President Obama's taxpayer-financed re-election campaign roared into Colorado last week after taxpayer-financed stops in North Carolina, Iowa and elsewhere. But give the man credit: Obama has achieved a near impossible contradiction by embodying and popularizing a new oxymoron. The abuse of Air Force One as a campaign platform is both stunning and blatant – and a transparent hypocrisy that only Obama could get away with.
The occasion for his Colorado campaign stop was another shot fired in his war on youth. That war has not received as much press attention as the Republicans' alleged "war on women," but that is not hard to understand. The first is real but ignored by the press, while the other is a rhetorical fabrication that serves the interests of the Obama campaign. No surprises here.
The "youth vote" is supposedly deep in Obama's pocket, and suggesting otherwise is too heretical to disturb the slumber of the herd of lambs that passes for a bulldog press these days.
But let's consider the crown jewel of the Obama campaign's "youth appeal" – his pandering to college students who have large and growing student-loan debts.
This past week Obama came west to speak on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder. What was the message offered by this paragon of social conscience? It was a straight-forward appeal to naked, monetary self-interest: "Help me persuade the Republicans in Congress to extend the low interest rates on your student loans." How does that stack up against John Kennedy's appeal to join the Peace Corps?
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And how will this change to lower interest rates be managed without increasing the federal deficit? Obama proposes to fund this gift to students by increasing taxes on the people who create the jobs in our economy – small business. Again the hypocrisy: students are asked to rally for lower interest rates on their student loans by ignoring or denying the very predictable impact on jobs – their parents' jobs, their neighbors' jobs and, yes, their own future jobs.
In contrast to his 2008 "Hope and Change" appeal, the Obama campaign is now reduced to appealing to youth's fears – well-founded fears of graduating with dismal prospects for a good-paying job. According to a recent survey, over half of recent college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. Will they blame George Bush or Obama's anti-economy?
What's that old saying among salesmen? "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." But college graduates with an average of $25,000 in debt – and their worried parents – want more than sizzle on their plate, especially if the "Obama sizzle" is the blame-Bush mantra that has lost its flavor. Obama hopes students and their parents will forget not only Obama's anti-jobs policies but also the fact that college tuition has risen 25 percent in the three years since his election.
The missing steak is starting to be noticed by young voters. Obama's pollsters are telling him about declining enthusiasm among the under-30 audiences compared to the feverish activism of 2008. Here's a hint to David Axelrod: Students would not be so worried about the loan rates if they had any confidence in the Obama anti-economy.
"Follow your dreams," Obama told the students assembled in Boulder last week. Well, it may be news to Obama and his team, but here in Colorado, few students have dreams of becoming community organizers funded by federal government grants.
College students have dreams of good jobs in the real world, but unfortunately for Obama's campaign, those dreams are threatened by Obama's anti-economy. Young voters are discovering that it is literally true that Obama does not care about job creation – unless it is a government-funded job. It doesn't take a Ph.D. in economics to follow the dots between Obama's planned tax increases and declining job creation in the world of America's job creators, small business.
In any other era, a political appeal to naked self-interest on a college campus would be deemed crass and embarrassing, but to Obama, college youth are just one more voting bloc to be bribed with government goodies. But young people understand that after adding $5 trillion in new federal debt, Obama's anti-economy is just not working.
What if you're under 30 and NOT going to college? Good luck getting a good blue-collar job in Obama's world, where unemployment in the construction trades is above 20 percent. But, hey, Obama's EPA is hiring more lawyers, and we all know how "jobs-friendly" they are!
When a young voter in Michigan or Ohio or Florida fills up the gas tank in his Mini Cooper, is he thanking Obama for deliberately driving up gas prices to $5 a gallon? Or is he asking himself, "Do I really need a president who hopes for European gas prices of $8?"
Obama's war on youth is the war of low expectations: Instead of nation of young entrepreneurs, Obama wants a nation of young bureaucrats – government clerks, poultry inspectors and IRS agents. Yes, Uncle Obama can help you get a government grant if that is following your dream. But young Americans' dreams are bigger than that.
"Hope and Change"? Today's young voters are starting to look at Obama's anti-jobs economy and realize they need to pray for change.
In 2008, Obama's promises seemed fresh and appealing to young voters. But in 2012, they will look instead at the cold reality of Obama's abysmal performance.