The Brief Against Obama: The Rise, Fall & Epic Fail of the Hope & Change Presidency

The Brief Against Obama: The Rise, Fall & Epic Fail of the Hope & Change Presidency

by Hugh Hewitt

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Voters can do nothing until they have the facts—-the hard, cold, true facts, and that is what Hugh Hewitt provides in THE BRIEF AGAINST OBAMA: The Rise, Fall & Epic Fail of the Hope & Change Presidency. Hugh makes the case that Obama's has been a disastrous presidency, a fiasco in fact, and reveals the president to be a wholly unprepared and


Voters can do nothing until they have the facts—-the hard, cold, true facts, and that is what Hugh Hewitt provides in THE BRIEF AGAINST OBAMA: The Rise, Fall & Epic Fail of the Hope & Change Presidency. Hugh makes the case that Obama's has been a disastrous presidency, a fiasco in fact, and reveals the president to be a wholly unprepared and incapable-of-learning ideologue whose nearly every move has been wrong, and whose almost every decision has been ill-conceived and poorly executed. But for the SEALs' dispatch of bin Laden and the military's removal of al-Awalki and other terrorists—-whom the president still seeks to remove from Gitmo to domestic courts in the United States—-Obama would be wholly without anything to claim as an achievement of his time in the Oval Office.

In addition to the monumental failures of Obamacare, the soaring unemployment rate, the 2009 "stimulus" and the massive debt, Hugh Hewitt examines the scores and scores of broken promises and fraudulent forecasts, dozens of dodges and hundreds of disastrous innovations that President Obama has inflicted on America. It has been a reign of incompetency not before seen in the country—-ever. According to Hewitt, President Obama is not just a failed president, but the most spectacularly failed president of modern times, and Hewitt's precise and lawyerly indictment is made to help the American people see what has happened, and what desperately needs to be done in the upcoming election.

The path for the American people is clear and urgent: Barack Obama mustn't be allowed to run the country into the ground as the Commander-in-Chief for four more years.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"THE BRIEF AGAINST OBAMA makes the case for sending Obama back to Chicago, and does so with lawyerly precision and broadcaster passion. Read it. Learn it. Pass it on. And work, every day, to stop the president's assault on our Constitution."

—-Mark Levin, bestselling author of Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America


Hugh Hewitt has done what the mainstream media has left undone. The media has dwelled on Barack Obama's style, his rhetoric, and his claims. Hewitt has concentrated on the facts—-and only the facts—-of Obama's presidency, set them against his promises, and judged Obama to have failed spectacularly. Obama is the Peter Principle President, in above his head."

—-Fred Barnes, executive editor, The Weekly Standard, and Fox News commentator

"THE BRIEF AGAINST OBAMA makes the case for sending Obama back to Chicago, and does so with lawyerly precision and broadcaster passion. Read it. Learn it. Pass it on. And work, every day, to stop the president's assault on our Constitution."

---Mark Levin, bestselling author of Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America

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The Brief Against Obama

The Rise, Fall & Epic Fail of the Hope & Change Presidency
By Hugh Hewitt

Center Street

Copyright © 2012 Hugh Hewitt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781455516308



Chapter 1

The Nightmare of Obamacare

What we do is set up a plan that allows anybody to get health care that is as good as the health care I have as a member of Congress. We will subsidize those who can’t afford it. People won’t be able to be excluded for preexisting conditions so that anybody who’s self-employed, anybody who doesn’t have health insurance or is underinsured can join this plan. Now, we also work to lower costs for those who already have health insurance, and so we expect to provide about $2,500 of relief per family for their premiums. That’s the kind of cost reduction that I think is going to be so important to make sure that the plan is sustainable.

Here’s the concern. If you haven’t made it affordable, how are you going to enforce a mandate? I mean, if a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house. The reason they don’t buy a house is they don’t have the money. And so, our focus has been on reducing costs, making it available. I am confident if people have a chance to buy high-quality health care that is affordable, they will do so. That’s what our plan does and nobody disputes that.

—Candidate Barack Obama, Super Tuesday, 2008

If you look at the package that we’ve presented—and there’s some stray cats and dogs that got in there that we were eliminating, we were in the process of eliminating. For example, we said from the start that it was going to be important for us to be consistent in saying to people if you can have your—if you want to keep the health insurance you got, you can keep it, that you’re not going to have anybody getting in between you and your doctor in your decision making. And I think that some of the provisions that got snuck in might have violated that pledge.

