The New Economic Patriotism?

“And as for the television’s, so-called, plan….why don’t you gimme a call when you wanna start taking things a little more seriously.” – The Joker, Batman (2008)

I just read President Obama’s job plans booklet, called “The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs & Middle-Class Security.

I suggest you should too. Even if you know who you’re voting for, nothing bad comes from reading the actual proposals of the candidates. Read Mitt Romney’s, Gary Johnson’s, that Green Party lady’s. Maybe even Virgil Goode’s — wait, nevermind — don’t read his. He’s not a serious candidate.

As a former Hill staffer for about half of a decade, I’m used to reading proposals. Over the years, I read President Obama’s budget, despite the fact that it never attracted more than a few votes over these past four years.

Mitt Romney has been talking about his plans for what seems like eight years now, and yes, within a standard deviation or two, these plans have changed.

But, until recently, most of us didn’t know what President Obama’s plan for a second term was. He had a little trouble finding it himself (it fell off of the podium). Alas, here it is. 11 pages in all its glory. Compare that to Mitt’s earlier 87 page plan, which is now distilled into 5-point plans.

In fairness, we’re at that point in the campaign where we’re speaking almost exclusively in distilled soundbytes rather than detailed policy.

However, this is the first real big “plan” President Obama — to summon my inner Joe Biden — is literally waving around.

Many of these proposals come from previous budgets and his dead-on-arrival “jobs” bill. Of those 11 pages, most of the page is taken up by catchy photos, four charts in all, and lots of dead space.

There aren’t many words.

Even fewer are plans for possible second term.

In small font over those 11 pages, roughly 4200 words are printed. Of those, 1076 or so — roughly 25.6% — are actual plans for a second term.

A few of the plans of them are double counted (just like Obamacare accounting!), and some of them are basically regurgitating talking points about why keeping the current policies in place is, according to Obama, the best plan.

There are 28 references to the middle class, which seems kind of low. There are some surprises, like that President Obama supports “clean coal.” Tell that to southeast Ohioans! I guess President Obama isn’t lying, since coal becomes much cleaner if your goal is to use less and less of it. Which seems to be an obvious goal if you look at UtilityMACT and the CSAPR regulations.

Also surprising was his doubling down on “positioning America to be the world’s leading manufacturer in high-tech batteries” since many millions of stimulus dollars have funded battery makers that have very little work to do, other than play cards. And those batteries? Not very green.

What’s surprising to me is that previous incumbents have re-tooled their plans to recognize when their current policies aren’t cutting it. Like Bill Clinton did.

Republicans have an uphill climb in re-taking the Senate (thanks, Todd Akin!), but they’re not very likely to lose the House. The White House is a different story.

Since House and Senate Republicans have not been keen to jump behind President Obama’s proposals, and he hasn’t re-tooled his proposals in such a way that stand a reasonable chance of success, what does this tell us about an Obama second term — where he won’t control both chambers of Congress?

Answer: That he’s out of new ideas, and unwilling to compromise.

I guess that’s “the new economic patriotism.” In ten days, we will see if that is enough.

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