The “second term agenda”: No immigration reform, no entitlement reform

posted at 12:01 pm on October 25, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Maybe this is the best recap ever of Barack Obama’s campaign, taken from Obama’s own speech this morning in Tampa Bay.  Obama starts off by attacking Mitt Romney’s economic agenda, and then momentarily can’t find his own:

That’s been the case for Obama since his campaign began in April 2011.  Instead of giving voters a reason to vote for Obama, the President and his campaign have made the argument for more than 560 days of “You can’t possibly be serious about the other guy.”  Only after getting drubbed in the first debate and unable to unring that bell in two successive debates did Obama finally cough up a semblance of a second-term agenda.

In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I argue that waiting 567 days to put out a second-term agenda is in itself a demonstration of contempt for voters.  But even beyond that, the document itself is an insult to voter intelligence — and perhaps to a key constituency:

The Barack Obama reelection campaign began its operation on April 4th, 2011, nineteen months before voters decide to send him back for a second term or send him back to Chicago.  In the 570 days between that day and now, Obama and the DNC have raised and spent several hundred million dollars.  Obama passed his 100th fundraising event months ago.

In that time, Republicans held more than 20 debates, primaries or caucuses in all 50 states as well as in American territories.  Both parties held their national conventions. The two campaigns fought in four national debates, finishing on Day 567 of the Obama campaign.

Finally, on Day 568, Barack Obama got around to telling us what he plans to do with a second term in office.

The booklet itself is mostly pictures, with no detail on some very familiar campaign pledges … most of which date back to 2008.  One in particular is missing, though — immigration reform.  This is a jobs-program pamphlet, but Obama has made the argument many times that immigration reform relates to jobs and the economy in key ways.  He has promised immigration reform since 2007, pledging as a general-election candidate to accomplish it in his first year as President.  In his picture book, there isn’t even a mention of it.

Nor is there a single mention of entitlement reform:

Obama’s new proposal has two glossy pages (mostly dedicated to a picture of a senior citizen) on “Protecting Retirement Security,” which talks about Medicare and Social Security without ever mentioning the need to reform either, or the $100 trillion or more in unfunded liabilities in both programs. Even his convention speech went farther than this “agenda” does. “Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul,” Obama said on September 6th, “but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care, not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more.”

The newly released 20-page pamphlet doesn’t mention the word “reform” once in this section. It does go on at length about what Obama won’t do to solve the problems of Medicare and Social Security (“Oppose efforts to gamble Social Security on the stock market,” “Stop proposals to turn Medicare into a voucher program”). These sound a lot like Obama in debates – attempting to talk about everyone else’s plans in order to distract attention from the fact that he has none of his own.

Nothing in this pamphlet can be described as a “plan,” let alone an “agenda.”  It’s a collection of slogans taken from the campaign trail that become incoherent when jammed together in this booklet, as Ed Rogers noted yesterday at the Washington Post:

A quick read of the “new” Obama blueprint for the future that the president’s campaign released Tuesday, suggesting this was his bold vision for the future, is little more than silly, stale platitudes.  I guess the campaign thought that it would get plenty of coverage from announcing the plan and that very few voters would bother to look at it closely.

Even the most cursory review reveals the plan to be just a bunch of glossy, flattering photos of President Obama, assertions that all is well and reiterations that Obama is for helping everybody.  To me, this is another example of the Obama campaign having nothing to say.

David Harsanyi also rips the so-called “plan” for its lack of seriousness and coherence:

Even if we accepted that this is a “jobs plan” at all — and one would have to stretch the imagination — there are perhaps two items even tangentially connected to the issue at hand. Members of the middle class will be pleased to learn that their children’s future will feature marginally smaller class sizes and work as a midlevel functionary in a green-energy factory. According to the president, the best way to grow the middle class outward (whatever that means) is to strive for more menial labor work in an unproductive manufacturing sector. Forward.

Obama supported cap-and-trade legislation, the sole purpose of which is to make fossil fuel more expensive, so let’s dismiss his contention that the administration would concern itself with expanding oil and gas work in a second term. Let’s focus instead on the green energy sector, which cannot sustain itself today — just look at the slew of clean-energy bankruptcies we’ve involuntarily invested in — or in the future. As The New York Times recently reported, “stimulus money is almost all gone, leaving many of these projects without a government benefactor and making them orphans in a competitive marketplace dominated by the deep-pocketed fossil fuel industries.” (Deep-pocketed industries will remain deep-pocketed if they continue to offer Americans things we value — you know, like energy.)

Another foundational element of Obama’s wholly unserious proposal is hiring more teachers — even though this isn’t a function of the federal government to begin with and even though, according to Lindsey Burke of The Heritage Foundation, since 1970 the number of students in public schools has increased by 8 percent while the number of teachers has increased 60 percent and even though hiring more teachers would, at best, have a marginal impact on economic growth.

It’s regurgitated nonsense, mostly resurrected from the 2008 campaign in a desperate attempt to shift strategies at the last minute.  Its sole purpose is to reveal, finally, that this President ran out of gas intellectually and politically a long time ago — and his picture book illustrates that very well.


