Better Than Thinking About Her Husband

Maureen Dowd is fixated on Michelle Obama’s arms. No really. (The Times perhaps has a clause in its contracts with female columnists that they must appear frivolous and obsessed with politicians’ physiques.) But while meandering through the faux controversy over Michelle’s biceps she actually stumbles upon a substantive point: the president is not exactly a tower of inspirational strength. And it’s not just the “lame” DVD gift to Gordon Brown. Dowd complains:

As blue chips turn into penny stocks, Wall Street seems less like a symbol of America’s macho capitalism and more like that famous Jane Austen character Mrs. Bennet, a flibbertigibbet always anxious about getting richer and her “poor nerves.” The president tried to urge Americans to man-up and buy stocks. In a Times interview on Friday, he further advised us not to “suddenly stuff money” in our mattresses.

It’s a mess, really. These days the president is both dismissive (your 401K is a poll) and defensive. In the latter vein, he’s not just hounding reporters to drop the notion that he’s a Western European socialist; he’s resorting to eye-rolling misrepresentations. He was just getting warmed up with his announcement that he doesn’t like big government. The latest, from his weekly radio address:

My administration inherited a $1.3 trillion budget deficit, the largest in history.  And we’ve inherited a budgeting process as irresponsible as it is unsustainable.  For years, as Wall Street used accounting tricks to conceal costs and avoid responsibility, Washington did, too.

These kinds of irresponsible budgets — and inexcusable practices — are now in the past.

What about the 8000-plus earmarks in the omnibus spending bill? And the budget “cut” of $1.6 trillion achieved by not continuing the surge? Forget John F. Kennedy’s invented “missile gap” — this is an economic reality gap of unprecedented size.