—President Obama at a House Republican Caucus retreat, March 2010

I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage—they like their plan and they value their relationship with their doctor. And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what. My view is that health-care reform should be guided by a simple principle: fix what’s broken and build on what works.

—President Obama speaking to the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009

Obamacare is a public policy cancer. It is that simple.

It is a metastasizing disease that is destroying employment and health care at the same time, pushing the United States to an era of scarcity and rationing in health care, toward vast public bureaucracies, and unresponsive hospitals and clinics.

And it is doing so at great—indeed vast—expense.

It is doing so at the expense of our first freedom—the freedom of religion contained in the first two clauses of the First Amendment, now tossed aside by President Obama and his Department of Health and Human Services with a demand on every Catholic college and university, elementary and secondary school, hospital or social service agency, to provide Obamacare-molded health insurance that must include payment for sterilization and “morning after” pills, which are abhorrent to the Roman Catholic conscience.

Obamacare should never have been jammed down the country’s throat. Especially after two gubernatorial elections in 2009 in New Jersey and Virginia and a special United States Senate election in 2010 in Massachusetts, all three of which sent unmistakable signals that the American people were saying no to this legislative monstrosity.

In November 2009, Governor Chris Christie was elected in the Garden State and Governor Bob McDonnell in the Commonwealth on platforms opposed to the then-pending Obamacare proposals. Their opposition to many features of the legislation has continued, even as details about its provisions and their effects have become clear.

Here’s what Christie has said about Obamacare:

As a governor what I’m most concerned about is getting us some more flexibility in Medicaid. It’s really kind of drowning the states…. I mean, our Medicaid program is $1.4 billion in deficit this year and because of Obamacare we can’t change the level of benefit that we offer because of the mandates they’ve put on us. And, I think, you know, if we’re going to pay for 50 percent of it, we should have some control over it, and the way this administration’s done it is they want to control all of it.

Here’s what McDonnell has said:

Turning over the best doctors, the best hospitals, the best pharmaceutical research and development system to the federal government for a co-op or a public option is [an idea] I don’t hear Virginians very excited about.

In a speech responding to Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address, McDonnell said:

It was Thomas Jefferson who called for “a wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” He was right. Today, the federal government is simply trying to do too much…. In recent months the American people have made clear that they want government leaders to listen and then act on the issues most important to them. We want results, not rhetoric; we want cooperation, not partisanship. There is much common ground. All Americans agree that we need a health-care system that is affordable, accessible, and high-quality. But most Americans do not want to turn over the best health-care system in the world to the federal government…. [The GOP’s solutions] aren’t thousand-page bills that no one has fully read, after being crafted behind closed doors with special interests.

A couple of months after saying those words, McDonnell signed the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, prohibiting implementation of health-care legislation that includes an individual mandate in Virginia. At the signing, McDonnell said: “We all agree that we must expand access to quality health care and reduce costs for all Virginians. However, that should not be accomplished through an unprecedented federal mandate on individuals that we believe violates the U.S. Constitution…. The Act was passed with bipartisan support, in sharp contrast to the… partisan vote that enacted the federal health-care bill on Sunday night.”

Senator Scott Brown and his pick-up truck barnstormed Massachusetts and defeated the Democrat designated to take the “Kennedy seat” almost solely on his arguments that Obamacare was a nightmare and his election would be the referendum to stop it.

Here’s one example of Brown’s campaign rhetoric from early 2009:

Massachusetts wants real reform, and not this trillion-dollar Obama health care bill being forced on the American people…. It is not in the interest of our state or country—and as your senator, I will insist we start over. I will work in the Senate to reform health care in the right way, the honest way…. We can do better, and as the 41st senator I’ll make sure of it.”

Christie won by a goodly margin in a blue state: 49 percent to 44 percent.

McDonnell won by a far larger margin in a state President Obama had carried just a year earlier. McDonnell’s margin of victory was 17.4 percent. Obama had beaten McCain in the Commonwealth by 52.7 to 46.4 percent just the year before.

And Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley in deep blue Massachusetts, even after a personal intervention and visit by President Obama, by the margin of 52 percent to 47 percent.

