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Trying to Disguise Flawed Policies

Trying to Disguise Flawed Policies

By Jack Kelly - February 1, 2010

President Barack Obama evidently thinks he can solve his political problems by changing the lipstick on the pig.

In his State of the Union speech Wednesday, the president indicated he intends to press forward with the agenda that voters in Massachusetts found so objectionable they sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate for the first time in 38 years.

A CNN poll released Tuesday indicated only 30 percent of Americans want Obamacare passed in anything approaching its present form. But the president urged Congress: "Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close."

A CNN poll released Monday indicated nearly 75 percent of Americans think at least half the money in the "stimulus" bill passed last February -- which the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday will cost $862 billion -- has been wasted.

In a Rasmussen poll in December, 56 percent of respondents opposed a second stimulus bill (only 33 percent supported the idea). But Mr. Obama last week urged the Senate to approve a $154 billion second stimulus bill the House passed last month.

Same pig, but different lipstick. It was a scaled-down redo of what they'd passed in February, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Ca, told constituents in a "telephone town hall" Jan. 25, but "we've been told not to call it a stimulus bill, but a jobs bill."

In a Pew poll released Jan 21, global warming ranked last among 20 issues of concern to Americans. When the House last summer passed a bill to tax companies which emit carbon dioxide (cap and trade), a Rasmussen poll indicated 35 percent of respondents favored it, but 40 percent were opposed. Other polls indicate support for the concept, but not if cap and trade would cost jobs or significantly increase the price of electricity, which it would.

In his State of the Union address, Mr. Obama, citing what he said was "the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change," called on the Senate to pass the cap-and-trade bill.

Concern about global warming has plummeted since it was disclosed that some of the evidence for global warming may have been fabricated or overstated. This has caused a problem for supporters of cap-and-trade legislation in the Senate -- but nothing, said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, that can't be fixed by changing the color of the lipstick.

"We have not changed our goals one bit," Sen. Kerry said in an e-mail to reporters Wednesday. "We're talking about setting a target for the reduction of pollution, which is why we don't call it cap-and-trade anymore."

The president made some rhetorical gestures in the direction of moderation. After proposing tens of billions of dollars in new federal spending, Mr. Obama said he wanted to freeze discretionary federal spending (one-seventh of the budget). He didn't mention he'd increased that spending 20 percent over what it had been in the last year of the Bush administration, and seemed annoyed when the audience tittered when he said the freeze wouldn't go into effect until the next fiscal year.

But overall, those who were hoping the president would tack toward the center -- mostly Democrats who are scared out of their wits as they contemplate the upcoming election -- were disappointed. Mr. Obama made it clear he'll continue to pursue one of the most left-wing agendas in our history.

The speech itself was odd. Mr. Obama spoke as if someone else had been president for the last year, as if some political party other than his own has a 40-seat majority in the House, a 19-seat majority in the Senate. It was a nakedly partisan speech, far more appropriate for a candidate for president than for a president.

Doesn't Mr. Obama care what Americans think? Or has he no clue?

In his State of the Union address, he said the problem wasn't that his policies were flawed, but that he hadn't explained them well enough. This from a guy who, according to CBS, made or held 411 speeches, press conferences and "public availabilities" in 2009. He also has suggested that people in Massachusetts voted for Scott Brown because they were still mad at George Bush, or at least his policies.

Even when he says nutty things, President Obama would rather be judged by his words than on his deeds. But people care more about what a president does than what he says -- no matter how much lipstick is slathered on the pig.

Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

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