Friday, September 30, 2011
Echoing former President Jimmy Carter’s infamous “malaise” speech 32 years ago, President Obama on Thursday claimed that America has “gotten a little soft.”
Both Carter and Obama are known “deep thinkers”and also like Carter, Obama finds himself faced with declining job approval numbers, rising energy costs, and numbers that show people no longer believe the future of America is going to be as good as it is right now.
In a desperate effort to redeem his presidency, Jimmy Carter delivered what became known as his “malaise” speech. In it, Carter admonished the American people for their “self-indulgence and consumption.” The boomerang effect was instant as historian Douglas Brinkley noted op-ed pieces began to appear with calls of:
“Why don’t you fix something? There’s nothing wrong with the American people. We’re a great people. Maybe the problem’s in the White House, maybe we need new leadership to guide us.”
President Obama, speaking to the NBC affiliate in Orlando similarly admonished the American people, saying:
“I mean, there are a lot of things we can do. The way I think about it is, you know, this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and, you know, we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades. We need to get back on track.”
With unemployment in the U.S. now at 9.1% and real unemployment at 22%, I have to wonder if there are “a lot of things we can do,” as Obama said, then why hasn’t he done them? Unemployment has risen since he was sworn in on January 20, 2009.
Like the op-eds suggested following Jimmy Carter’s malaise speech 32 years ago, I am forced to conclude the problem in 2011 isn’t the American people but the occupant in the White House. We need new leadership to guide us. Desperately.