Two years ago, the majority of American voters supported freshman U.S. Sen. Barack Obama for president. Today, neither he nor his party seem that popular. Why?
No one supported candidate Obama based on his achievements -- military, legislative, administrative, or creating jobs in the private sector. There weren't any.
What they embraced was his vow to move past race and partisanship, to seek not merely Democratic solutions or Republican solutions, but bi-partisan solutions, multi-partisan solutions, American solutions.
If that Barack Obama had spoken at Aria in CityCenter Thursday evening, and then at UNLV Friday, one could easily imagine him saying, "You know, our economic policies of the past 18 months have not succeeded. In fact, many things have gotten worse. Here in Southern Nevada, your unemployment rate has skyrocketed from 4.4 percent to 14 percent, people have lost their homes, businesses have closed, 135,000 jobs have been lost. And it just might be that the tax-and-spend dinosaurs of my own party are part of the problem. So instead of making fun of Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, anyone with some fresh ideas, I've started calling in some of those 'greedy capitalists' who've created jobs in the past. I'm asking them what they think we should 'change.'"
Instead, Mr. Obama was here to raise funds for one of those aforementioned graying partisans of the Senate, Sen. Harry Reid. And Mr. Obama continued to blame all his -- and our -- problems on the mess he inherited two years ago.
Change? While the president did not mention Mr. Reid's front-running Republican challenger Sharron Angle by name, he did comment on her plan to let younger workers invest part of their Social Security withholdings in private accounts they would own, while Washington would continue paying promised benefits to older Americans:
"On a lot of these issues, she favors an approach that's even more extreme than the Republicans in Washington," said the "post-partisan" president, drawing laughter from the hand-picked, closed-door Democratic crowd. "That's saying something. That is saying something. I mean, she wants to phase out and privatize Social Security and Medicare."
Whereupon the president proceeded to set out his own detailed plan -- and Sen. Reid's -- to save a Social Security and Medicare entitlement system that's already spent all the money current retirees ever paid in, and which is thus headed for bankruptcy.
Well, no, of course he didn't do that.
The fact is, President Obama once again left behind a sinking feeling that neither he nor Sen. Reid have a clue how to pull this country out of its current dire economic straits.
Oh, they want to spend more tax money propping up the jobs of unionized state and local government workers -- the president bragged, "We fought to keep Nevada teachers, firefighters, and police officers on the job" -- at precisely the time state and local governments should be slashing their bloated budgets.
And where will that money come from? Big tax hikes on the very people who would otherwise be out there creating real, productive jobs -- private businesses.
Higher cigarette taxes. Carbon taxes. "Cap and trade." A tanning salon tax. A "1099" tax that's projected to siphon an extra $7 billion out of the private economy over the next decade to help fund Obamacare ... which was supposed to "save us money." They're already talking about a national Value Added Tax, in addition to the income tax rates that will go up for everyone if the "Bush tax cuts" are allowed to expire in December.
The president nationalizes the student loan business -- a precursor to forgiving tax-backed loans if graduates behave in ways he chooses, destroying thousands of private-sector banking jobs -- and brags, "We fought to eliminate wasteful subsidies that go to banks to act as unnecessary middlemen in administering student loans and make the repayment of loans more manageable for students."
In a disconnect that seemed almost surreal, the president told his audience at UNLV Friday: "As I've repeated many times as president, I believe the greatest generator of jobs in America is our private sector. It's our entrepreneurs and innovators, who are willing to take a chance on a good idea. ... The private sector -- not government -- is, was, and always will be the source of America's economic success.
"That's why we've cut dozens of taxes for the middle class and small businesspeople, extended loan programs to put capital in the hands of startups and worked to reduce the cost of health care for small businesses. And Harry is fighting right now to pass additional tax breaks and loan authority to help small businesses grow and hire."
But businesses are afraid to hire precisely because of the unknown costs of Obamacare, while the aforementioned targeted tax credits to support "clean energy" jobs -- 50 here, 50 there, according to Mr. Obama's own examples -- will collapse the moment federal support is withdrawn.
Unfortunately, Spain already tried that, and a study conducted by Dr. Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid, reveals that every "green job" created with government money in Spain over the past eight years came at the cost of 2.2 regular jobs, while only one in 10 of the newly created green jobs became permanent.
President Obama admits government is not the answer -- at the same time he's growing government control over our economy at the fastest rate seen since the wartime emergency of 1942, while bragging how his administration will pick and choose which "startups" are worth taxpayer subsidies.
Problem is, it's not working.