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OT, but did anyone get a clip of his admission to Jay Leno that he can’t help his daughters with math homework above the 7th grade level? Maybe that is why entitlement reform didn’t make his list of second term priorities?

Upstreamer on October 25, 2012 at 1:17 PM

did anyone get a clip of his admission to Jay Leno that he can’t help his daughters with math homework above the 7th grade level? Maybe that is why entitlement reform didn’t make his list of second term priorities?

Upstreamer on October 25, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Video here: http://freebeacon.com/obama-struggles-with-the-math-stuff/

Via Twitchy: http://twitchy.com/2012/10/25/math-is-hard-obama-tells-leno-im-pretty-lost-when-it-comes-to-math-stuff/

ITguy on October 25, 2012 at 1:21 PM

..just did it for you; knock yourself out!

The War Planner on October 25, 2012 at 1:03 PM

..by the way, in an orgy of self-promotion, I did some stats on the resulting jobs plan text file and found:

WORDS: 4,032
LINES: 288
CHARACTERS (no spaces): 20,918
CHARACTERS (with spaces): 25,527

.so, it’s pretty apparent that the just dashed this out and NOT a lot of though went into creating this thing.

The War Planner on October 25, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Upstreamer on October 25, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Here ya go.. Tomorrow’s OOTD today.

Naturally Curly on October 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM

The plan… the plan… first, we learn how to spell FORWARD… ok, we finally got that… now… now… uh… uhmmm…

But Governor Romney is going to hit Big Bird…

President Obama… dealing with the big issues, leading American from behind a big yellow bird.

The ads just keep writing themselves, don’t they!

dominigan on October 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Ermahgerd, no, I just had a horrible vision, Oahu tipping over and capsizing as a result :) ….

jimver on October 25, 2012 at 1:09 PM

As eggs are to an omelet, so Oahu must be in order to achieve planetary harmony… Sorry Oahu… You guys are on your own… ;p

SWalker on October 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Cody1991 on October 25, 2012 at 12:08 PM

The 2 things that stuck with me are the: “incubators for small business” (innovative product development I think he calls it, same thing) and “retraining 2 million workers”.

I believe both of these “plans” have long been known to be “ratholes” that taxpayer monies OFTEN disappear into.

Question: why only 2 million retrained?
why not say 20million will be “retrained”. Or 200 million?
Retrained to what end?

orbitalair on October 25, 2012 at 1:24 PM

It’s a real shame for everybody that the first black President had to be this guy. He’s such an empty suit – all he has to offer is ambition and leftist/anti-neocolonial ideology.

jclittlep on October 25, 2012 at 1:25 PM

But Governor Romney is going to hit Big Bird…

dominigan on October 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I’ve been wondering for decades, just how is it that Big Bird survives Thanksgiving?????

SWalker on October 25, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Im honestly thinking his adgenda is to let the sequester happen and let us slip off the fiscal cliff. He’ll let the progressives he put in place do whatever they want through legislation and executive order. He’ll turn his back on Israel and go full in with the enemy. If he wins the senate will probably stay blue. He’ll play more golf take more vacations and blow off the press. The question will be can we ever have any hope of coming back from that? I think it will get very ugly. The worst case scenario could happen. By the time Repubs or the tea party get the senate back in 2014 if they do it will be too late.

ldbgcoleman on October 25, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Sorry regulation not legislation

ldbgcoleman on October 25, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Would I be off-base if I assumed “Forward” was on the cover?

sdbatboy on October 25, 2012 at 1:34 PM

So did Obama have the pamphlets printed up at Staples?

HumpBot Salvation on October 25, 2012 at 1:39 PM

ITguy on October 25, 2012 at 1:21 PM
Naturally Curly on October 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Many thanks….already has my vote for OOTW (at least).

Upstreamer on October 25, 2012 at 1:43 PM

It’s a real shame for everybody that the first black President had to be this guy. He’s such an empty suit – all he has to offer is ambition and leftist/anti-neocolonial ideology.

jclittlep on October 25, 2012 at 1:25 PM

I know a lot of people who were voting for an historic event, not a person; but hope is not a skill-set and change is not an agenda.

AesopFan on October 25, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Question: why only 2 million retrained?
why not say 20million will be “retrained”. Or 200 million?
Retrained to what end?

orbitalair on October 25, 2012 at 1:24 PM

I think they mean “re-educated”.

freedomfirst on October 25, 2012 at 1:50 PM

..FIFY.

The War Planner on October 25, 2012 at 12:44 PM

As long as it’s not the White House, I don’t care whether he moves to Chicago, Hawaii or Kenya.

Flange on October 25, 2012 at 2:14 PM

We have 200 years worth of coal — we have time to develop “green” energy.

KenInIL on October 25, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Does the pamphlet have a nice picture of a can on a road? I believe that is his plan on everything. How about a golf course?

tommer74 on October 25, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Latinos wake up. Obama lied to you throughout and wants you only for votes.

The same goes to women and all groups. Obama lives only for himself.

