- The Washington Times - Friday, May 18, 2012

Americans are suffering under Barack Obama’s rule, and our republic faces an existential challenge. Federal spending is out of control, and Democrats refuse even to pass a budget. America’s credit rating has been downgraded, and a debt crisis looms. So what is President Obama’s response? Hey, look over there, a shiny object!

Once upon a happier time for Mr. Obama, he swore, “I’m going to keep talking about the issues that matter - about the economy and health care and education and energy.” That was in October 2008, when he claimed that Sen. John McCain was trying to “distract” you with other issues. But that was then, and now is the time to grade the president on those four issues.

Mr. Obama has to know his presidency has been an unmitigated disaster. His failed trillion-dollar stimulus has indentured our grandchildren into a lifetime of debt, and for what exactly? Turtle tunnels costing $3 million and $200,000 tattoo removals. Well, that and a real unemployment rate that approaches 15 percent, a historic, record number of poor souls reduced to food stamps and an economic growth rate slower than Michael Moore at a track meet.

Obamacare collapses more each day and is on the verge of being struck down by the Supreme Court. Mr. Obama’s admitted desire that energy prices “will necessarily skyrocket” has come true with gas prices that have doubled since he took office and since he has, in his own words, put “a boot on the neck” of energy suppliers. As for education, the president has only one idea: Spend more money. That and allow the first lady to ban from school cafeterias every last morsel of food that kids actually like. Meanwhile, standardized test scores remain as stagnant as they’ve been since the Department of Education opened its trillion-dollar doors.

So our president is doing his darndest to distract us from the issues that threaten the survival of America. Last week it was homosexual marriage. Before that it was student loans, birth control and hooded sweatshirts. He’d rather talk about how he used to eat dogs than discuss jobs. This is the incredibly shrinking president. As Iowahawk blogger David Burge recently tweeted: “The only thing we have to fear is talking about the economy.”

We should judge Mr. Obama by his own standards. He says that avoiding the important issues should be recognized for what it is: a distraction. He also said of fixing the economy: “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.” Fine, let’s take him at his word.

The Obamanomics disaster continues unabated even as the graduation season is upon us. We’re reminded how American families once proudly looked upon this tradition with sunny optimism as we passed the torch to the next generation and they embarked on the American dream in the land of opportunity. Today, the disheartening reality is that there simply are not real jobs for half of the 1.7 million college graduates. Welcome to Barack Obama’s America.

Someone should ask President Obama just how unemployed homosexual couples are supposed to get married if they can’t afford a wedding.

As important as same-sex marriage may be to some people - or, for that matter, birth control, student loans, hooded sweatshirts or even canine cuisine - no one would argue that the fate of America lies in the balance of these issues. The fate of the dog - that’s another matter. Conservatives and libertarians, Republicans and independents should reject the president’s transparent attempt to divide them. Instead, let’s demand that our president confront the issues that actually threaten the survival of our nation. Fighting over secondary issues is a luxury we can’t afford right now. Let’s first save the republic from out-of-control spenders like Barack Obama and then sort those out.

As for the embarrassing spectacle of an American president resorting to a campaign of distractions, here’s what Mr. Obama himself once said: “That’s what you do when you’re out of touch, out of ideas, and running out of time.” Indeed.

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.