President Barack Obama has spent the week, not simply out of the country, but dialing back and redefining policy “misquotes” by his top staff while struggling with his own party leaders to find a consensus on health care reform and climate change.
Further forcing his hand — Republicans — who have successfully mounted a great offensive and maintained an aggressive attack stance not offering an inch of ground. Even Gov. Sarah Palin managed to convince the cameras that she wasn’t quitting while quitting.
With near-daily rapid response press conference calls, instant rebuttals to administration gaffes and a new RNC ad lampooning President Obama for doing “nothing” — it’s put the “compromiser” and “apologizer-in-chief” on defense. Not good for a president so new.
The political gamesmanship had Republican Minority Whip and conservative rising star Eric Cantor among the first Republicans out of the gate and ready to pounce this week when he said the administration didn’t “misread” the economy as Vice President Joe Biden put it, but “miswrote the stimulus bill.”
Then there was the blog-fueled conservative push to expose that “appalling” $18 million the administration spent to fund its new transparency Web site — using stimulus funds no less! Since I’m not not the most tech savvy, I’m not sure what such a venture is supposed to cost (except that I know its not cheap.) Suffice it to say that it suits the GOP just fine to insist without comparison that it is a lot of money and $18 million is outrageous!
Mudslinging aside, here are a few facts that no amount of spin can change:
• 90 percent of the nearly $800 billion in stimulus funds has not be disbursed to the states.
• Federal spending for 2009 has increased by 25 percent (“the largest non-war government expansion since the New Deal,” according to the Heritage Foundation.)
• Joblessness has steadily increased in the midst of the recovery. Unemployment now stands at 9.5 percent.
• We’re about 6.5 million jobs short of the 138 million “new jobs” benchmark set by President Obama.
• And GM, newly owned by you and me, is working on a new “green” logo and will sell cars the most people don’t want.
Add to that the administration’s double-speak on whether a “Stimulus II” is in the works and it makes one wonder, who’s on first?
— Tara Wall is a news anchor and political analyst at The Washington Times and editor of TheConservatives.com.