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2012 at 2:36 PM

This is what Obama and the liberals consider substance. Just like Holder said about the documents (mostly blacked out) regarding Fast and Furious.

djaymick on October 25, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Of course its mostly a picture book… its meant for poor Julia who needs a companion beyond Uncle Sugar Daddy.

ajacksonian on October 25, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Want to know the REAL CONTRAST ?
Here’s a report from Mitt’s CO rally.

http://theulstermanreport.com/2012/10/25/white-house-insider-mitt-romneys-quiet-prayer-amidst-the-sound-of-thunder/

pambi on October 25, 2012 at 3:04 PM

You can have all the plans you want – if you don’t have the nuts to actually implement them – then they’re worthless.

So Ogabe doesn’t promise immigration or entitlement reform – that just might be a lot more HONEST than what the GOP is doing by bluffing the conservative slaves out there that they intend to do something about entitlements.

News Flash folks – these establishment Ayatollahs that run the GOP are the same ones that brought you Medicare Part D – UNFUNDED.

Entitlement reform? Well we’re already at terminal velocity on entitlements and heading for the ground. I suspect the GOP guys will “shave” a few miles per hour off the descent speed but the end result is the same – FATALITY when we hit bottom. I’m supposed to be HAPPY about that? They’re not going to do anything to prevent us from hitting the ground.

Mark Faber says we need a 50% cut in government right now – or we’re sunk in 5 to 10 years. There are people out there in the land of conservative serfdom who believe the GOP has the balls to do this? Pffft!

One thing though – I WILL GUARANTEE YOU THAT THE GOP WILL BRING ON IMMIGRATION REFORM. It’ll be done for the sake of the Hispanic vote. There will be a path to citizenship (which the GOP will play down as only applying to a select few – but that won’t actually be the case). I predict the border will be secured – which the GOP will play UP, though it will be revealed that the “seal-up” has many “leaks” that illegals will use to continue to get through.

You conservative slaves enjoy what you’ve wrought. When the guys YOU elected do NOTHING to save us financially, and do everything to pass bills counter to conservatism – then it’s only you to blame for the mess when we crash land to the bottom of this abyss.

HondaV65 on October 25, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Are the latinos listening?

rjoco1 on October 25, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Don’t worry, Obama has a binder full of promises…

right2bright on October 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Biden v. Biden

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Question: why only 2 million retrained?

orbitalair on October 25, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Because 200 million re-educated has a bad ring to it…

AJsDaddie on October 25, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Colorado is in China

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2012 at 3:44 PM

The plane, the plane

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2012 at 5:00 PM

See Barry run! Run, Barry, run! See Barry’s book. It has pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Of Barry.

That “book” also shows what Team Barry thinks of the intelligence of the average liberal voter.

GarandFan on October 25, 2012 at 5:23 PM

We have 200 years worth of coal — we have time to develop “green” energy.

KenInIL on October 25, 2012 at 2:22 PM

If there’s ever a market for it.

cheeflo on October 25, 2012 at 5:54 PM

*These plans have been recycled on recycled paper using disappearing ink, and have been tested on no animals other than the U.S. Taxpayer.

Barnestormer on October 25, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Obama is looking full retard, waving a pamphlet around and spewing made up words.
The image reversal is almost shocking. He looks sooo fake. Its like the televangelist who gets caught in a motel room making a porno movie, dressed in a rubber duck suit, wearing swim flippers and a feather duster stuck up his azz…..and then has to show up for the tv show the next day acting like no one noticed.

Sad, really.

Mimzey on October 25, 2012 at 6:32 PM

It’s a real shame for everybody that the first black President had to be this guy. He’s such an empty suit – all he has to offer is ambition and leftist/anti-neocolonial ideology.

jclittlep on October 25, 2012 at 1:25 PM
I know a lot of people who were voting for an historic event, not a person; but hope is not a skill-set and change is not an agenda.

AesopFan on October 25, 2012 at 1:43 PM

It was media malpractice that sold this empty suit to the American voters that weren’t engaged enough to look past the empty platitudes in 2008. We’ll know in 2 weeks whether they’re a little wiser with their votes this time.

talkingpoints on October 25, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Obama is looking full retard, waving a pamphlet around and spewing made up words.
The image reversal is almost shocking. He looks sooo fake. Its like the televangelist who gets caught in a motel room making a porno movie, dressed in a rubber duck suit, wearing swim flippers and a feather duster stuck up his azz…..and then has to show up for the tv show the next day acting like no one noticed.

Sad, really.

Mimzey on October 25, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Not sure I would have chosen the phrase “full retard,” but I’m struck by how far he’s retreated/devolved/shrunk as the campaign has unfolded.

Pick your image/metaphor:

1. A balloon from which the air has been let.
2. The judge at the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
3. The witch at the end of The Wizard of Oz. Or alternately, the Wizard, once exposed as the frantic, lever-pulling balloonist.
4. The giant, imposing head from ST-TOS that turns out to be a small, petulant child (hmmm?)

Personally, I go with what I’ve been saying since his immaculation;

In this case, the clothes have no Emperor!

massrighty on October 25, 2012 at 8:05 PM

The booklet itself is mostly pictures

It’s the only way his supporters can understand it . . .

TarheelBen on October 25, 2012 at 9:25 PM

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