Excerpts of President Obama’s acceptance speech and the bullet points are flying around the Internet. According to Politico, he’s going to be promising the following:
* Create one million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016 and double exports by the end of 2014.
* Cut net oil imports in half by 2020 and support 600,000 natural gas jobs by the end of the decade.
* Cut the growth of college tuition in half over the next 10 years; recruit 100,000 math and science teachers over the next 10 years and train 2 million workers for real jobs at community colleges.
* Invest in the economy with the money we’re no longer spending on war.
* Reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade.
But if a lot of this sounds familiar, it should: he gave some of the same promises in his first acceptance speech in front of those faux Greek columns at Invesco Field in 2008.
In 2008 he also talked about jobs, but he now presides over an economy where unemployment is higher than when he took the oath of office.
In 2008, he said, “In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.” But in the past four years not only has he failed to make progress toward that goal, he has retarded that effort by bowing to environmental extremists by stopping the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.
On education, in 2008 he made a similar promise. He said, “I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries, and give them more support.”
In 2008, he did not promise a peace dividend but did complain about Iraq’s surplus and implied that the money being spent abroad should be used at home. But bragging about cutting our defense to the bone will leave us even less prepared than we were the last time the country was caught sleeping after thinking it no longer needed to worry about security.
In 2008, he spoke of going through the budget to save money and now he promises to cut it, but he’s recycling promises made throughout his presidency. And this pledge is also accompanied by the same inability to say where he will get the money other than gimmicks.
President Obama is entitled to repeat these vague promises, but after four years it’s clear his idea of moving “forward” is pretty much a faint echo of the same stuff he ran on in 2008. It falls far short of the “hope and change” messianism that first propelled him into office but perhaps he’s decided that rather than to try and fail to recapture that moment, he’s better off playing it safe with recycled campaign fodder.