I used to be somewhat impressed with Obama as a politician. But it seems increasingly clear that he’s an empty suit.
For starters, his foreign policy rhetoric and strategy are a mess. He’s recently insulted Britain for no apparent reason. He’s pushing for an expanded campaign in Afghanistan, even though it resembles in every relevant way the bottomless pit that Iraq has turned out to be.
More important than this, he’s following a combination of ad hoc solutions, big government spending, inflation, short term fixes, anti-growth measures, and sheer ignorance in the face of the economic crisis. His treasury secretary still thinks it’s 2007 and wants to punish domestic energy companies. And, worst of all, Obama is talking about stocks and the markets in a way that inspires fear and uncertainty. Yesterday, in a press conference, he encouraged stock buying but confused “price to earnings” ratios with “profits and earnings.” What?!? No one who knows anything about markets would make this mistake. It’s truly amateur night. Literally, everything he has said and done since January 20, 2009 has inspired more fear, uncertainty, and loss in the markets.
It’s not just a gaff. This guy has never shown any serious interest in economics for most of his adult life. This lacuna is doubly blameworthy since he spent so many years at the epicenter of the Law and Economics movement, the University of Chicago Law School. For many years, his chief passion was redistributing the fruits of the economy that until recently had so much wealth to go around. Now he must try to stimulate wealth creation, and he has no clue what to do. He’s never worked in business, for example, and has spent almost all his time around activists, nonprofits, and grubby Chicago politicians. All that “Dreams of My Father” talk is about giving from the rich to the poor in the name of equality and “social justice.” It’s ignorant of the need for stable laws, limited government, low taxes, transparency, and the necessary inequality to actually encourage the creation of wealth. Liberals are ignorant of the past and are surprisingly parochial. They assume the western world’s money just fell out of the sky or, at best, was stolen or ill gotten. They don’t realize how others trying this redistributionist formula in places like Russia, Mexico, and Argentina have ruined otherwise promising societies. One wonders if Obama has ever read Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, or James Madison.
Now we learn that the wunderkind Obama–who could not be bothered to write a single academic article while pretending to be a law professor at the University of Chicago–can’t apparently give a speech without a teleprompter. When he’s off the training wheels, he says things even more stupid than his prepared remarks as evidenced by his confusion about PE Ratios. He’s zigging and zagging through a crisis that nothing in his life experience or education has prepared him to address. It was bad enough that the anti-military academic was taking the reigns in the middle of two complicated wars; at least, in that case he had the good sense to cut our losses. But now the anti-capitalist “community organizer” is charged with establishing policies to stop the bleeding for an economy in free fall, and he’s reaching for the failed big government solutions (and gimmicks) that were so baleful in the 1970s.