We have a choice of two paths, both the Republicans and the Democrats say. But in order to decide which of two paths we want our country to take—even accepting Obama’s characterization of the two paths—we have to look at the record away from which Obama is running so hard. It is that record that demonstrates the value of his path, and it is that record that is a subject he is so desperate to avoid with his non sequitor of paths. It is that record that must inform Republican reasoning of why their path is better.
As Obama himself said at Harlem’s Apollo theater on the 19th,
We have not seen a choice this stark in years. The contrast this year could not be sharper. So the question is not whether people are still hurting; people are still hurting profoundly. A lot of folks out there still out of work looking for work. The question is, what do we do about it?
The Republican candidates agree that we have a choice to make, and it’s substantially the same one that Obama offers. Newt Gingrich described the choices this way:
The debate we’re going to have with President Obama over the next eight or nine months [involves] the outlining of the two Americas.
The America of the Declaration of Independence; the America of Saul Alinsky. The America of paychecks; the America of food stamps. The America of independence; the America of dependence. The America of strength in foreign policy; the America of weakness in foreign policy.
Those two choices, I believe, will give the American people a chance to decide permanently whether we want to remain the historic America that has provided opportunity for more people of more backgrounds than any country in history, or whether in fact, we prefer to become a brand new secular, European-style bureaucratic socialist system.
What has Obama done about his just above acknowledged performance, so far? His record actually is pretty clear from the fact that he’s still saying those things three years into his term. Here is the path down which he wants us to continue, as demonstrated by his record.
Joblessness remains high at historic highs, for an historic duration: 8.5 percent unemployment only last month, and even higher unemployment for most of the Obama three years. Millions of Americans out of work for a year or more—for a third of Obama’s term so far.
Repeated claims of millions of jobs saved (not so much anymore of jobs created, even though job creation actually has been ticking up slightly). But with these claims, the Obama administration stubbornly declines to offer any evidence that this improvement—such as it is—is due to his profligate spending policies and not due to an ordinary cyclic economic recovery, one that has been depressed these last three years by that same spending and his extreme regulatory policies.
Democratic party has refusal—for 1,000 days—to offer a budget in the Senate, and its refusal to allow the Senate take up the House-passed budget bill for FY2012, passed in Jan 2011. Absent a budget, the Progressives have run up deficits that require the government to borrow 36 cents of every dollar spent. Beyond that, Obama now is delaying for a week the release of his budget proposal for the 2013 fiscal year. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R, WI) points out that
This will mark the third time in four years the president has missed his statutory requirement to present a budget on time, while trillion-dollar budget deficits continue to mount. As the president announces another missed deadline, tomorrow marks the 1,000th day Senate Democrats have gone without any budget at all.
Democratic party refusal to allow the Senate take up more than 20 House-passed jobs bills.
Active destruction of jobs and job opportunities, such as his willful cancelation of the Keystone XL pipeline with all those prompt jobs and even greater numbers of longer-term follow-on jobs; and his EPA regulations that are closing down coal-fired electricity generating plants, with the loss of jobs at those plants, and the potential loss of vastly more jobs from closing of businesses that depended on that power.
Further active interference in the energy sector of our energy economy. Tom Steyer and John Podesta write, in all seriousness
…the Production Tax Credit, first passed in 1992, has generated massive amounts of new growth in the wind industry, a sector employing 85,000 Americans. But each time Congress allows this credit to expire after a mere two years, investment grinds to a halt….
Notice that: since 1992, a whole 85,000 jobs, out of 14 million Americans currently out of work. Notice further: this “green” industry cannot survive—it is not economically viable—without massive investments of your money. Sort of like Solyndra, Beacon, Evergreen Solar, AES Eastern Energy LP, et al.
Class warfare, and the politics of rank envy. Obama has chosen to frame his campaign as a fight for fairness for those who are struggling to keep a job, a home or college savings and losing faith in how the country works. And yet his policies actively interfere with growing our economy so that Americans can actually get jobs, much less won’t need to “struggle to keep a job,” and so that savings for a home or an education become possible. Instead, Obama simply promotes jealousy of those who have on the part of those whom he wants to buy with his wealth redistribution, funded by selective taxes. This is Obama’s nation of “You have, and I want,” not the nation of “haves and soon to haves,” as Governor Mitch Daniel described.
That class warfare now has the IRS implementing new rules that will require employers to calculate and report the cost of health insurance provided to employees on each W-2 beginning in 2013, for the 2012 tax year. Since this benefit is not taxable, what possible reason could the Obama administration have for demanding the data—except that they plan to tax these, too.
In the end, as Ryan put it,
We deserve better than a president unwilling to meet his legal and moral obligation to tackle our nation’s most pressing challenges. We deserve better than the President’s path to debt, doubt and decline.
And in a statement released jointly with Senator Jeff Sessions (R, AL), Ryan added this:
The President and his party’s leaders have yet to detail a credible budget plan to prevent the fiscal crisis that awaits us should we continue down the current path to debt, doubt, and decline. Such a crisis would threaten the economic security, health security, and retirement security of every American. If the President wishes to begin a genuine dialogue with the American people…then he must hold his own party accountable for its dogged refusal to produce a plan to prevent this crisis and lift this cloud of uncertainty from the economy. The President must also deliver what he has so far refused: serious reforms to change our debt course and prevent fiscal disaster.
It is a choice of two paths: Obama’s performance record or a path of American resurgence in freedom, reduced government interference, economic growth. The danger for the Republicans is they’ll let Obama stick to a debate of choices and not keep Obama tied to, and having to explain, his record as the demonstration of where his path leads us.