- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2009


We have been mercifully spared another “seminar president” since the professorial heyday of President Jimmy Carter. Until now. President Obama loves to convene “summits” and shoot the policy breeze with “experts.” This would be fine, if he used these sessions for actual deliberation.

Instead, Mr. Obama uses them as public-relations con jobs to convince people he’s carefully considering all sides, when he’s already made up his mind - usually to go the most far-left, disastrous route.

As we prepare for this week’s “Jobs Summit,” let’s consider the results of four of Mr. Obama’s previous policy summits.

In late February, he held a “Fiscal Responsibility Summit.” It was a three-hour wonk-fest, the point of which was to “underscore how big the problems are,” according to one person familiar with the proceedings.

This summit had been immediately preceded by the $787 billion political-payoff bill known as the economic “stimulus.” Sold by Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats as the only way to prevent unemployment from sailing over 8 percent, they now forget that inconvenient fact.

And since the “stimulus” was a political act and not an economic one, disasters followed. The unemployment rate has soared to 10.2 percent, the underemployment rate has steamed ahead to nearly 18 percent, and massive fraud and waste have been uncovered.

Almost $7 billion has reportedly gone to 440 congressional districts that do not exist, while Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was supposed to be monitoring stimulus money, was caught flat-footed. He was shocked - shocked! - to learn of gambling in Casablanca.

The “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” was also followed by hundreds of billions of dollars in additional bailouts of the auto, financial, insurance and mortgage industries; a $500 billion omnibus spending bill; a $3.5 trillion budget; a record $1.4 trillion deficit; an unprecedented smashing of the $12 trillion national debt ceiling; House approval of a cap-and-trade bill, which would amount to a tax increase of between $1.3 and $1.9 trillion; and the impending new health care entitlement, the 10-year implementation of which would ultimately cost $2.5 trillion.

“Fiscal Responsibility?” It only exists in the name of smoke-and-mirrors “summits.”

In March, Mr. Obama opened a “Health Care Summit.” This meeting of the minds was supposed to begin convincing Americans that health care reform had to get done right now, even to the exclusion of focus on the economy and jobs. “If we don’t tackle health care,” he said, “then we’re going to break the bank.” (See “Fiscal Responsibility Summit,” above.) At the time, he chastised those “obsessed with costs,” but in the same breath said, “I don’t think we can solve this problem without talking about costs.”

This was followed by an explosion of public opposition to any health care “reform” with an outsized price tag that will blow up the deficit like TNT. (Another irony: the “Health Care Summit” was also followed by a severe shortage of the H1N1 flu vaccine, giving new confidence to government-run health care.)

In September, Mr. Obama gave his blessing to a “Distracted Driver Summit,” designed to get American drivers focused more on operating motor vehicles and less on texting, cell-phoning, and eating behind the wheel. This was followed by three major car crashes involving Mr. Biden’s motorcade, including one fatal accident.

Throughout the fall, Mr. Obama has convened numerous “Afghanistan Summits” in order to come up with a “new strategy” to replace the old “new strategy” that he announced in March and June. In late August, his newly appointed commanding general in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, submitted his evaluation and recommendation for additional troop deployments. He reported that the “next 12 months” were critical to “defeating the insurgency.”

While Mr. Obama presided over his Afghanistan confabs, Gen. McChrystal lost three of those crucial months. But Mr. Obama had to time this week’s announcement after he got his Mother-of-all-Deficit-Exploders - health care - in the congressional hopper. He couldn’t exactly announce an expensive new troop surge while still battling to get $2.5 trillion worth of health care on the radar.

This brings us to this week’s “Jobs Summit,” a talk-fest designed to show out-of-work Americans that he cares about their plight. If he really wanted to create jobs, he would cut taxes on individuals and small businesses, and cut payroll taxes and the corporate tax rate. Match those tax cuts with real cuts in spending, and you’d see job creation and economic growth happen faster than Mr. Obama can say “Jobs Summit.”

But if he cut taxes, he’d be a bad liberal. So he presses on with job-killing, growth-crushing policies, and convenes summits to contemplate the economic navel.

He has spent trillions of dollars because he said it would create jobs. It hasn’t. The employment picture has gotten much worse. So let’s stop spending money until the economic geniuses figure out why, perhaps at this week’s “Jobs Summit.”

Wasn’t Mr. Obama elected because he conned enough people into thinking he had answers to problems like these? And didn’t he already have a year to figure out how to deal with unemployment and Afghanistan? His idea of leadership is to continue to hold these public-relations charades while making the problems worse.

He is the seminar president. And he’s talking us, literally, to death.

Monica Crowley is a nationally syndicated radio host, a panelist on “The McLaughlin Group” and a Fox News contributor.

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