I doubt that I will ever entirely forgive Peggy Noonan for swooning over Barack Obama in 2008, but her sharp column yesterday in the Wall Street Journal does earn back a little respect. She starts with the direct impacts of the Walker victory on Tuesday and then hits President Obama with a few pointed jabs.
Like this one:
President Obama's problem now isn't what Wisconsin did, it's how he looks each day—careening around, always in flight, a superfluous figure. No one even looks to him for leadership now. He doesn't go to Wisconsin, where the fight is. He goes to Sarah Jessica Parker's place, where the money is.
It stings because it's true. It seems these days that when he's not out golfing, he's out fundraising.
She goes on to note the growing anger on both sides of the aisle over the constant leaks of classified information by administration officials and hits Obama again:
And where is the president in all this? On his way to Anna Wintour's house. He's busy. He's running for president.
But why? He could be president now if he wanted to be.
Ouch. The thing is though, in a way I don't think he actually can be president right now, at least not the president the country needs. To be that president he would have to repudiate the president he has been, and I find it hard to believe his ego would ever allow that. But what the heck, let's take a look at the president the country needs anyway.
1. Stop the war on cheap energy sources. Oil and coal and natural gas are not evil, quite the contrary. They are the lifeblood of the economy and the myriad ways we harness them to do work for us have vastly improved our lives. Oil is not the "energy of the past," it's the energy of today, and tomorrow, and all of the tomorrows we can realistically see as of now. Denying that is absurd, and absurd is a bad quality in a president. It frightens and demoralizes people. The president we need now would drop the phony "all of the above" energy policy and build one that produces and gets to market more of the energy of today.
2. End the class warfare. If one supports having a government safety net, one is embracing a classical liberal value. A value, by the way, that is now so widely embraced that it is one of liberalism's great political triumphs in my lifetime. If, however, one says stuff like "spread the wealth around," one is embracing a socialist value. In American politics there is a downside for someone embracing socialist values: Some people are going call him a socialist. There are really only two choices if that happens. He can whine about name-calling and try to make people shut up, or he can, you know, not embrace socialist values.
The first one can appear to work for awhile, but people still know he's a socialist and now they also resent being forced to shut up about it. They become fearful and suspicious of what else he might try to pull if he gets the chance. What we need right now is a president who shows how we can help the poor without punishing success with socialism.
3. End the threat of Taxmageddon now. For a great many private sector companies in the US, June 30 marks either the mid-point or the end of the fiscal year. Right now they are making plans for the next fiscal year or assessing progress so far in the current one. Looming over all of that planning right now is the possibility of a return to the Clinton tax rates and hikes in income, dividend, and capital gains taxes. The implications for businesses and individuals are huge and the uncertainty around this issue will increasingly cloud business decisions the second half of the year if it is allowed to persist. I think failure to reach a resolution soon is going to drive the economy back into recession.
This screams for leadership from the president and I mean right now. It looks like we aren't going to get it though. It's unacceptable that we'll see nothing from Republicans until August and it's damn sure unacceptable that we'll see nothing from Democrats until after the election. The president we need right now would understand how important it is for all Americans that we see resolution on this issue so business and individuals alike can make decisions and move on.
That's just three. I'll have more in a bit.