Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me,
I'm narcissistic you see,
Happy birthday to me.
It's the perfect romance: a man who loves to be loved and, well, his biggest fan - himself. It's hard to tell if we should mark August 4 as Barack Obama's 50th birthday or his 50th anniversary with himself.
In ordinary times, a concept now long-forgotten in Washington, we'd commemorate the president's birthday with cake and candles. This anniversary is appropriately marked by the red ink of debt - trillions more than ever before.
"One nation under debt" should be our new motto as Congress approved another couple trillion in spending and a budgetary gimmick that doesn't actually cut much of anything.
But all that's OK. It's the president's birthday, so America should party. That's certainly the president's position. In a nation swamped by trillions in bills we can't pay, the Debtor-in-Chief is holding a Chicago fundraising party for "roughly 1,000 guests paying between $50 and $35,800," according to ABC's Jake Tapper. What's a bigwig's party without top talent? The Washington Times reports the event will include "a concert featuring Herbie Hancock and Jennifer Hudson." Even with A-list talent, Obama will be on center stage, his congressional failings hundreds of miles away.
That's more than appropriate given Obama's self-obsessed nature. No matter what the news of the day has been, Obama's favorite topic has been himself. In his first 41 speeches back in 2009, Obama talked about himself nearly 1,200 times - 1,198 to be exact. Scarily enough, the condition seems to have gotten more acute.
In 40 speeches and remarks on the national debt, Obama has talked about himself 39 times more than he has the debt - more than 3,200 times about Obama to a mere 160 about the national debt.
Let me put that another way, keeping in the spirit of the president's birthday. Picture two big cakes. The first has 160 candles on it. It's burning pretty bright - a bit more than three times the number of candles the graying Obama should have. Then imagine the other cake in the shape of an "I." That cake has more than 3,200 flaming candles on it - alarming party-goers and smoke detectors alike. That's not a cake, it's a weapon of mass destruction.
But that's our president as he turns 50, or Hawaii 5-O, if documents are to be believed. He's a man who manages to insert himself into every issue and bypasses the issue entirely. He can't see the forest or the trees. He's too busy looking in a mirror. And the media are ignoring it as always.
It's nothing new. For example, back in May 2010, he talked about the economy in Buffalo, N.Y. That appearance had Obama talking about Obama nearly 100 times and the national debt just once. In 40 appearances discussing debt, he only used the actual word "debt" 10 or more times recently, after the GOP forced the issue. Those three talks make up a third of all the mentions he's made of it as president. The transcripts, pulled from the White House web site's 'economy' section, run from when he first took office through July 25, as the debt ceiling "crisis" was finally subsiding.
When Barack Hussein Obama was born, the United States budget was a bit more than $94 billion and ran only a $3 billion deficit that year. Ah the good ol' days. The most recent Obama budget proposal was about 39 times higher - an inflationary growth equal only to the president's burgeoning ego.
The Financial Times reports that a third of the people in a recent Pew research poll "have come away from the ordeal with a diminished view of Mr Obama." Certainly, no one in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. has acknowledged that reality.
It's time they should. The economy is in trouble - national debt is still piling higher, residential real estate is continuing to fall, and unemployment stands at an unacceptable 9.2 percent. Our economic growth is just as paralyzed as our politics. Washington gridlock barely delivered any so-called "fix" in time. Wall Street fixes boosted the markets, but not the lives of everyday Americans.
That all might as well have happened in 1961, when Obama was born. It's ancient history. We must look ahead. Like him or not, President Obama has about a year-and-a-half left in office and we all need him to do a good job - at least on the economy. But conservatives are up against an awful alliance of liberals, media and some in their own party who care more about getting re-elected. That alliance desperately wants to grow government as a universal solution to all problems.
The right has to fight that growth, but still try to find common ground with Obama to help get government out of the way so the economy can grow once again.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.