Matt Welch's column enumerating the shameless contradictions in Obama's speech last night is truly devastating. Welch may have the best bullshit detector in the business. That's why his book on that inveterate bullshitter McCain was so good. And that's why his clear-eyed take on Obama, sadly, seems so fresh. Here's a bit, but do read the whole thing:
Obama aims to be the president of all Americans, a position that appears to be sincere. But I wonder whether in the process he might also want to consider appointing himself chief executive of his own head. All night long, with equally sonorous vigor, he served up confident assertions, only to state moments later, with equal conviction, their near opposite.
“We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before,” Obama crowd-pleased near the beginning, in the slot normally reserved for lines like “the state of our union is strong.” Not long after, though, Americans learned that our very “survival depends on finding new sources of energy.” Also, “there will be no real recovery unless we clean up the credit crisis…our recovery will be choked off before it even begins,” and if we don't do whatever Obama wants us to do about the banking system, “it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade.” Better! Stronger! Crippled for a decade!
After detailing some clean-energy advancements in China, Germany, Japan, and Korea, the president averred, “Well, I do not accept”—there's that self-referencing again—”a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders.” A few paragraphs later, however, zero-sum gave way to kumbaya: “The world depends on us to have a strong economy, just as our economy depends on the strength of the world's.” Just don't you get strong by producing clean energy, Koreans!
It was like this all night. The president's stimulus package “will save or create 3.5 million jobs.” One of those, anyway! His adminstration has “created a new website called recovery.gov so that every American can find out how and where their money is being spent,” unless they try to use it to find out how and where their money is being spent.
The source of Obama's incoherence is easy enough to identify. It's that his stated ends and the Democratic Party-pleasing means he has announced to achieve them are flatly incompatible. He's fighting against himself.