Last year I described a general strategy for defeating the president in the next election (see "How to Defeat Obama in 2012"). Key to this was forcing the president to run on his record which can hardly be considered stellar. As the campaign unfolds, Republican contenders have somehow forgotten this and are content to snipe at each other instead. In the meantime, the president revels in the GOP squabbling as he remains out of the limelight and has even gone so far as to tout his record as president.
I do not believe the president has anything to brag about though and his record has to be brought back into perspective. To do so, I researched the data from several key areas and compared the president's record thus far to his predecessor, George W. Bush, who Obama openly vilified during his campaign as the cause of the country's woes. Keep in mind, the data contained herein contains Mr. Bush's full eight year term of office, while Mr. Obama's reflects no more than two or three years of service.
Bush (8 years): 3.8% low to 7.3% high
Obama (3 years): 7.8% low to 10.1% high (currently annual average is 8.9%)
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
"Back in early January, when Barack Obama was still President-elect, two of his chief economic advisers (Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein) — leading proponents of a stimulus bill — predicted that the passage of a large economic-aid package would boost the economy and keep the unemployment rate below 8%. It hasn't quite worked out that way."
- Stephen Gandel, TIME Magazine, July 14, 2009
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Bush (8 years): $9.9T to $14.3T
Obama (3 years): $13.9T to $14.5T (as of 2010)
Source: Measuring Worth
"Like it or not, we have to have a financial system that is healthy and functioning."
- President Barack Obama, February 3, 2010
Government Revenues (including taxes)
Bush (8 years): $3.6T to $4.7T
Obama (3 years): $3.6T to $4.8T ($5.25T projected for 2012)
"We've got to make sure that people who have more money help the people who have less money."
- candidate Barack Obama, November 2007
Bush (8 years): $3.24T to $5.34T
Obama (3 years): $5.94T to $6.05T ($6.22T projected for 2012)
"Now, what that would require would be some shared sacrifice and a balanced approach that says we're going to make significant cuts in domestic spending. And I have already said I am willing to take down domestic spending to the lowest percentage of our overall economy since Dwight Eisenhower."
- President Barack Obama, July 15th, 2011
Bush (8 years): $-236.2B to $458.5B
Obama (3 years): $-1.4T to $1.2T ($1.1T projected for 2012)
"When we continue to spend as if deficits don’t matter, that means our kids and our grandkids may windup saddled with debt that they’ll never be able to repay."
- President Barack Obama, July 22nd, 2010
Bush (8 years): rose from $5.6T to $9.9T
Obama (3 years): rose from $11.8T to $15.1T ($16.65T projected for 2012)
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies... Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit."
- Senator Barack Obama, March 20th, 2006
Federal Government size (employees)
Bush (8 years): 4.1M to 4.2M
Obama (3 years): 4.4M (data available through 2010 only)
Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management
"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Small Business Committee on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 that the Obama administration believes taxes on small business must increase so the administration does not have to "shrink the overall size of government programs."
- The Family Foundation, June 2011
When you factor in the enormous potential economic impact of Obamacare, assuming it survives the Supreme Court, the failed stimulus packages and bailouts, the additional bureaucracy of his czars and other questionable appointments, etc., you have to wonder what the president has to crow about.
Not surprising, the media seems to be more than willing to divert the public's attention from the president's record to the foibles of the GOP candidates. I realize Americans have short attention spans, but surely they cannot believe things are any better today than three short years ago when he took the reins.
"YES WE CAN!" - Obama's 2008 campaign slogan. Did they? The American voters will decide on November 6th.
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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.