President Barack Obama is offering himself as the miracle cure for his own failed policies, even though his polls remain at dangerously low levels, the economy has stalled, and the public’s 2008 hopes have changed into near-80 percent pessimism.
“Average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled,” he declared.
“The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by — let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all. Our job is to reverse these trends,” he declared.
“Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want — for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations,” he declared.
Obama’s political chutzpah is both rational and a good bet.
It’s rational because it is the only way he can motivate his liberal coalition to rally in November to preserve his endangered Democratic majority in the Senate.
And it’s a good bet because the established media and chattering class won’t notice the ridiculousness of Obama’s pitch.
But the public has noticed, according to many recent polls that show Obama’s approval in the mid-40s and the public’s pessimism up near 80 percent.
His speech included a few new proposals — more payments to poor working people, reduced tax benefits for wealthy savers, a raised minimum wage and increased legal immigration so that cost-conscious companies can hire minimum-wage foreigners instead of aspiring Americans.
These big goals were accompanies by the progressives’ version of more cowbell — more K-12 spending, more college degrees, universal preschool so that unionized teachers can supplant parents, more promises of beneficial regulation of the oil-and-gas sector, and cheaper mortgages for poor people.
The speech listed items intended to spur turnout by the Democrats’ constituency groups — teachers, women, Latinos, environmentalists, gays and opponents of the Guantanamo prison for jihadis.
The speech was filled out with a series of additional mini-proposals designed to boost the number of opportunities for Democrats to applaud the leader on TV.
The speech also included Obama’s familiar condescension toward Republicans’ opposition to Obamacare.
“There are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments,” he said. “The first forty [votes against Obamacare] were plenty. We got it,” he said.
But Obama has a long 10 months ahead of him before the November election.
A poll by the Washington Post and ABC News shows that Americans trust Republicans more than Democrats on managing handling the economy by seven points, or 44 percent to 37 percent.
The poll shows that Obama’s long-enduring personal characteristics advantage has faded — 52 percent of people think Obama does not understand their problems, and only 49 percent think he is honest and trustworthy.
Those numbers, combined with Obama’s 46 percent approval, 50 percent disapproval rating, can drag several Democratic senators to defeat in November, leaving Obama facing a GOP House and Senate in the two years leading up to 2016.
The GOP threw their javelins even before Obama began his speech.
“Throughout the last five years, President Obama has promised an economy for the middle class; but all he’s delivered is an economy for the middle-men,” Utah Sen. Mike Lee will say in his rebuttal.
“The president’s image is upside down,” RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in an interview with Fusion, a Latino-focused network created by ABC and Univision. “I think he is acting like a child and I think the American people see it. I don’t think it’s going to fly,” Priebus said.