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Obama's message of divide and blame

By Bobby Jindal, Special to CNN
updated 1:10 PM EDT, Mon June 18, 2012
President Barack Obama speaks on the economy during a campaign event in Cleveland on June 14.
President Barack Obama speaks on the economy during a campaign event in Cleveland on June 14.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bobby Jindal: President Obama failed to deliver what he promised on the economy
  • He says the president is signalling that his campaign will be one of "divide and blame"
  • Obama makes excuses for failing on economy, promotes class warfare, Jindal says
  • Jindal: Choice is between trying to rebuild economy through government or the private sector

Editor's note: Bobby Jindal, a Republican, is governor of Louisiana.

(CNN) -- In 2008, President Obama campaigned on a message of "Hope and Change." Thursday, speaking in Ohio, the president announced his re-election campaign message of "Divide and Blame."

The president had to give another economic speech, nearly an hour long, because he has not given us economic results. America does not need excuses; we need leadership.

The president's speech was a speech of excuses, basically blaming President Bush and tax cuts for all that ails the American economy. The president announced his intention to run against George Bush, but he is a little late -- he missed that election by eight years. By the way, even that is not a campaign he can win; I recommend that he should try to run against Nixon instead.

President Obama cannot ask Americans if they are better off than they were four years ago, and so is trying to blame others for his record. Over half a million fewer Americans have jobs today than when he took office.

Gov. Bobby Jindal
Gov. Bobby Jindal

After his advisers projected that his $800 billion stimulus bill would keep unemployment below 8%, it has remained above that benchmark for a record 40 months and counting. Median family net worth has hit a two-decade low, median household income has declined, more than 30% of borrowers are underwater on their mortgage, 23 million Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, and half of college graduates this year come out of school unemployed or underemployed.

Being president is a hard job. One of the hardest parts is that you can't just make excuses. Harry Truman understood this. It's just not allowed from the president of the United States. Excuses make the president look small and weak. It is frankly a little embarrassing.

Read Donna Brazile's view: Romney would let middle class pay tab for the rich

The president himself promised, after being elected, that if he didn't get the economy fixed in three years, then his presidency was "going to be a one-term proposition." President Clinton, speaking in 2010 at the same spot where the president spoke Thursday, said "Give us two more years. If it doesn't work, vote us out." Good advice. That was then. Now, the president is basically saying that he is a victim of circumstances, and we are all victims.

Thursday's speech was also a speech of class warfare. The other campaign President Obama announced is a class warfare campaign of division. He plans to divide America along class lines, gender lines, party lines, age lines and any other lines he can find. He will run a campaign of rich against poor, men against women, Democrats against Republicans, young against old and liberals against conservatives.

But America is fundamentally a young country at heart, and we know our best days are always ahead. We are an aspirational people who want our children to inherit more opportunity than we inherited from our parents. We know that our circumstances of birth, race, gender and zip code do not determine our outcomes as adults. We know we are promised equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes.

We are not an envious people who vilify success. We believe in an America where any child can succeed and pursue the American dream through hard work and a great education. We are not looking for a president who wants to make us more like Europe, manage the slow decline of a great nation, and redistribute the wealth.

The president is completely correct when he says this election is a crucial choice between two paths. We must choose between the government path and the private sector Path. We must choose between the European path and the American path.

The president promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, and instead has amassed trillion dollar deficits every year he has been in office. At 24% of GDP, federal government spending now exceeds post-World War II norms, as the federal government grows in size and involvement in our daily lives. President Obama has gotten the federal government involved in bailouts, crony capitalism and running car companies, banks and health care; one can only imagine what would happen in a second term.

Yet, amazingly, President Obama on Thursday doubled down on his failed policy of borrowing money from China to grow government spending, instead of growing the private sector.

His entire philosophy can be encapsulated in one little line toward the end of his speech. He suggested we should put money into infrastructure and "do some nation building here at home." While this may be a cute turn of phrase, and certainly polls well, it is all you need to know about the outlook of this president. He believes that this nation was built by the government, and that more government spending is the key to our future. This is a speech that should have been delivered in France.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bobby Jindal.

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