Green Room

Obama speech preview: ‘We can’t afford to go back to failed policies’

posted at 11:28 am on June 14, 2012 by

With poll after poll painting a bleak picture of Barack Obama’s chances for re-election, a Gallup survey released on Thursday offers him and his supporters a reason for optimism. The poll finds that Americans continue to place more blame for the nation’s economic ills on George W. Bush than on Obama. The president’s nearly term-long quest to persuade voters to overlook his own failed policies by ascribing conditions to “the mess he inherited” has worked.

Now if only there were some way he could arrange to run against Bush instead of Mitt Romney! That would surely mitigate the sting of knowing that 52% of Americans still hold him, not Bush, accountable for the economy, a stat culled from the same Gallup poll.

Alternatively, he could give another speech. Which in fact is what he plans to do today. The White House has made it clear that Obama will not be announcing any new strategies for jump-starting the economy, but he will be doubling down on his “Bush done it” meme. His argument’s main theme—we can’t afford to go back to the failed policies of the past—will also sound a familiar chord.

With so much riding on it, his staff will doubtless be revising and re-revising the speech right up until post time. They will additionally have at their disposal ideas being floated by their allies in the elite media. Here is a helpful suggestion from Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent, who counsels:

He [Obama] must talk about the past, at least to some degree, in order to explain (1) why the recovery has been slow and difficult; and (2) why what he intends to do about it is better than what Romney would do about it, i.e., a return to policies that have already failed us. In other words, to draw the very contrast Democrats want to see, Obama needs to look backwards and forward.

Hmm … explain why “a return to policies that have already failed us” would be bad for the country. Sounds familiar. But, Sargent notes, there is a danger in this strategy:

This will give Republicans something to attack (he’s blaming Bush!) and it could give nervous Dems something to second guess further. But this strategic dilemma seems unavoidable.

There is no question that the president has his work cut out for him. The idea of giving a speech, which was once seen by supporters as Obama’s singular strength, lost its luster some time ago, around his thousandth address to the nation. The question today is whether anyone apart from political junkies will even be listening.

Certainly, the Romney camp will be. They should home in on that novel line about how America can’t afford to go back to the failed policies of the past, only the past they should focus on are the years 2009 through 2012.

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We absolutely cannot go back to failed policies. But those failed policies are Obama’s, not George Bush’s. To name but a few: the failed stimulus, the unpopular, expensive and regulatory nightmare that is Obamacare and the failure to pass a budget.

natasha333 on June 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Is anyone even listening to him anymore?

Nick_Angel on June 14, 2012 at 11:43 AM

We can’t afford to go back and listen to recycled failed speeches and promises, either.

stukinIL4now on June 14, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Ah, yes the “failed policies” that brought us “full employment” and record highs in the DOW.

Good times. Good times.

RedNewEnglander on June 14, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Obama needs to look backwards and forward.

That paints a lovely mental picture. I see his head just mak making a complete 360 like Linda Blair, and the pea green puke spewing all over the podium. That would explain his actions up to this point though. He’s possessed by evil demons!

Whatever he says is too little, too late.

Night Owl on June 14, 2012 at 11:59 AM

This man has nothing. NOTHING. He is failing. He is flailing. He is getting bloodied every day, every time he opens his mouth.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are watching a drowning man. Anybody got an anvil?

thebrokenrattle on June 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM

We can’t afford NOT to go back to ones that work. Free markets. Free enterprise. Private property rights. Freedom and Liberty.

kbTexan on June 14, 2012 at 1:18 PM

He’s openly saying 5% unemployment is a failed policy?

Wagthatdog on June 14, 2012 at 5:05 PM

As much as Bush irked me, this is a different world.

You know what counts among ‘mistakes of the past’?

Putting this bum in office.

avgjo on June 15, 2012 at 12:37 AM


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