- - Friday, July 27, 2012

Every few weeks, President Obama is caught off-script speaking his mind.

This month, he insulted entrepreneurs, saying, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Last month, he astonished the unemployed, insisting, “The private sector is doing fine.”

The Obama campaign’s response is predictable. “Context!” is yelled every time the president is caught off-message. The president isn’t out of touch, they insist. He’s simply out of context.

Of course, voters will decide for themselves if the president lacks a real understanding of — and commitment to — the economy. To help, let’s look at a little context.

Mr. Obama has not held a single meeting of his jobs council in more than six months. White House press secretary Jay Carney excuses the president by saying he has “a lot on his plate.” Indeed. Since the last jobs council meeting, he has attended 111 campaign fundraisers and enjoyed 10 golf outings. At the last jobs council meeting, Mr. Obama said, “This has not been a show council. This has been a work council.” But as it happens, context proves otherwise.

The president has called the economy his “overriding focus” and No. 1 priority. It’s surprising, then, that he has not received a presidential briefing on the economy in well over a year. The last time “Economic Daily Briefing” appeared on his official White House schedule was April 26, 2011.

If the president doesn’t bother taking the time to hear what’s happening to the economy, he cannot expect to fix it. You cannot find a solution if you don’t understand the problem. And when you don’t understand the problem, you say things like, “The private sector is doing fine.”

For 41 straight months, the unemployment rate has exceeded 8 percent. Today, 23 million Americans are struggling to find work. But the president has no time for his jobs council or even an economic briefing. He does have time, however, for swanky soirees full of celebrities, stars and the Hollywood glitterati.

Obama fundraisers regularly feature the likes of George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Eva Longoria, Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Anna Wintour and Cher. Celebrities may make for good company, but they are hardly qualified to offer economic advice.

Americans are growing increasingly frustrated with the president. A recent poll from the Hill newspaper found “53 percent of voters say President Obama has taken the wrong actions and has slowed the economy down.”

From Obamacare’s rules and tax increases to the Environmental Protection Agency’s heavy-handed regulations, President Obama indeed has taken the wrong actions since taking office. His reckless spending has added more than $5.2 trillion to the national debt and earned America our first credit downgrade in history. His only plans for his second term are tax increases.

Looking at the whole picture, it’s clear the president’s comments are not gaffes. They are what he really believes. He’s detached from American economic reality, and it’s taking a toll on our country.

The Obama administration and campaign can make excuses all they want, but the facts are clear. Mr. Obama shows insufficient commitment to job creation. He demonstrates a misunderstanding of the economy. It’s all right there in the context.

Reince Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Committee.

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