Obama's Farewell Address: One Last Campaign Speech
You can make technocracy as lyrical as you like (and we’ll probably never have as talented a bard as Obama) but making it work is something altogether different. Obama came to the presidency pledging to tackle economic inequality; the predictable effect of his government interventions has been to widen it between those who can afford his new regulations and those who can’t, those who have stable health insurance and those who are tossed into the high-deductible wilderness of Obamacare, those ingratiated with his political class in Washington and those who can’t afford a flat in Shaw let alone a lobbyist. The Obama years have been lucrative for the stock market as well as the wealthy and upper-middle class, but belying all that is an economy that’s grown at the fourth-most sluggish rate of any presidency and the record 95 million Americans who are out of the workforce.
None of this is to adopt the soapbox-stomping demagoguery of Elizabeth Warren. It’s simply to acknowledge a reality, one that exerted itself on November 8 when tens of millions left behind by Obama’s technocratic renaissance and decided to force-feed Washington a cupful of castor oil. Obama wanted to be Josiah Bartlet or perhaps Leslie Knope in the later seasons of Parks and Recreation, defending his government of chirpy and geeky idealists. He succeeded, but merely at the lyrical. The more substantive goal of leading the country out of the Bush-era doldrums eluded him, and it showed on Tuesday. From Obama’s perspective, it’s been more like two steps forward, three steps back.
Matt Purple is the Deputy Editor for Rare Politics. Before, he was the assistant managing editor of the American Spectator. His work has appeared in National Review, The National Interest, The Washington Times, The Daily Caller and Townhall.com. He lives in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter @MattPurple.
Image: President Barack Obama speaking in Phoenix, Arizona. Flickr/Creative Commons/Gage Skidmore