There was no mistaking the message of Americans who were voting in the fall and winter of 2009, and not merely protesting: the Tea Party movement that began on CNBC with Rick Santelli answering Joe Kernan’s question on February 19, 2009, had grown larger and stronger with each passing week. Grassroots leaders like Mark Meckler and Jennie Beth Martin and their website spearheaded popular demonstrations against the massive power grab on health care, but it wasn’t until actual voting began to occur in statewide races that the real views of significant majorities of Americans came into undeniable, unmistakable clarity.

The first sin of Obamacare is that it was passed over the outspoken, often expressed, and impossible to miss message from the American people to stop.

This arrogance, this indifference to genuine public opinion, has been the defining mark of this radical president. The sad confluence of events—the war, the exhaustion of the country, the financial panic, the relentless boosterism of the MSM for Obama, and of course the lousy campaign of John McCain—all worked to put a hard-left president in the White House, and after spending nearly a trillion dollars on his friends and allies, he turned to the legislative program that would forever change the face of America by pushing it inexorably into neo-European-socialism lite: the control of American health care.

The bill itself—unread by everyone, as Nancy Pelosi famously pointed out when she said, “We have to pass the bill before you can find out what’s in it”—was an incoherent mess of promises and half-baked commissions and regulatory zeal.

The public does not need much persuasion on this case, or on the urgent need for repeal. But five points bear repeating.

First, nothing of this order of magnitude has ever before been jammed through on a purely party-line basis and in the teeth of widespread opposition. The decisions to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq—twice—were very divisive questions, but ultimately the votes empowering those three invasions passed with bipartisan support, as did the Civil Rights Act (Southern Democrats leading the die-hard opposition), and all the tax reform and tax cut bills of the ’80s, ’90s, and the past decade.

This country simply does not force vast changes unless at least some of the opposition party can be brought to the side of change. This tradition—unwritten but real—has worked to preserve the republic and civic space.

President Obama has trashed this tradition.

Second, the law is unconstitutional in the eyes of many scholars and many judges. Some judges have upheld the law, but the question is now before the Supreme Court, and there will be at least some of the justices who say it is unconstitutional, and possibly a majority.

This deep flaw was known, debated, and ignored by a radical president unconcerned with breaching the Constitution’s outer limit of power. A prudent president would have seen the opposition and sensed how far he was pushing government’s authority, and pulled back for fear of crossing over to the place where the Constitution forbids the government to go—but not Obama. He simply didn’t care.

Third, it was passed on false premises with transparently impossible-to-keep claims. This became an admission even by the Obamians in October 2011, when the president’s team at Health and Human Services admitted they could not possibly comply with the subset of provisions within Obamacare known as “The CLASS Act.”

The Community Living Assistance Standards and Supports (CLASS) Act is the component of Obamacare designed to provide long-term care. As legislated, it was a guaranteed-issue, voluntary program that was supposed to pay its enrollees approximately $50 a day for care, after the individual paid premiums for five years.

Health and Human Services (HHS) was tasked with implementation of the CLASS Act, along with the other provisions of Obamacare. The law required that CLASS not be implemented unless it would remain financially self-sustaining for seventy-five years, without requiring additional taxpayer money to support it.

At the beginning of December 2010, President Obama’s deficit commission, co-chaired by Senator Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, released its report, which indicated “federal health care spending represents our single largest fiscal challenge over the long-run.” The commission recommended that the CLASS Act be either reformed or repealed because “it is viewed by many experts as financially unsound…. Absent reform, the program is therefore likely to require large general revenue transfers or else collapse under its own weight.”

In February 2011, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius assuaged concerns about the financial stability of the program in a speech to the Kaiser Family Foundation: “It’s important to remember that the law already provides plenty of flexibility to make sure CLASS is successful. And today, I can tell you that we are committed to using that authority to make sure this program meets people’s needs while remaining fiscally sound.”

Reports circulated in September that HHS was closing the CLASS office, but the administration maintained that they were continuing to pursue implementation, just with a smaller staff.

Then, in October 2011, HHS announced that after nineteen months of research, it had determined the program could not be implemented in a way that met Congress’s sustainability requirements, and was therefore dissolving the initiative. Actuarial models showed that premiums for enrollees could have gone as high as $3,000 a month for $50 a day in benefits —a far cry from the $60 to $100 a month premiums discussed while the bill was making its way through Congress.

Fourth, the immediate consequences of the law are dire. The cost of health care continues to skyrocket even as employers drop hundreds of thousands from their coverage.

A survey published by the Kaiser Family Foundation on July 28, 2011, indicated that 59 percent of Americans with private health insurance said their health insurance premiums were already increasing. Half of those surveyed said their co-pays and deductibles had risen as well.

Some health insurers reported plans to increase rates because of the new legislation as early as September 2010.

Policy experts have noted that Obamacare’s reliance on community rating and guaranteed issue provisions means that premiums for young adults will increase disproportionately. Several studies predict that premiums for young adults will increase anywhere from 17 percent (about $500 on average) to 30 percent.

Maine passed popular health-care reforms of a similar nature (with guaranteed issue and community rating provisions) in 2003, making it one of the examples of what to expect under Obamacare. They now have more uninsured citizens than they did in 2003, and those that have insurance are paying an average of 36 percent more in premiums than the rest of the country despite significantly higher deductibles and taxpayer subsidies to the tune of $183 million, both of which keep costs down.

In July 2011, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that approximately 7 percent of employers currently providing health insurance to their employees would drop employee health benefits because of Obamacare. However, another study released at the same time by McKinsey & Company indicate that as many as 30 percent of employers will probably or certainly stop offering insurance to their employees after 2014.

Furthermore, a survey by Towers Watson released in May 2010 indicated that 86 percent of employers believed Obamacare would increase the cost of their health benefits. The most interesting part of this survey is that 88 percent of the employers interviewed indicated that they planned to pass the cost of this increase to their employees, and 74 percent indicated they would consider reducing the health benefit programs they offered to employees.

Verizon, a company that prides itself on being “a great place to work”, has already made attempts to pass on some of the increased cost to their employees. Other companies are considering similar measures, and some basic number crunching makes clear that large companies can actually turn a reasonable profit by dropping all employer-sponsored insurance plans and paying federal fines.

Fifth, as noted above, President Obama authorized his Department of Health and Human Services to open an assault on every Catholic institution in the country not covered by a narrow “exemption,” which will oblige every Catholic college and university—yes, Boston College and Notre Dame and Georgetown and all the rest—plus every Catholic elementary and high school and every Catholic hospital and arm of Catholic Charities to pay for sterilization and the “morning after” pill. This massive breach of faith with Roman Catholics and assault on the First Amendment stunned observers in and outside of the Roman Catholic Church, and has triggered a widespread commitment to civil disobedience if the regulations are not withdrawn. “We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law,” declared Phoenix archbishop Thomas Olmsted, and his fellow bishops echoed this sentiment across the land.

Even if the president retreats under the political threat of the nation’s Catholics mobilized to defeat him, still everyone has seen behind the mask of Obamacare: it is the left’s giant lever with which to move aside every other institution in the country that holds different values than it does.

Finally, the worst part of the bill is that beginning in 2012, fifteen unelected bureaucrats will in fact decide the health-care futures of all Americans.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board—IPAB, for short—will be given enormous power over American health care when it comes into existence in 2014.

In a rare bit of candor, a New York Times article by Duff Wilson declared on November 4, 2010, that IPAB was the “biggest cost-cutter of all.”

“The Independent Payment Advisory Board,” Wilson correctly continued, “would have the power to rein in Medicare payments beginning in 2015 unless Congress acted each year to achieve similar cost-cutting targets.”

It is a rationing board, and it will ration, unless it is repealed—unless Obamacare is repealed.

There are many, many other arguments against Obamacare and in favor of its repeal, but these are all one needs to do battle with the Obamians in the debate ahead. The public hates this bill and needs to only be reminded of the circumstances of its birth and the recklessness of this approach as well as the by now well-documented adverse consequences of its rollout, and the disaster that will fall on every American if its rollout continues.

Go back to the top of the chapter, though, and look to the promise President Obama made—one I play frequently on my radio show.

The president promised that if you liked your doctor, you could keep him, and that if you liked your insurance, you could keep it.

Those were both bold, indeed startlingly large, lies. Every honest observer knows and will admit that hundreds of thousands of Americans have already lost either the doctors or the health insurance they had and wanted to keep.

The president lied in his core promise on Obamacare, and every explanation he offers and new promise he sends out via his friends in the MSM should be received with that knowledge in the forefront of your mind.

President Obama lied about your health care and your insurance. Why would you trust him on anything else?

Chapter 2

A Failed “Stimulus”

Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy—where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs, which leads to even less spending; where an inability to lend and borrow stops growth and leads to even less credit.

That is why we need to act boldly and act now to reverse these cycles. That’s why we need to put money in the pockets of the American people, create new jobs, and invest in our future. That’s why we need to restart the flow of credit and restore the rules of the road that will ensure a crisis like this never happens again.

That work begins with this plan—a plan I am confident will save or create at least three million jobs over the next few years.

Candidate Barack Obama on his American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, or Stimulus Plan

Most Americans know that the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan” is known as “the Stimulus.”

The Stimulus was the first priority of Barack Obama when he was sworn in, and it was supposed to cost $767 billion, which rose to $862 billion, when the fire hose of money was finally turned off.

This money was all borrowed, so even at the low, roughly 3 percent annual interest cost a year the Treasury has been able to pay on this particular borrowing over the past three years, the interest cost of the Stimulus has been approximately $80 billion to date, and that cost rises every day.

Thus, we taxpayers have shelled out more than $940 billion for the Stimulus already, with billions more to come for the many years the borrowing remains unpaid.

I will review the unemployment numbers—which soared past 8 percent and had not fallen even to that exceedingly high level by March 2012—elsewhere, but the Stimulus deserves a chapter of its own.

The Stimulus was supposed to deliver millions and millions of jobs. Joe Biden declared the summer of 2010 as “the summer of recovery,” in which those jobs were finally going to appear. They didn’t.

Even as unemployment soared and the promised jobs didn’t appear, the by then ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi was still defending the botched attempt at massive Keynesian manipulation.

“We’re very, very proud of it,” Pelosi declared in 2011. “It was definitely worth it.

“It created and saved jobs for our country,” Pelosi continued. “People from all over the world have been very complimentary,” she added, as though the judgment of Europeans or anyone else on economic issues matters to American voters.

“It proved President Obama was an innovator from day one,” Pelosi concluded. “As time goes by people will be more appreciative of it.”

Really? Mitt Romney should hope that the president campaigns on the effectiveness of the 2009 Stimulus. If he does, the former Massachusetts governor should simply ask: “What did it accomplish?”

Or simply, “Where did it go?”

MSNBC’s Jonathan Alter is a frequent and very welcome guest on my radio program. He is, along with the Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne and Harold Meyerson, Fox News’s Juan Williams, the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait, and others, one of the able defenders of President Obama I ask to come on and do their best. (Other regular guests include reporters who try to keep their opinions out of the stories they write, like Politico’s Mike Allen, the Post’s Chris Cillizza, and the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, though my audience detects in them a definite inclination to defend the president nine out of ten times.)

Jonathan Alter was my guest on September 15, 2010, and we discussed the question “Where did it go?”

HH: I’m going to ask you, would you point me to any single project, a power plant, a nuclear power plant, a new bridge, a new college, a new campus, that the Stimulus built? What do you look at when you say here’s what the Stimulus gave us, a new runway, a new anything? What did it build? JA: Well, this is, first of all, there are lots of, know, where I live in New Jersey, I just about less than a mile from my house, there’s a big, poorly designed, you know, by some bureaucrat sign about the American Recovery Act, that it paid for this road construction. So there are projects all over the country that I agree with your point. I think you’re absolutely right about this. One of the great failures of the Stimulus was that they did not, you know, put in money, in part because there are $300 billion in tax cuts in the Stimulus, but they did not, they have more infrastructure spending than any bill since the Highway Act of the 1950s. But as you say, not enough memorable projects. It’s a lot of sewage systems, you know, ramp extensions on various highways, things that help create jobs, help communities, helped to stop the bleeding, but do not leave a permanent legacy. So I think you’re absolutely right about that. HH: Jonathan, I see lots of these signs, too. I think actually they put most of the Stimulus into sign creation. But as I say, I asked Howard Dean, and I’ll ask you. Can you name one particular, one bridge, one power plant, just one particular geographic GPS site that you know Stimulus dollars went to, you can say this would not have happened? JA: Well, I, you know, I live in New Jersey. Route 3. I mean, Route 3 in New Jersey. But you can go in many, many communities and find these projects. I think one of the really unfortunate things is that you know, there was money in the Stimulus that the Republicans, the moderate Republicans, for their vote, they insisted be taken out for school construction, which people would have seen it much more when they drove their kids to school, they saw that their Stimulus was building classrooms. But that was taken out by Susan Collins at the last minute. That was sponsored by Ben Chandler of Kentucky and taken out. So I agree with you, there’s not enough memorable stuff. But I wish that the critics would stop, and it is a lie to say the stimulus has done nothing. That’s simply a lie. And people have to quit saying that.

“Not enough memorable stuff” actually means nothing worth remembering. I ask this question frequently of Democrats. Perhaps by the time the voting begins they will have come up with a list that is better than Jonathan’s New Jersey Route 3.

In the fall of 2011, the Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last accurately evaluated the Stimulus as the first of many Obama punts:

Instead of crafting his own bill, which put government money into projects with both economic impact and practical benefit—like, say, defense procurement—he handed the job to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. The result was $787 billion for Democratic clients and “shovel-ready projects” that, Obama now says laughingly, were never really shovel-ready.

Nothing was “shovel ready.” Nothing lasting was built. No lasting jobs were created.

Nothing impacted the country’s downward economic spiral.

What might have happened is too sad to contemplate. A trillion dollars can buy a lot of things. It could have endowed a thousand city health centers with a billion each, allowing for the construction of clinics and staffing from banked funds so that destitute people could have health care, not the promise of health insurance they will find difficult to access even as its availability cripples the American medical care delivery system.

The refurbishment of the depleted American military warehouse could have been quickly accelerated, benefiting both job and defense agendas simultaneously. The F-22 could have been built to its full production run (more on this later). The fleet could have been expanded to its full complement instead of the 283 ships now providing the full measure of our naval strength. Defense is covered elsewhere, but the president might have used the Stimulus in ways to strengthen our military and the industries and contractors that provide materials, skills, and knowledge to the military.

Instead it went… well, no one really can say for sure. It vanished into the Great Maw of the special-interest left, and no lasting sign of it can be found except signs on freeways extolling the president’s leadership.

Ask your friends who are thinking about voting for the president again what they would think of a person who, having won the lottery for a trillion dollars, or even a thousand people winning a billion-dollar lottery, would have nothing lasting to show for it three years later.

Would they let that person handle their money?

Would they give them another chance to steward a budget that reached $4 trillion—every year?

Chapter 3

Doubling Down on Failure: “Stimulus 2.0”

I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems. It shouldn’t be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose. What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet. It’s been a commitment to stay at it—to be persistent—to keep trying every new idea that works, and listen to every good proposal, no matter which party comes up with it.

from President Obama’s Jobs Speech to Congress, September 9, 2011

This chapter is designed to remind the reader of the patently absurd and wholly transparent attempt by President Obama last fall and winter to set up the Congress as a scapegoat for the widespread unemployment misery brought about by his own policies.

With unemployment having stuck above 9 percent for month after month, and with little hope that even with the improvements of early 2012 it would drop below 8 percent before the voting began—in February 2012 the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted a return to 9 percent plus unemployment in 2013 —President Obama initiated a sustained attempt to persuade the American people (1) that he had a solution for the unemployment mess, (2) that Congress could pass it quickly, and (3) that only the Republicans in Congress would oppose it.

The president took this idea to a much-heralded Joint Session of the Congress and proceeded to demand that the members assembled “Pass this bill!” some seventeen times in the course of an hour’s appearance. He emphasized the “unpartisan” nature of his bill throughout his speech: “There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans.”

The president once again misjudged his own (rapidly diminishing) abilities to persuade, and the speech became an instant source of ridicule.

Among the reactions:

Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona said: “President Obama, perhaps not knowing what else to do, is simply calling for more of the same, as if giving us more of the failed policies of the last two and a half years will somehow yield different results. I believe President Obama’s new ‘stimulus’ will further delay economic recovery and continue to inflict harm on so many Americans.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “By all accounts, the president’s so-called jobs plan is to try those very same policies again and then accuse anyone who doesn’t support them this time around of being political and overly partisan, of not doing what’s needed in this moment of crisis. This isn’t a jobs plan. It is a reelection plan.”

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a conservative economist, agreed: “It’s a philosophy that is more of the same—more temporary policies of a stimulus nature on the tax and infrastructure side that are unlikely to be significant enough to move the dial. It’s more political than real.”

The president was undeterred despite the obvious incoherence of attempting to cure an unemployment problem that had grown after a 2009 spending spree of nearly twice the amount he proposed in September 2011. The president took to the campaign trail in a variety of places and using a new, supercharged bus—whose shell was designed in Canada —to carry his appeal for more spending and a bigger government from state to state.

The president also dispatched Joe Biden to the trail, but with mixed results.

In Flint, Michigan, the vice president did the Chamber of Commerce no favors by claiming that the number of murders and rapes in the city was skyrocketing even as he pledged that Stimulus 2.0 would provide the cops to keep the criminals at the city’s edge.

In Philly he denounced critics of the job plan’s emphasis on onetime, temporary spending—and fell off a rhetorical cliff—warning his audience about robbers and rapists following in the wake of a failed stimulus.

The low point of the Biden Unplugged Tour came in front of a classroom of Philly fourth graders on October 19, where he instructed the ten-year-olds on taxes and federal policy.

I discussed this trio of Biden greatest hits with Mark Steyn on my radio show on October 20, 2011:

HH: I’ve got to jump down to Joe Biden talking to fourth graders in Philadelphia yesterday, Mark Steyn, because I think you need to hear this and comment on it. Here’s the vice president yesterday in Philadelphia: Biden: What it’s like to be a president is it’s harder than being a vice president. You know why? Because I can give the president all the advice in the world, but guess what? He has to make the decision all by himself. And so these really difficult decisions he has to make, for example, one of the decisions we’re trying to make now, we think that because here in this school, your school, you’ve had a lot of teachers who used to work here, but because there’s no money for them in the city, they’re not working. And so what happens is, when that occurs, each of the teachers that stays have more kids to teach. And they don’t get to spend as much time with you as they did when your classes were smaller. We think the federal government in Washington, D.C., should say to the cities and states, look, we’re going to give you some money so that you can hire back all those people. And the way we’re going to it, we’re going to ask people who have a lot of money to pay just a little bit more in taxes. HH: Mark Steyn, he’s propagandizing fourth graders. MS: (laughing) I know, I know. What is this, the start of the Biden Youth Movement? HH: (laughing) MS: Look, this is an idiotic example. The people/teacher ratio in the United States is half of what it was a century ago. And this statistic, by the way, is from an excellent book that some guy called Mark Steyn wrote, called After America. So you can check it up in there. It’s all sourced up the wazoo. And since 1970, public school employment has increased ten times faster than public school enrollment. And I bet if you asked a lot of those fourth graders, they wouldn’t be averse to actually having fewer teachers, because there’s way more than there were when their parents were in school, and when their grandparents were in school. HH: But the idea of telling them we want D.C. to give more money to your city to hire teachers, it just teaches exactly the opposite of the federal system. It is despicable. MS: Oh, well, but there’s no federalism anymore. I don’t think we should even use the word. This isn’t a federal government. This is a national government. This elementary school, whatever it’s called, that Joe Biden was at, this is part of, one of fifteen thousand school districts in the United States of America. And I think that school district should be able to make its own decisions on what teachers it can hire, and can afford to hire. And as he said, the only correct part of that statement he said is that some teachers who used to be here aren’t here anymore, and that’s because there’s no money to pay them. Well, there’s no money to pay them in Washington, either. We’re broke at the local level, we’re broke at the county, we’re broke at the state level, and we’re broke at the federal level. And no matter how you shuffle the brokenness around, what’s consistent at all levels is the brokenness of the brokenness. HH: Well then, that means, given Joe Biden’s comment in Flint, Michigan, when he made a stop there, that we’re all going to be murdered. Here’s Joe Biden in Flint earlier this week:


Excerpted from The Brief Against Obama by Hugh Hewitt Copyright © 2012 by Hugh Hewitt. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author

Professor Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in more than 120 cities across the United States every weekday afternoon. Professor Hewitt is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, and has been teaching Constitutional Law at Chapman University Law School since it opened in 1995.

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