Merriam-Webster defines “gaffe” as “a social or diplomatic blunder; a noticeable mistake.”
But was it?
Certainly President Obama’s absurd claim last Friday that “the private sector is doing fine” was such a laugh-line that he took the opportunity just hours later to completely contradict himself.
Unemployment is at chronically historical levels; companies are paralyzed with fear, so
hiring is at a minimum – explaining the dismal 69,000 jobs created nationwide last month; and even those people who are working are toiling their fingers to the bone – performing the work of two or three people, as companies stay as lean as possible to gird themselves for what may come.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans in a recent poll said the country is on the wrong track. Folks think, by a margin of 47-33 percent, that things are getting worse. Majorities say the Obama administration has failed on the economy.
Standard & Poor’s on Friday reaffirmed the country’s AA+ rating – downgraded since Obama took office – and said the continued outlook is negative.
What planet is Mr. Obama living on? How can he be so out of touch as to say such a thing as the private sector is “doing fine” – even for a moment? What a mistake!
Or maybe not a mistake at all.
Maybe what he said is simply revealing – about the way he looks at the world.
“Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government,” Obama said, indicating the federal government needed to do more – i.e., borrow more – to give to states.
How ludicrous and even dangerous – that he would tell Americans it’s day when it’s night, and promote the kind of increased government spending that is collapsing Western Europe as he speaks.
And again, his assertion that the public sector is hurting more than the private sector is the precise opposite of the truth. Andrew Biggs, of the American Enterprise Institute, notes that the public-sector unemployment rate – at 4.2 percent, about half the overall unemployment rate and 10 percentage points below that of construction workers – “is the lowest of any industry or class of worker, even including the growing energy industry.”
“If the recession has barely touched one sector of the economy, it is government,” the Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk wrote last fall – when Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to make the same claim that Obama made on Friday.
Reid’s eerily similar remark alone tells you Mr. Obama’s bizarre statement is not a gaffe, but a way of thinking shared by those around him. And that way of thinking is completely divorced from reality.
“As Reid’s comment demonstrates,” writes Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post, “that is precisely how Obama and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill see it. They’ve been saying for months that the private sector is doing fine and that the solution to our unemployment problems is to spend even more taxpayer money to hire more government workers.
“Obama and Reid have it precisely backward: It’s the public sector that’s doing fine.”
“He does not understand where wealth and jobs come from,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said of the president Sunday. “It comes from a successful private sector or not at all. Government does not create wealth or income. It just shuffles it around and charges a price, a cost for that service or disservice.”
You can take back something you said. Folks can even call it a “gaffe.”
But you can’t take back your basic beliefs. They walk out the door with you.