A President to Rival Rodney Dangerfield

Article excerpt

Byline: Wesley Pruden, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Barack Obama, who only yesterday was the student prince everybody was swooning over, is fast becoming Rodney Dangerfield: He don't get no respect.

Suddenly, he's all thumbs, and every time he swings the presidential hammer he takes out another fingernail. The Muslims to whom he pays court like a cow-eyed teenager in pursuit of the homecoming queen have gone spectacularly sour on him. Fair or not, the Gulf oil spill is widely regarded as a government screw-up, and some Democrats are talking darkly of screwing up the screw-up. Bill Clinton wants the Navy to go down there and blow up that well. Some of the president's economists are talking about another recession when we still haven't used up the one we've got, and it's hard to see how he could persuade even Michelle that a new recession would be George W.'s fault.

Not so long ago, the United States dominated the Group of 20 sessions, where the leaders of the big, prosperous nations of the world meet to chat and chew, accompanied by fracas, tumult and the noise of riot, uproar and other street entertainments. But who listens to Barack Obama?

Some of the wealthy countries of the world, having scared themselves sane, seem determined now to cut back on the insensate spending necessary to prop up welfare states. They're determined (or say they are) to reduce, or at least chip away, at the mountains of debt piled up in the go-go years, lest they disappear in an era of bye-bye years.

But not the United States. Not Mr. Obama.

The president and his Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, want a measured approach to reduce debt, which is Obamaspeak for throw some more money at somebody. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving still has a lot of press capacity and can print money 24/7 if necessary. The feds can always buy more presses.

The frightened countries, led by Canada, endorsed a goal of cutting their deficits in half over the next three years. Germany and Britain joined this chorus. The United States was joined by India to call the goal, such as it may be, merely an expectation. Why listen to economists when you can groove on the music of a smooth-talking butter and egg man? Why stand with the first world when the living is easier in the third? …