There is squabbling in the White House. President Barack Obama's approval rating has dipped to unprecedented lows in the polls, and he has not a clue as to what to do about it. Within the president's team there are the pragmatists led by David Plouffe (pronounced plu' fey) and William M. Daley who favor small gestures. I mean really small gestures. They would opt for free trade agreements, possibly with Gabon, perhaps the Maldives. They also support improved patent protections for investors, assuming they can find investors, and something about Michele Obama's garden. At least I thought it was about her garden. At any rate, it was small. Maybe they were advocating growing cherry tomatoes.
On the other hand, there is the president's Chief Economic Advisor, Gene Sperling, a small-stature man who advocates big initiatives. Citing public anger with Republicans over the debt-ceiling debates, he is for big, bold, new initiatives, says The New York Times. He is not all that convincing about the public's anger with Republicans, but he is pushing for large initiatives, like tax incentives for businesses that hire the unemployed. I am not clear why they would hire the unemployed if they have little work for them. Do they do it for tax incentives? Sometimes, I get the idea Obama, a former community activist, got the chief economic advisors he deserved.
The best example of the big ideas that these clowns are thinking about is that the administration will create a new department in the federal government called something like the Department of Jobs or the Department of Competitiveness. I kid thee not. It would include the Department of Commerce, the Office of the United States Trade Representative along with certain economic divisions of the State Department. Why not throw in the Department of Education and perhaps the Marine Band?
Obviously, this administration is making heavy weather of it, and things will be getting worse. I do not like to belabor a point that I have been making for a year now, but Obama is the least experienced man ever to be president. He is also about the most ideological man ever to approach the presidency. The combination of inexperience and pigheaded ideology does not make for a very good president.
In the meantime, Gov. Rick Perry declared his candidacy for the White House. Declaring it is "time to get America working again" he cited the figures of unemployment and low growth — growth is lower than 2 percent. At this time in the recovery cycle of President Ronald Reagan, it was 7.1 percent. Perry is the longest serving Texas governor, and it is a plus that he governs Texas. According to the Dallas Federal Reserve, Texas has created 37 percent of all the new jobs made since the recession ended. A little over a year ago, Texas was compared to California, favorably. Texas is the big state that works. California is the big state that is dysfunctional.
With unemployment being the main issue in next year's election Perry has a very good message. He can link his state's record of low taxes, controlled spending and tort reform to challenge whatever ideas come out of the White House, whether its squabbles over big or small initiatives, or Michele's garden. Whatever ideas the White House trumpets will still be burdened with high unemployment and low growth — possibly no growth — in 2012. Moreover, Perry appeals to both the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives. His background in the air force will not hurt him on the national defense issue — a very big concern now in light of our president's foreign policy disasters.
Meanwhile, another strong subject for Perry is energy. He comes from the state that has energy on its mind. He has spoken about natural gas and seems to understand, as no one running for the presidency does, that we have discovered enough natural gas in the country to change the rules of the game. If our natural gas can be used effectively, it can make us independent of foreign oil. Allowing us to set the price of oil, not the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC. It is both a domestic energy issue and a national security issue. What the governor has to say about these problems will be of great importance in the months ahead, not the least of which is how to develop natural gas. Only Perry is equipped to talk about natural gas as a source of energy and a national security matter. While the White House squabbles, I shall be listening to Perry on the issues.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is the founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His new book is "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery." To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.