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No Longer Any Doubt

Pointing out the vast gulf between Barack Obama’s campaign promises and presidential actions on earmarks, spending, healthcare and taxes, Karl Rove concludes:

Barack Obama has been president for a little more than five weeks. During his speech to a joint session of Congress last week, he showed what a skilled speaker he is and how persuasive he can be. But words delivered from a teleprompter, while important, have to line up with actions. Promises have to be met. And a president who promised to be one thing cannot be another. At some point, the gap between good feelings and results, between perception and reality, closes.

Eloquent words and “spin” work better in a campaign than they do while governing. And as Mr. Obama is discovering, the laws of economics won’t change, even for him.

Conservatives wonder aloud and fret: when will the public notice? Implicit in the nervous chatter is the fear that somehow the public will be duped, won’t notice the further deterioration of the economy, and will return to the same one-party rule in 2010 and 2012. Or perhaps the economy will overcome almost insurmountable odds, get better in time and allow the Democrats to “claim credit.” Well, none of that bespeaks a movement or a group of people with much confidence in their own perspective.

Given no reason (other than a meager senate record) to doubt Obama’s soothing words, the public — desperate to junk the Bush administration — was more than willing to extend to Obama the benefit of the doubt and take his reassuring claims of moderation at face value. But the benefit of the doubt is gone. We know what he is in favor of now — huge tax increases, a cap-and-trade tax/regulatory system, an ever-growing government, and a vague but expensive scheme of nationalized healthcare. So unless one believes that the American people like that sort of thing (not even Obama did, which is why he largely concealed all that during the campaign), one can be reasonably assured that the public won’t support that vision of governance.

As for claiming credit for an “in spite of” rather than “because of” recovery, it is always possible that investors, employers and consumers will muddle through. But chances are if the government sets out to tax and demonize wealth creators and business (read: employers), we’re not going to enjoy a full-throated recovery. But there’s a first for everything. Obama better hope so.



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