Everyone is looking forward to President Obama’s speech about the Gulf of Mexico. After all, he promised that he was taking in information from experts throughout the land in order to determine, in his words, “whose ass to kick.”
However it comes across from the presidential lectern on Tuesday night or from the media analysis afterwards, the Gulf of Mexico spin will direct our attention away from a matter that has more of an impact on how the nation is riding along under this administration.
The latest retail numbers came back from May, indicating that they are down over 1%. With the continued unemployment rate hovering around 10% (even after the addition of some 400,000 temporary consensus position with the federal government) and the failure of the private sector to pick up with job creation, the nation’s dizzying focus on President Obama’s butt-kicking ventures with BP pale in comparison with the butt-kicking endeavors his administration should be undertaking to get this economy going. After a massive stimulus package, bank bailouts (started under President Bush), and government interference that included the presidential firing of a corporate CEO, not much is changing for Americans that are growing weary and finding their economic options dwindling without a boom in the economy or a change in Washington this fall.
Through both unplanned (e.g., the BP oil spill) and planned (e.g., the sudden prioritization of health care reform in 2009-2010 to the top of legislative importance) issues, the Obama Administration has continued to remain distracted, failing to keep focus on the top issue that put him into the White House after the 2008 election. Many forget that Senator John McCain was leading the national polls in early September – even with swing states such as Virginia leading towards Mr. Obama – until the economic crisis of 2008 hit America. Health care reform, the wars overseas, and even a shaky set of Sarah Palin interviews could not catapult the Obama Candidacy to comfortable leads in the polls. Each became a cementing factor only after the economic crisis broke public perception and mood Mr. Obama’s way.
Now, President Obama wades through oil slicks in the Gulf and the muck of a stagnant economy that does not show signs of recovery for “Main Street” – the group of Americans he vowed to put before the “Wall Street fat-cats” that, by the way, have received billions and recovered since the initial crisis some 2 years ago. With the choice of reporting on the blotched efforts of an oil corporation whose dereliction of duty is well-documented versus answering to the failures of his administration to improve the lives of everyday Americans economically, the president has chosen the former. It is more believable – and thus easier for the White House – to support President Obama as he details the storyline of the BP spill and the administration’s efforts henceforth than it is to allow President Obama, Robert Gibbs, and others within the administration to continue propagating the myth of a “jobless recovery” with the latest unemployment numbers and retail figures out from May noting otherwise for America’s economy.
The spin from the BP and administration actions around the oil spill in the Gulf may make the nation dizzy, but the more important spin is the one that has been given for some time now: namely, the talk of this continued “economic recovery” in the midst of economic disappointing numbers. That spin should make America sick. What we are finding out is that the more that we follow this supposed butt-kicking ride with the president, the more that everyday Americans are feeling light-headed, queasy, and uncertain of continuing on this downhill ride much longer.
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator, podcast co-host, and the author of the book, “Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative,)” purchased online at www.tinyurl.com/lennysdiary and www.amazon.com. Catch Lenny on “Conservative Crosstalk Commentary featuring Lenny McAllister” every Friday at 12:15 PM CST on CNN Radio 650 Houston starting June 25. Follow him at www.twitter.com/lennyhhr and on Facebook at www.tinyurl.com/lennyfacebook .