Lead of the day:

There was drama at the White House this week when a man tried to hurl himself over the fence. But the Secret Service intervened and talked the president into going back inside and finishing his term.

That’s from Conan O’Brien’s monologue the other night. It captures the moment pretty well.

That was from Peggy Noonan this morning and Noonan goes on to sum up the root of our problem pretty well: bad ideas. The motto over at the Ethics and Public Policy Center is that ideas have consequences. If you want to see what kinds of consequences bad ideas can have, look around you. Look at your 401-K.  

Noonan focuses on the president’s use of class warfare, something to which Americans, unlike Europeans with their different history, don’t resonate.  We know we’re all in this together and rather than envying the guy with the corporate jet, we’re hoping we (or our children) will one day do as well.

Of course, the more serious matter, beyond the increasingly unappealing class warfare rhetoric coming from the president, is his economic philosophy. High taxes are his Holy Grail, whether they actually raise revenue or not. He believes in higher taxes because he regards them as “fair,” even if they stop recovery dead in its wobbly track, harming the potential beneficiaries of all this fairness.

President Obama may be in political trouble but the country is in worse trouble. As Jennifer Rubin makes clear, we are in a perilous situation…and all because of bad ideas:

Andrea Saul,the spokeswoman for Mitt Romney, who has made jobs the centerpiece of his campaign, had this take [on the market meltdown]: “In the past, President Obama has cited gains in the stock market as an indicator of a recovering economy and a healthy financial system. Now that the Dow is falling, he needs to explain what that says about his failed leadership and the state of the economy.”

Saul has a point. In May, President Obama told a Massachusetts DNC gathering: “But an economy that was shrinking at about 6 percent is now growing again. Over the last 14 months we’ve created 2 million private-sector jobs, starting to recover some of those jobs that were lost during the crisis. The financial system is stable. The stock market has doubled.” It’s sort of like last year’s “recovery summer” – it simply wasn’t true.

Obama’s entirely false assessment of the economy had real policy implications. Recall that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner a year ago told us that the economy could “withstand” tax hikes. And so he doggedly urged tax increases, rather than cuts. And as we saw in Obama’s Rose Garden speech this week, his anemic program of items like an infrastructure bank and patent reform shows no sign that he connects his uber-regulatory schemes, Obamcare and the threat of ever-higher taxes to the faltering economy. His Keynesian spending spree didn’t work; he has nothing else.

This is an unpleasant reminder of just how perilous is our economy and how serious is the shortage of economic leadership and pro-growth policies in this administration.

 This feels so much worse than the end of the Jimmy Carter years, and of course it’s not nearly the end–we will not have a change of leadership until 2013, if then.