- The Washington Times - Monday, May 28, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama is opening up about what he might do with a second term in the White House. It’s a bleak prospect. 

Until now, the president has had to take a divisive approach in making his pitch for re-election. A positive case is hard to make when the public in general is not better off now than it was four years ago. So the Obama campaign’s main tactic has been to instigate fake political fights to drum up support with key demographic groups in his base. He’s done his best to court young people, women and homosexuals. That’s not enough. He needs to secure voters in the middle if he wants to win in November.

At a campaign event in Iowa on Thursday, Mr. Obama revealed a subtle shift toward convincing ordinary Americans that it would be too dangerous to allow Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to move the country back from the extreme left.

“We have come too far to abandon the change that we fought for over these past few years,” Mr. Obama told the Midwesterners. “We’ve got to move forward. We can’t go backward.” By this, he meant Mr. Romney’s promises to repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank Wall Street red tape while cutting federal spending and lowering taxes.

Mr. Obama signaled to his Hawkeye State supporters that, first and foremost, he intends to keep on spending. “Now is the time to double down on biofuels and solar and wind, clean energy that’s never been more promising for our economy and our security and for the safety of the planet,” he said.

In 2008, he said these exact spending priorities were necessary “so that we’re not here talking about high gas prices next summer, and the summer after that, and five summers after that.” So much for that; gas prices have risen almost $2 per gallon since he was elected.

He also promised these energy investments would result in “millions” of jobs in green energy. In Des Moines, however, the lines on the teleprompter changed. Now he says the billions in spending have produced “thousands of jobs.” As unemployment has been stuck over 8 percent during his presidency, this isn’t much of a return on investment.

Medicare is facing similar financial troubles. It’s the biggest driver of our $15.7 trillion debt and will start cutting benefits in 12 years, but Mr. Obama vaguely asserts he can save the entitlement program by “reducing the actual costs of health care.” This seems to be a reference to Obamacare, which so far has increased the cost of health care.

Mr. Obama also told Iowans he would fight for amnesty: “It’s time to stop denying citizenship to responsible young people just because they’re the children of undocumented immigrants.”

Taken together, these promises ought to strike fear in the hearts of mainstream voters. It means the president has learned nothing from the failure of his first term’s liberal policies. Mr. Obama isn’t even somewhat embarrassed by his 2008 pledge to bring hope and change.

“If people ask you what this campaign is about, you tell them, ‘yes, it’s still about hope,’ ” Mr. Obama chimed in his new stump speech. “It’s still about change.” If that’s the case and a second term will only bring more of the same, voters should hope to change the occupant of the Oval Office.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

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