- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2012


There was a huge, gaping hole in former President Bill Clinton’s defensive speech Wednesday night on behalf of Barack Obama’s bid for a second term.

He conveniently and dishonestly ignored or papered over all of the painful failures of President Obama’s mediocre performance throughout the past four troubled years. To use a speaking device Mr. Clinton repeatedly applied in his attack on former Gov. Mitt Romney’s candidacy, the number of worsening policy problems that Mr. Obama was responsible for solving totaled “zero.”

The former president, who frequently told Americans “I feel your pain” during his scandal-torn tenure, had little or nothing to say about the severe economic pain that tens of millions of Americans are suffering under Mr. Obama’s failed presidency.

The theme of the Democratic National Convention, as was evident from the sea of signs before the podium, was protecting the middle class, the bedrock of Mr. Obama’s party.

But the economic, fiscal and social statistics that have been relentlessly detailed in government reports over the course of Mr. Obama’s term reveal a jobless, income-starved economy that has hit the middle class the hardest of all. No sector of our population has been punished more by Mr. Obama’s anti-economic growth, anti-job creation policies.

There was no mention of 8.3 percent unemployment, a rate of joblessness across the land that shows no signs of improvement. That’s the average of all the states. Unfortunately, the people this is hurting do not live in the statistically massaged column of averages, but in the real, slow-growth economy Mr. Obama has given us.

“Adding adults on the sidelines, who say they’d re-enter the labor market if conditions improved, and part-time workers, who would prefer full-time positions, the unemployment rate becomes 15 percent,” says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.

What else did Mr. Clinton leave out of his carnival-barker defense of Mr. Obama’s presidency? Sharply lower median incomes, higher poverty rates in the 15 percent range, a snail’s pace 1.7 percent economic growth rate that’s on a downward slope, gas prices skirting $4 a gallon, and a big spike in food stamps to combat growing hunger and homelessness in the United States.

Mr. Clinton’s slickly worded speech will be a feast for the fact-checkers, but it was clear that he was cherry-picking numbers and specious facts to make Mr. Obama’s presidency look better than it is. Earlier this week, a Gallup Poll said only 43 percent of Americans approved of the job Mr. Obama was doing, while 48 percent disapproved.

Mr. Clinton threw out a lot of exaggerated job numbers that bear little resemblance to the job-challenged economy that workers are facing today. In the second quarter, the real economy added only 127,000 jobs per month, as income-flattened consumers cut back on their spending to make ends meet.

Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Clinton was tossing out job numbers in the millions, when official job statistics tell a far different story. There are many ways to rejigger the job numbers, and both men are very skillful in using the statistical sleight-of-hand from their bag of tricks. For example: “Over the last 31/2 years, we have focused on righting the ship, making sure that we didn’t slip into a depression creating 4.5 million new jobs,” Mr. Obama has said on the campaign trail.

Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler says Mr. Obama’s claim, “cited many times at the convention is misleading, because it refers to private-sector jobs, not all jobs, and because it is based on a date (February 2010) that put the president’s jobs record in the best possible light.”

Mr. Kessler explains that the real, honest-to-goodness job-growth number “is still negative if you start counting from the beginning of Mr. Obama’s presidency.” That number “is plus or minus a few hundred thousand jobs, depending on whether you date his presidency from January or February,” he writes. Now, here’s the killer:

“At this point, Mr. Obama is on track to have the worst jobs record of any president since World War II,” he says. This is from a newspaper that supported Mr. Obama in 2008 and will likely endorse him again this year.

But this was a convention that was a mass of contradictions and hypocrisy whose slogan this week should have been, “Do as we say, but not as we do.”

Mr. Obama has made a lot of political hay by bashing big corporations and the millionaires and billionaires who he says do not pay their fair share of taxes (when, in fact, the top 25 percent pay almost all of the income taxes).

Now we learn from stories leaking out of the smoke-filled backrooms at this convention that top White House and Cabinet officials and senior campaign advisers (and Mr. Clinton, too) have been secretly meeting with millionaires and billionaires to refill their depleted campaign war chest.

What the White House desperately needs now are huge contributions in the seven figures that will go into the so-called super PACs supporting the president. These are the same kind of fundraising groups supporting Mr. Romney that Mr. Obama and his advisers have attacked relentlessly throughout this year.

Under campaign-finance laws, these super PACs are supposed to be operated separately from the candidates’ campaign apparatus. However, it was announced Wednesday that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was Mr. Obama’s White House chief of staff, was stepping down as the president’s honorary campaign chairman to help run the pro-Obama super PAC called Priorities USA Action.

Presumably ignoring the separation that is required by law, it was reported that Mr. Emanuel and campaign manager Jim Messina briefed potential donors about the fundraising gap with the Republicans. Among administration officials joining these briefings was Jack Lew, White House chief of staff and former director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Apparently, Mr. Obama has no problem taking the money of millionaires and billionaires to further his political ambition — money made from the corporate power structures that have been among his favorite political whipping boys over the past four years.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide