By Rich Lowry
The Hendricks County Flyer
Tue Oct 30, 2012, 04:41 PM EDT
If the pamphlet works, it deserves to join the ranks of such classic picture books as Go, Dog. Go! and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In an amusing touch, it has a table of contents - as if readers would have trouble navigating the extensive volume. It's a wonder the campaign didn't include a guide to the dramatis personae - Barack Obama, Barack Obama, and Barack Obama - like it were a critical edition of Anna Karenina.
The pamphlet's manufacturing section touts the creation of a new network of 15 to 20 manufacturing innovation institutes and a new trade-enforcement unit. Heady stuff. The big idea is a reform of the corporate tax code. Obama calls for reducing rates and making up revenue by closing tax preferences and loopholes - in other words, exactly what Romney is proposing.
The energy pages take credit for the country's oil and gas boom, to which the president has been a bystander. Its celebration of subsidies for green energy takes no account of the disappointments of his first four years of lavishly funding alternative energy.
The upshot of the health-care portion is that if you liked "Obamacare" in the first term, you'll love it in the second. The pamphlet doesn't mention the roughly $2 trillion in new spending, nor the Congressional Budget Office estimate that 20 million people could lose their employer-provided health insurance. (Those points must have been crowded out by the inspiring photo of Obama discussing weighty matters with doctors in white coats.)
On the deficit, the pamphlet touts the same old $4 trillion plan, which is a little more than a hoary talking point. On entitlements, the president's plan evidently is to do nothing on Medicaid, do nothing on Social Security, and do nothing on Medicare, except pretend that his $716 billion in cuts to fund "Obamacare" were a boon to the program.
The pamphlet is quite the comedown for the president. Gone are the days when he was overpromising. Now, he's trying to cover for his lack of anything new to promise.
The Berlin speech in 2008 and the second-term pamphlet are the antipodes of the Obama phenomenon. He has gone from airy and grandiose to airy and picayune in the span of four short years.
(c) 2012 by King Features Syndicate
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