The Corner

Wait, Is Malaise French for “Soft”?

Obama in an interview with an Orlando TV station*:

“This is a great great country that had gotten a little soft and we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades,” Mr. Obama said in response to a question about the country’s economic future. “We need to get back on track.”

Interesting perspective. I wonder where America could have lost its competitive edge. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with a government that blows billions on green energy boondoggles while making it harder to drill for oil while trying to make electricity rates “skyrocket.” It couldn’t have to do with extending unemployment benefits to 99 weeks (and rising), or to bailouts or perhaps advice like this offered by Michelle Obama:

 “We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.” Faced with that reality, she adds, “many of our bright stars are going into corporate law or hedge-fund management.”

Or maybe it has something to do with the influence of tough leaders like Nancy Pelosi who said Obamacare was a jobs bill because:

“Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.”

Thank goodness we have Obamacare now so we can compete with the Chinese at photography.

Now in fairness Obama did take back the soft thing a bit:

Despite his concern, Mr. Obama said he wouldn’t trade positions with any country on Earth. “We still have the best universities, the best scientists, best workers in the world; the most dynamic economic system in the world,” he said. “We just need to bring all those things together.”

Translation: If government can just be allowed to “bring all of those things together,” then we’ll be competitive again. Because the people who want you to become a social worker or a freelance artist are exactly the people who know how to hone America’s competitive edge.

Update: Video here.

Seriously, in 2008 we elected a community organizer, state senator, college instructor first term senator over a guy who spent five years in a Vietnamese prison. And now he’s lecturing us about how America’s gone “soft”? Really?

* I originally wrote he was interviewed in Orlando.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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