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July 24th, 2013 5:45 pm
If You’ve Lost Dana Milbank …
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The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank is usually a reliable source of center-left hackery, so it bears noting when even he can’t react to a new Obama Administration PR push with anything other than a 650-word eye roll. From his column in today’s Post, reacting to the president’s new agenda of economic speeches (the first of which was given earlier today in Illinois):

… [E]ven a reincarnated Steve Jobs would have trouble marketing this turkey: How can the president make news, and remake the agenda, by delivering the same message he gave in 2005? He’s even giving the speech from the same place, Galesburg, Ill.

White House officials say this will show Obama’s consistency. “We plead guilty to the charge that there is a thematic continuity that exists between the speech the president will give in Galesburg, at Knox College on Wednesday, and his speech in Osawatomie [Kansas, in 2011] and his speech back at Knox College in 2005,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

Yes, but this also risks sending the signal that, just six months into his second term, Obama is fresh out of ideas. There’s little hope of getting Congress to act on major initiatives and little appetite in the White House to fight for bold new legislation that is likely to fail. And so the president, it seems, is going into reruns.

I’m actually inclined to go a little easier on the president in terms of analysis while being more damning in the conclusion I draw.

‘Thematic consistency’ makes sense if you’ve got a persistent ideology. This president clearly does on economic issues: intemperate Keynesianism seasoned in rhetorical class resentment.

He’s had half a decade to put that theory into practice — in circumstances sufficiently dire that you can’t rationalize away failure — and it just … doesn’t … work. New ideas would require him to reevaluate first principles, unraveling his entire political philosophy. Is he out of ideas? No, just an ideologue who can’t come to grips with the fact that his worldview has failed the acid test of reality.

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