Detroit — In the shadow of the GM headquarters that he helped bail out, President Obama gave a divisive, highly partisan Labor Day speech here today that was more campaign rally than solution to the country’s jobs problem.
Just days before a major Thursday policy speech to address an economy that created zero jobs in the month of August, many onlookers were looking for hints of a new economic direction.
Instead, with a largely union crowd chanting “four more years,” Obama gave a backward-looking, red-meat political speech that attacked congressional Republicans as “naysayers” and “cynics” who won’t “put country before party.”
“We’ve gone through a decade where wealth was valued over work, and greed was valued over responsibility,” roared Obama, sounding as if he were still running against George W. Bush.
Indeed, his only hint at the Thursday speech was a doubling down on more of the same failed economic policies: more infrastructure spending and more payroll-tax cuts.
Obama even reached back 50 years for inspiration (apparently at the suggestion of dinosaur Sen. Carl Levin on the plane ride from D.C.) from a 1948 speech by Harry Truman extolling unions as America’s future. It was an odd note coming at the beginning of the 21st century, when unions have shrunk to just 7 percent of the workforce and right-to-work states are the driving engines of job growth.
But Obama singled out right-to-work states for attack. “Four more years!” cheered the crowd. Four more years of job-killing.