National Journal’s Ron Fournier has a piece on President Obama’s “fair shot” speech yesterday–you know, the speech in which the president unveiled his new Teddy Roosevelt persona:
But his speech in Osawatomie, Kan., with its echoes of Theodore Roosevelt's appearance in the same city a century ago, also exposed the limits of Obama's presidency and personality. Obama is a man of his times, and this is a lousy time to command what TR called the "bully pulpit."
Because of who he is and the hand dealt to him, Obama will find it much easier explaining America's problems than solving them.
Leaving aside that President Obama’s off the wall decision to recast himself as Teddy Roosevelt might qualify as an identity crisis in some circles, let’s unpack this: Obama is too much of an intellectual to be president, especially in such hard times, but—wow!—is his class warfare analysis of our nation’s woes on target.
For the president, blame-the-rich rhetoric must be soothing because, well, somebody has to be blamed and the W shtick was getting old. Blaming the rich allows the president to pin the tail on something other than the expansion of regulatory burdens, the looming nightmare of Obamacare, and other bad policies that have prevented economic recovery.
Here is how the president characterizes those who have an honest disagreement with him on what economic policies work:
Referring to Republicans, Mr. Obama said, "they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules. I am here to say they are wrong."
I don’t recognize President Obama’s America.
But I know what he is trying to do, stoke the fires of envy, pretend that there is a static pot of money and the rich are stealing it, when he should be trying to promote policies that create prosperity and jobs for all of us.
About that new TR personality the president has adopted (having apparently tired of comparisons to Lincoln and FDR), Jonathan Tobin writes:
But the differences between 1910 and 2011 are even greater than the vast chasm that separates Obama from the Rough Rider. The only thing the situations have in common is that in both years there were protesters in the streets. But whereas a century ago, workers and the poor had a legitimate beef, today’s Occupy Wall Street protests are a function of envy and a sense of entitlement, not genuine grievance.
Obama is right when he says Roosevelt was called a socialist and a communist for his manifest of a “new nationalism.” But Roosevelt was not an opponent of the free market.
Mr. President, I didn’t know TR, but I know that you are very different from the Rough Rider.
PS. Oh, dear. I forgot to mention the president's Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan phases.