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CURL: Obama’s speech will save civilization

- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 4, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

How lucky are we, people? We live in a Golden Age — Netflix, iPads, those little plastic wands that let you pick up a tennis ball covered with dog slobber without using your hands. We have NyQuil and DayQuil, reddit.com, Brew-Thrus, and that little beeper thing that lets you find your keys wherever they are.

And now — now, people — we are about to be witness to The Greatest Speech Ever Spoken. The Gettysburg Address? Please. That was written on an envelope by a guy in a stovepipe hat. Lou Gehrig's "Farewell to Baseball"? Not even close (close, close, close). Pericles' Funeral Oration? C'mon, Pericles didn't use a TelePrompTer and it wasn't even televised.

From the buildup, this speech will be JFK's Inaugural, MLK's "I Have a Dream," and Churchill's "We Shall Fight On The Beaches" rolled into one.

Call it The Speech That Saved The World. In just less than 60 minutes (give or take outbreaks of open weeping at the sheer beauty of the prose), President Obama on Thursday will — single-handedly — save civilization. Via history's most florid rhetoric — written, of course, by his own pen, longhand, over weeks, months — Mr. Obama will lay out in specific terms how he, and he alone, can put some 15 million unemployed Americans back to work while also spurring business to spend, spend, spend. In the process, he will make the world's economies and global markets exclaim, 'Yes! Yes We Can!' thus ending world turmoil (phew, just in the nick of time!).

Now, I know what you naysayers are saying. What could he possibly say now, nearly three years into his presidency, that will shore up the flagging economy? What could he possibly try that he hasn't already tried?

To that I say simply: Pavement. Lots and lots of pavement. But not just paving roads ... oh, no, we're talking bridges, too, and even airport runways (which we call tarmacking). We'll pour so much concrete and lay down so much asphalt that we will come shooting out of this malaise.

But that's not all. No, he won't stop there. He'll target the country's richest men and women, demanding they pay more. And he'll demand business pay more, too. Sure, they create the jobs (not the president), but by paying more, they'll have less to spend creating jobs. (Wait, that doesn't sound right. Oh, well, never mind; he'll explain it, and it really will make sense. Just you wait.)

Of course, you naysayers (always with the naysaying!) will say, "Why didn't he do this three years ago when he had control of Congress, even a supermajority in the Senate?" You'll say, "If he's got THE answer, why didn't he just submit a ream of papers to Congress spelling out the specifics. They would be so compelling and complete that even the recalcitrant tea partyers would have say, 'Hmm, sounds good. Let's do it.' "

To which the president would simply say, Where's the humility in that? No, no, best if I deliver my speech before a joint session of Congress, after demanding that a joint session of Congress hear my speech on their first day back from break. ("It's urgent! Urgent, d*** it! So urgent I announced I'd deliver it after my 10-day vacation to Martha's Vineyard, and after another weekend at my presidential retreat! Hear me now!")

It would all be too sad if it weren't all so laughable. Mr. Obama has no answers; he's tried this all before — infrastructure, tax the rich, blah, blah, blah. But the real motive behind the whole brouhaha about the speech shows the simplistic tack the Obama re-elect team will take in 2012: Blame Congress. The president had all the answers — has always had them — and the economy would be roaring if not for that pesky Congress.

The Republicans, to be specific, who have controlled half of Congress for one-third of his term, are what's wrong, he'll tell America. Mr. Obama's grand and glorious speech is not about saving the economy, it's about spreading the blame. Already you can hear the tumultuous standing ovations from the Democrats and see the sullen Republicans sulkily sitting on their hands.

The Harvard-educated professor is out of ideas. His $800 billion stimulus was supposed to drop the unemployment rate to 6.5 percent by now. But it's 9.1 percent, and last month, the president's efforts produced not one single job. But his speech will place new blame. Mr. Obama will, in the grand hall of Congress, portray Republicans — and the grass-roots tea partyers swept into office in direct response to his policies — as rubes and, between the lines, as racist.

So long to Mr. Obama's Hope and Change. It's now Mope and Estrange. And that's not much of a platform to run on, a fact Mr. Obama will see only too late.

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at jcurl@washingtontimes.com.

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