After 20 months of telling America that prosperity is right around the corner thanks to his $800 billion Porkulus package filled to the brim with “shovel-ready projects,” Barack Obama has made a sudden discovery, according to a profile by the New York Times titled, “The Education of President Obama.” The discovery is that Obama spent hundreds of billions of dollars on something that doesn’t exist:
While proud of his record, Obama has already begun thinking about what went wrong — and what he needs to do to change course for the next two years. He has spent what one aide called “a lot of time talking about Obama 2.0” with his new interim chief of staff, Pete Rouse, and his deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina. During our hour together, Obama told me he had no regrets about the broad direction of his presidency. But he did identify what he called “tactical lessons.” He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.” He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works.
Gee, who could have known that? Well, just about every critic of Porkulus, as the public-spending cycle was one of the main arguments against the bill. The impact of public-works projects comes years down the road if at all, and rarely stimulates anything except those directly involved in their execution. Any project ready to roll already has its funding; any project that needs funding will have to still jump through miles of regulatory hoops before actually using the funds it receives.
You know who might have known that? A President with actual executive experience. Which brings us back to the Times’ theme. It seems that we’re spending a lot more on education these days, and still getting substandard results.
Bonus OOTD: You have to love the very next line in the profile, too:
Perhaps he should not have proposed tax breaks as part of his stimulus and instead “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” so it could be seen as a bipartisan compromise.
Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. Because Obama should have insisted on proposals that cost a lot of money and don’t work in order to showcase his “bipartisanship” when he grudgingly agreed to solutions that actually do work. Had Obama pushed Nancy Pelosi into allowing Republicans to participate in writing the bill instead of locking them out of the process, those tax cuts might have been better structured for actual stimulus, too. What did Obama say when asked about that? “I won” — and he said it on the third day of his presidency.
I have a better idea. Let’s elect Republicans and cut out the middleman.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
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