Obama attacks fall flat against success

Cal Thomas

He’s back! President Obama has emerged from his supposed cloistered life to attack President Trump. Obama broke with a tradition apparently only modern Republican ex-presidents follow, which is not to speak ill of your successor.

Obama, who reportedly has been running his “Organizing for America” operation, along with his White House aide Valerie Jarrett from his expensive home in a Washington neighborhood, spoke to a group of University of Illinois students last Friday, claiming it was his policies, not those of President Trump, that have produced the current economic boom.

“When you hear how great the economy’s doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,” Obama said.

But during the Obama administration, the Gross Domestic Product never exceeded 3 percent. Obama said the days of strong economic growth were behind us, that many manufacturing jobs were lost and not returning and that candidate Trump’s prediction of 4 percent economic growth was fantasy. In the second quarter of this year, it exceeded 4 percent and manufacturing jobs are making a comeback.

By the time Obama left office, the unemployment rate had declined from a high approaching 8 percent at the start of his administration to just under 5 percent, but was beginning to tick back upward, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In less than two years of the Trump administration, the nation has effectively gained full employment (3.9 percent unemployment rate) with minority unemployment reaching record lows.

Obama should receive some credit for the way his administration helped the country after the 2007 recession, but not all the credit he now claims for himself.

Hourly earnings, which were largely stagnant during the Obama years, have increased an average 2.9 percent over the last year.

Obama’s speech was part of a carefully coordinated strategy to win back a House majority for Democrats. This has included demonstrators at the hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; the Bob Woodward book “Fear” and the daily and sometimes hourly torrent of anti-Trump invective from the major media, which see impeachment as their only hope of returning the establishment to power.

Trump did himself a favor by not responding to Obama’s speech in kind. Instead of taking to Twitter for a blistering attack, he joked that Obama’s speech put him to sleep.

The president did something last week I have long urged him to do. Statistics are dry. Show people who have jobs they couldn’t find during the Obama years.

In a speech in North Dakota, the president brought a man onstage who thanked him for his economic policies that allowed the man to go back to work.

Here’s how The Daily Caller reported the story: “The man told a story about the coal industry under Obama and how ‘the coal industry absolutely had the boot of government on its throat.’

“’Many, many jobs were lost,’ the coal miner said, ‘and many towns were destroyed by this. It was just a horrible thing. Horrible suffering happened in this country. Really for made-up reasons, I think. And what your administration does — has done — is bringing us back to life.’”

The audience cheered.

This is the way to counter the resistance. Keep showcasing people who were unemployed during the Obama years, but now have jobs. The president should then say if Democrats win a congressional majority they will stifle his successes and try to return to the failed policies of the past.

That objective is what Obama meant in his speech. It is the opposite strategy, one that is working, that President Trump stressed in his. A show and tell approach can work against the tidal wave of opposition coming from the left.

Flesh and blood are more powerful than ink and paper and TV news.

[Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.] ©2018 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


  1. Brewster, with all due respect, I absolutely have to disagree with your statement that “The economy has been doing very well under both the 44th and 45th presidents.”

    ALL indicators showed that the economy under 44 was the worst it had been in decades, probably since the Reagan years. The U-6 or U-3 figures for ANY segment of the population, Consumer Confidence, Capital Expenditures, Food Stamps, Housing Starts, etc, etc, etc………

    ALL of those are now vastly improved, U-3 U-6 for ALL demographics at record lows, not to mention the Stock Market up a hair under 50% since January 20th 2017.

    I just don’t know what you’re basing your statement on.

    • Bernie – Quit watching Fox “News.” It is muddling your mind. Obama took over an economy that was sinking like a rock because of the gross mismanagement of Bush 43. There are tons of metrics that show great improvement in the economy from when W. left office.

      For instance, the Dow was under 8,000 when Obama was inaugurated. He left office with the Dow at just under 20,000. In contrast, today’s Dow has grown about 5,000 since the Orange one came into office (not bad), but not even close to the over doubling under Obama.

      How bad must one hate a President to misrepresent him so grossly? Please turn off Fox.

      • STF – you post fighting words incessantly and when you get called out on it your first question is why are you trying to pick a fight? Your last question regarding how bad must one hate a President to misrepresent him so grossly would be best answered by you, but its obvious that the level of hatred required is being compounded daily so your answer may have to be TBD. And now you appear to want to censor the media outlets to watch? This all smacks of someone wanting their moralistic standard to be accepted.

  2. The only good thing about the election of the ****grabber-in-chief is that I will never again have to listen to some evangelical pontificate about the morals of any candidate for public office. Evangelicals have sold their souls for a bowl of soup, and they can never again claim the high ground. At least we can now argue about the real issues of power and wealth instead of some elusive moralistic standard.

    The economy has been doing very well under both the 44th and 45th presidents. I hope it will continue!

    • Oh yea – just listen to Hollywood regarding who has morals, or maybe the media would let you know about the ever important morality of a candidate, or worse yet – use your own judgement. But remember the sentence you imposed on yourself once you judge incorrectly.

      • Brewster, you are correct. No effective politician exceeds all others in moral character (or it would disqualify them from being successful). Hopefully, the election of this completely morally deprived president will retire the issue of character from election considerations. Power and wealth are the only things either party really values, so let the fights be about the real issues not some elusive moral proxies.

        • STF – don’t puff your self up too much on being an expert on morality. Claiming that someone is “completely” morally deprived in such a manner might get you a guest shot on CNN as well as call into question your credentials. At the least it comes across as a hissy fit.

          • Hey Brewster, why are you trying to pick a fight? I agree with you that the Left has no moral backbone, and neither does the Right. All either side wants is power. With the election of 45, maybe both sides will admit it rather than hide behind some facade of morality (religious or otherwise) that clearly does not exist.