06.30.2009 0

The Spin King

  • On: 07/21/2009 09:20:29
  • In: Barack Obama
  • ALG Editors Note: The following was first printed in Tribune Magazine based in Ireland. It is rare that ALG News leads with a “Too Hot Not To Note,” but this one is too important for anyone to miss.

    The Spin King

    By Dave Hannigan

    Imagine living in a banana republic whose charismatic leader rushed through the passing of a $787bn spending bill without giving his supporters or his opponents any time to read the 1,000-plus page publication. It was a matter of too much national urgency for him to permit any scrutiny, yet five months later not much more than 10% of the money has been spent. Of the cash that has been allocated, two-thirds has somehow ended up in counties which voted for the charismatic leader in the last election. What sort of tin-pot third-world country would allow such blatant favouritism?

    Welcome to the America of President Barack Obama. On the ground, it’s a little bit different from the place you see on television or read about in giddy newspaper dispatches detailing how we are all supposedly enthused and excited by this historic administration. Tomorrow it will be six months and a trillion dollars or so in increased spending since he entered the Oval Office. What a short, strange trip it’s been with a leader who’s so far evinced much more audacity than hope. How else to classify a man who talks a way better game than he actually plays?

    In February, Obama boldly told us the stimulus bill that will doom future generations of Americans to massive debt repayments would, in a deliberately vague turn of phrase, “create or save” four million jobs. With the catchphrase “Anybody seen a stimulus job” having become a standing joke in delis and diners across the country since then, the president now claims to have “saved or created” around 150,000 jobs. Just another 3.85 million to go then.

    At the time when he was bullying the Houses of Congress, he also claimed this legislation was desperately needed to prevent unemployment from going past the dreaded 8% mark. Now that it’s closing in fast on 10%, he has the brass neck to try to tell us the stimulus is really working because he has “already extended unemployment insurance and health insurance to those who have lost their jobs in this recession”. Some logic at work there.

    Of course, many took the spin at face value. As they have everything that’s come out of Obama’s perfectly-formed mouth in the 18 months or so since he became the presumptive Democratic candidate. The cult of personality runs so deep by now that he has truly become the Teflon President. Nothing sticks to this guy.

    Nobody cares that he can’t speak in public without the use of a teleprompter that he carries around the world with him like a baby’s blanky, and routinely mispronounces the names and titles of foreign leaders. Witness his mangling of Russian president Medvedev’s surname and his mixing up of Vladimir Putin’s past and present positions last week – his funniest flubs since talking about a mysterious and previously unknown language called Austrian or maybe the time he erroneously credited America with the invention of the automobile. The same type of malapropisms for which George W Bush was ceaselessly mocked now go largely unremarked. Strange that.

    But different standards apply with this president. During a genuine national crisis earlier this year, Obama still found time to fly to Los Angeles to go on a television chat show and to make fun of the Special Olympics. What harm? He looked so natural joshing on Jay Leno’s couch. So smooth and comfortable on camera. What a leader…

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