Wishful Thinking in the White House

Today President Obama was asked about his campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s years with Bain Capital and whether Cory Booker was right in suggesting that he should back off on that theme. Instead of backing off, Obama doubled down, telling the questioner that Romney’s Bain experience “is not a distraction, this is what this campaign is gonna be about.” No, Mister Obama: this campaign is going to be about your record as president.

Here is the video. Obama displays his trademark incoherence as he tries to explain why Bain Capital is central to the campaign. Asked a multi-part question that included his views on private capital, he starts to say that the distinctive feature of private capital is that the people who run such firms are focused on making a profit. Then you can see the wheels turning as he realizes that what he just said didn’t make any sense, since it didn’t distinguish private capital from any other business. So he backs up and starts over, explaining that as president, he has to think about more than just making a profit; rather he has to think about all Americans’ well-being. That is true enough, of course, as far as it goes. But right now the form of well-being that Americans are most concerned about is a better job market. Businesses grow when they are profitable, and they hire employees when they grow. Obama reveals himself as just another in a long line of liberals who claim they want more and better jobs, but can’t bring themselves to endorse the profits that alone make jobs possible.

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