In 2008, while Republican crowds were chanting “USA, USA, USA,” during Sarah Palin’s speeches, Democrats were chanting “hope and change” as Barack Obama talked about “fundamentally transforming America.” And to their shame, many of the people chanting “hope and change” actually believed Obama could deliver. Of course, by the end of 2009 the only significant change, economically speaking, was that Obama had already eclipsed George W. Bush’s $700 billion federal deficit. (The difference there was that it took Bush 8 years to reach $700 billion, but it only took Obama a few months to surpass $1.5 trillion.)
Then came 2010, and “Recovery Summer.” June, July, and August of that year were going to be the months where all of Obama’s deficit spending started to pay off. By spending money we didn’t have for projects we didn’t need–like the 10,000 plus road repair projects around the country that were funded by untold millions in Obama’s stimulus package–we were going to dominate the world economically once more. Of course, it didn’t happen. And instead of putting the millions of Americans to work that David Axelrod claimed it would, the stimulus package coincided with the loss of 3 million more jobs.
(For those of you keeping score, Obama has since pushed a new stimulus act and, I suppose, probably has a “recovery summer 2.0” banner he’ll break out for speeches should the new act pass.)
Throughout these things, unemployment in America has risen from the high 7% range in early 2009 to the 10% range, and currently rests at 8.5% (soon to be 9% according to Gallup).
Moreover, sitting here, just 9 months away from the presidential election, people are once again planning “staycations” instead of vacations and only “22 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the way things are going.” This means “America’s satisfication is almost as low as it was under Carter.”
The bottom line: In 2012, Obama is trading “hope and change” and other “unrealistic ambitions,” for a “small measure of [the] American Dream.”
In short, even Obama isn’t expecting that much out of Obama this time around.