of the Union address was billed as the opening speech of Mr. Obama's campaign in which he'd lay out the themes whereby to seek re-election. That should have been a tough hill to climb considering that unemployment and prices are far higher now than when he took office with no serious sign of improvement. Even the Democrats admit that, after an entire term to fix things, Mr. Obama owns this economy - and it's like an albatross around his neck.
In 2008, Mr. Obama famously ran on the themes of Hope and Change. He ran against The Man, and against all of Mr. Bush's mistakes. Four years on, he is The Man; he can't run against the establishment because he is the establishment. It's hard even to run on policy ideas - if these ideas are so great, why didn't you try them three years ago?
Yet that's precisely what he's doing. Aside from the death of Osama bin Laden and our abandonment of Iraq and Afghanistan, he could have given the same speech last year or the year before. In fact, in large part he did: theme after theme, same bull, different day.
He talked about corporate tax reform as he's been doing for his entire presidency without doing a thing about it beyond flapping his jaws. If that would create jobs, why wasn't it Job One? If it won't create jobs, why talk about it?
He talked about clean energy and the jobs it would create as if he'd never heard of the Solyndra scandal. He's been talking about green jobs since he was a Senator; there weren't any then and there aren't now. Unemployed Americans can't be fooled forever.
He talked about the potential of domestic natural gas from shale, as if everyone wasn't aware that he just turned down a pipeline for Canadian shale-oil fuel and that his own EPA just released a report condemning the "fracking" technology used to get gas out of shale.
In short, his speech was the same class-warfare, hyper-partisan, hypocritical, scorched-earth divisiveness we've grown so sadly used to over the past few years, even while he was condemning his opponents (naturally) for just those things.
Oh, there were a few good points he took credit for in his speech and justifiably so: the greatly diminished number of illegal immigrants jumping across our border and our reduced Arab oil imports. Both are indeed good things, and certainly his responsibility; unfortunately, both are also the direct result of the Obama depression we're in. We import less oil because we can't afford it; illegals come here for jobs, and when there aren't any, they stop coming. The cure is worse than the disease.
For his entire career, Barack Obama has depended on the media to cover for him, to report him only in the best possible light, to ignore and demean any facts that make him look bad. This faith is well founded and it isn't going to change - but Mr. Obama is forgetting that Americans do actually have some semblance of minds and somewhat of a memory. They also now have ready access to foreign media, which is not fooled.
How can Mr. Obama campaign on the exact same proposals that he's had one term to implement? There are only two choices: he's failed to accomplish his policies, or he's tried them and they failed to create jobs. Either way, he doesn't deserve re-election and polls show the American people realize it.
The State of the Union address, Mr. Obama's big chance to kick off his campaign, fell completely flat to anyone with a memory, brain, or common sense. The eventual Republican nominee may be desperately flawed, but at least he'll offer the Hope of a Change. Change is what we need, and in his own words, Mr. Obama is offering nothing beyond more of the same.
The utter failure of everything he stands for can't be concealed no matter what the media say.