President Barack Obama’s year of political failure has really been a “year of action… a breakthrough year for America,” Obama told a room full of non-confrontational reporters.
“Take any metric you want, America’s resurgence is real, we are better off,” he insisted Friday, shortly before departing for Christmas vacation in Hawaii.
But Obama was exquisitely careful about the metrics he choose to highlight.
2014 was “the strongest year of job growth since the 1990s,” he said, without mentioning that fewer native-borne Americans hold jobs in November 2014 than held jobs in November 2007.
“Wages are on the rise again,” he said, without mentioning that median weekly wages rose from $771 in the third quarter of 2013, up to $790 in the third-quarter of 2014. That’s a 2.3 percent increase, amid inflation of roughly 3 percent. Part-time workers’ weekly wages rose from a media of $241 in late 2013, to $245 in late 2014. That’s $3 a week in wage increases.
“America is in the lead again” internationally, he said, citing his effort in Iraq and Ukraine to block advancing jihadi and Russian armies. But Obama declined to mention that those armies began their advances on his watch, and after he withdrew from Iraq and offered concessions to Russia.
The U.S. is “turning a new page on our relationship with the Cuban people,” he said, without acknowledging that he recognized Cuba’s fcommunist dictatorship on Dec. 17 without getting any reciprocal commitments on free speech, property rights or democracy.
He claimed an environmental deal would aid the management of the world’s climate, but that deal required China to do nothing until 2030.
Obama’s bombast was echoed by his staff. “This certainly has been our most productive year since the Republicans took over…an excellent year,” one aide told Politico.
Obama’s fine-tuned boasting was delivered to a year-end press corps that was content to get a few televised minutes with the president, and was in no mood to remind him about the serial disasters for Obama, progressives and the Democratic Party in 2014.
It was the year when the GOP won a Senate majority, boosted its 2010 House majority to near-record levels, and also claimed control of two-thirds of state legislatures.
His ratings plunged down to the low-40s, leaving him with support only from his Democratic base. Even that base cracked on immigration, where several polls showed strong support around 15 percent, and strong opposition up to 50 percent.
That was a huge reversal from early 2013, when he had as much support as opposition.
It was also the year in which the president saw the defeat of his top legislative priority — passage of the Senate’s June 2013 amnesty and guest-worker bill.
The bill was defeated by public opposition, and especially by the primary votes in Virginia’s Seventh district, who rejected GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
That rejection occured despite near-complete support among Democrats, lobbyists, foundations, senior Republicans, business groups and universities. With help from the established media, these groups manufactured apparent public support for amnesty, but were defeated by American voters in a political fight that should be treated as classic battle in civics textbooks
After that defeat, Obama unilaterally announced he would grant work-permits to five million illegals, and would curtail immigration enforcement against illegal immigrants. That unpopular amnesty is tacitly backed by the GOP leadership.
Obama may view his unilateral amnesty as a victory, but it is overwhelmingly opposed by the GOP’s base and by most swing-voters, and may yet be killed by the Supreme Court or by a Republican president in 2017.