Imagine you hire a company to fix your roof. They proceed to do shoddy work, miss every promised deadline and go wildly over budget. Would you then hire them to add a new room to your house?
No, of course not. But that is exactly what President Obama is asking the American people to do in his latest television ad.
"If I could sit down with you in your living room or around the kitchen table," Obama says directly into the camera, "here's what I'd say." He then goes on to outline a new "economic patriotism," built on four new campaign promises plausible only to someone with amnesia.
First, Obama promises to "create a million new manufacturing jobs" by giving "tax breaks to companies that invest in America." Never mind that the last time he was asking Americans for their votes, he promised he would create 5 million jobs in his first four years in office. Instead, he's lost 261,000. And the most recent jobs report showed the U.S. economy lost 15,000 manufacturing jobs last month. So he's already going in the wrong direction.
Second, Obama promises to "cut our oil imports in half and produce more American-made energy." This is the same Obama who killed the Keystone pipeline, increasing U.S. reliance on Saudi Arabian oil. His Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a slew of new regulations that would shut down hundreds of coal power plants nationwide. As a result of these policies, Obama is set to fulfill one promise he made in 2008: Electricity prices will "skyrocket" if he is re-elected.
Third, Obama promises to prepare "100,000 additional math and science teachers" and "cut the growth of tuition in half." Never mind that federal spending on K-12 education has almost tripled since 1970, while student achievement has flatlined. Or that the growth in the cost of college tuition has only accelerated in Obama's first term, or that studies show federal subsidies only drive college tuition prices higher.
Finally, Obama promises to "reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade, on top of the trillion in spending we've already cut." Never mind that multiple fact checkers, including most recently McClatchy News Service, have debunked Obama's claims that he's cut spending. And never mind that Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, has called Obama's debt plan a "gimmick." Or that the actual budget that Obama submitted to Congress adds $4 trillion to the debt in just the next four years.
When pressed to explain his failed promises, Obama is always quick with a litany of excuses and other people to blame: tsunamis in Japan, debt crises in Europe, Republicans in Congress, instability in the Middle East, droughts in the Midwest, etc., etc. Some of these excuses have merit. Most don't.
But nobody forced Obama to make any of these promises. The world is just as unpredictable today as it was four years ago. At some point, the American people have to ask how they can trust Obama to follow through on a second round of promises when he failed so terribly to make good on his first.