Jewish World Review June 21, 2011 / 19 Sivan, 5771
A Shovel-Ready Punch Line
By Jonah Goldberg
"Shovel-ready was not as ... uh ... shovel-ready as we expected,"
Republicans jumped on Obama's comment as insensitive. "He joked about the wildly mistaken predictions he and others at the
I'm sure they don't, but the fact that the president laid an egg when he tried to be self-deprecating isn't the scandal here.
After all, Obama has pretty much said the same thing several times. In a
This is a staggering indictment of the president, the team he assembled and the journalists who accepted this administration's arrogant assertions that they knew exactly what to do, how to do it, and what would happen as a result. Remember, this is the administration that to this day insists it is "pragmatic" and simply cares about "what works."
"I think we can get a lot of work done fast," President-elect Obama said shortly after gathering of governors in
They were wrong.
They were wrong not just about the effect of infrastructure spending -- even an analysis by the
Back in October, when Obama admitted that he had to learn on the job that shovel-ready jobs don't exist, then-Democratic
You've got to love the "I don't think" there.
The "way we do things" involves endless paperwork, union regulations, environmental red tape and the like. That's why it only took 410 days to build the Empire State building and 16 months to build the Pentagon but nearly 20 years to complete
The point is that the president and his team came into office insisting that they were on top of things and above mere ideological considerations. When confronted with skepticism about the existence of "shovel-ready" projects, they in effect rolled their eyes and scoffed at the backseat drivers.
But they were the ones who were blinded by ideology. One need not be an ideologue to understand that public works contracting has become bloated and inefficient. Indeed, one must be an ideologue of a certain kind not to understand that. Or one has to be incredibly naive. Or both.
Perhaps that's why Obama's real economic agenda never changed to fit the economic crisis. During the campaign he promised to reform health care and fight for a green economy. After the financial crisis, the "pragmatist" stuck to his outdated agenda, saying -- surprise! -- what the economy needs is the same agenda he promised before. So while he kept saying he was obsessed with job creation, he spent all of his political capital on health care reform and energy. All the while, the
For instance, you know where this jobs council meeting took place?
There's a funny joke in there somewhere, but I don't think Obama wants to tell it.
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