Obama Must Play ‘Big Ball,’ Not ‘Small Ball’

When the President of the United States plans to deliver what should be a landmark speech on job creation but has to change the timing so the speech doesn’t compete with a football game, you know he’s lost most of America.

This is a sure signal that people are tuning out his oft repeated messages because they no longer believe he can change the course of this country’s unemployment.

I read an interesting piece from a San Francisco journalist that found there have been only seven presidential speeches about economic and business issues before a joint session of Congress since the Great Depression ended.

Based on an analysis of these speeches, none of them ever had any “measurable effect on the economy, despite offering ambitious proposals.” Harry S. Truman gave three such speeches between 1946 and 1952; Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter during the 1970s; and by Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Now Obama has tried his hand and will sadly get the same results.

So those of us who tuned in to listen with our chips and beer on the ready for the game to follow, were hoping Team Obama, with nearly three years of play calling could have drawn up something to give us confidence and put us on the path to recovery.

Instead, we got very little to cheer about. It should have been all about the fundamentals of block and tackle, not a series of flea-flickers and chicanery. In the end, Obama punted.

It didn’t take long to resort to his worn-out playbook of advocating raising taxes on our job creators, or in his class warfare audible rallying against “millionaires and billionaires.”

What is it going to take to convince him that when you raise taxes on our small business owners, they have less money to hire? You don’t need to be Bill Belichick to figure this out.

Obama started off the razzle dazzle when he contended that Warren Buffett pays fewer taxes than his secretary. This is patently misleading since while his secretary pays personal income tax rates, Buffett pays a capital gains tax. This is the old bait and switch since while capital gains taxes are lower, a person has to have accumulated the capital in the first place, and has already paid personal income taxes. This encourages them to invest their capital, which is a fundamental component of capitalism.

Then Obama called on a cheerleader pretending to be a full back to distract the audience. He pointed to General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, sitting next to Michele Obama to head his new panel on job creation. Immelt, as Obama’s “go-to guy” for the “Made in America” initiative, has shipped more jobs to China than just about any other CEO. Immelt should be benched.

Soon Obama put his worn-out offense back on the field; trotting out his desire to ratify the job-creating trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea while still supporting more payola for unions with “job displacement funds.”

What is worse, Team Obama has sent our pee-wee squad to do battle with the Pros of our global competitors. The U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, before assuming the most important job in our country representing America’s businesses and workers overseas, had no international trade experience. This is like suiting up Barney Frank on Thursday night to play quarterback for the Packers.

As the legendary Packer Coach Vince Lombardi noted: “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” Obama has no will to get our international trade house in order by taking on the unions.

The next call was his infrastructure spending plan. He never used the word “stimulus” for this new stimulus because it conjures up the negativity associated with his first stimulus. I thought we just spent nearly $1 trillion on the first stimulus that was earmarked for improving our infrastructure. What happened to that money?

His habit of reintroducing unpopular programs is like running the same play on every down. It’s not going to work. Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

In desperation it was finally time for the “Hail Mary.” He proudly proclaimed his new $447 billion American Job Act would all be paid for but we would have to wait another week to find out how. If he knew, he would have told us instead of fumbling again on unfunded deficit spending.

Let’s face facts. President Obama’s address to Congress was not a jobs speech –it was a campaign speech. The giveaway was his vow to personally bring his ideas to every corner of this country. That sounds like a campaign trip to me. Obama is now in full campaign mode, preferring pep-rallies for the dwindling party faithful instead of governing. He seems to have realized the vast majority of the American people — and Congress — have lost faith in his ability to lead.

Vince Lombardi shared another lesson: “Leadership rests not only upon ability, not only upon capacity – having the capacity to lead is not enough. The leader must be willing to use it. His leadership is then based on truth and character. There must be truth in the purpose and will power in the character.”

Too bad Coach Lombardi is not with us. We could sure use his steadfastness and wisdom in Washington today.

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