When talk of a bad economy benefited Obama’s campaign, he body slammed John McCain for daring to say the economy’s fundamentals were strong. Now that this incessant talk of doom and gloom has hurt him and his big government plans, he jumped on the trickle of good economic news in an effort to buoy his agenda. I have an Op/Ed in today’s DC Examiner in which I discuss Obama’s recent shift in tone and rhetoric regarding the economy:
President Obama’s sudden shift from “dark days are ahead” to “things aren’t that bad” is more jarring than comforting. It creates more questions than answers. What does “not as bad as we think” mean?
Is there no longer a looming catastrophe? If not, since the vast majority of the $790 billion stimulus bill has not been implemented yet, can some of it be rolled back to reduce unnecessary debt on future generations? Will the Democrats’ second stimulus bill be abandoned?
Coincidentally, the president’s optimism comes just as complaints about his handling of the economy reached a crescendo. Warren Buffet, a high profile and much needed supporter, said the economy had “fallen off a cliff” and criticized the president for using the crisis to promote his pet projects.
Howard Fineman wrote in a recent Newsweek article that the Washington establishment is beginning to have concerns that perhaps the president does not have what it takes to tame this economic beast. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Obama received failing grades from economists for their mishandling of the economy.
While Obama focused much of his attention on health care reform, education reform, energy, cap and trade, and other pet causes, critics pointed out that his economic plan and mortgage relief plan still had not been created, let alone implemented. Meanwhile, many important positions in the Treasury Department remain unfilled.
With criticism coming at him from all directions, the president needed something positive to deflect it.
He got it with some good economic news: Retail sales numbers in February were better than expected. Bank of America and Citigroup both reported profits the last two months. And there is talk that the mark-to-market rule will be clarified.
Check out the entire article here.
Be sure to head over to Katie Favazza‘s place and watch her great video in which she highlights Obama mocking John McCain for his “our economy’s fundamentals are strong” statement during the campaign. Yet, when it’s politically expedient for President Obama, he hijacks the argument and uses it as his own.