President Barack Obama is oftentimes a national embarrassment, and last Wednesday was one of those times.
The president was on the campaign trail again, giving a marathon speech at a small liberal arts college in Illinois. It was the first of two campaign stops for the day, and more such speeches are expected in coming weeks.
On Wednesday, it was vintage Obama - non sequiturs, contradictions and outright falsehoods held together by applause lines. A major theme: class envy. He used the term "middle class" 31 times.
So what's the president up to this time?
The smart money says he's making a pre-emptive strike and trying an end run around Congress and union leaders in an effort to salvage ObamaCare.
The fate of his signature legislation hangs in the balance next month when another continuing budget resolution comes up for a vote. The resolution contains funding for enforcement of the individual mandate (the employer mandate has been put off a year), and next month's vote is viewed as the last chance to stop ObamaCare.
Opposition to the program has been growing steadily, and the leaders of three major unions earlier this month told Democrat leaders in the Senate and House that the "unintended consequences" of ObamaCare will be "severe."
If the program isn't changed, they said, it will "destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking [read 'middle class'] Americans."
The letter rocked the White House, so Obama has hit the campaign trail again, this time in an effort to boost his sagging poll numbers and gin up public support for his programs and especially ObamaCare.
On Wednesday, he spoke indirectly to Congress (especially Democrats) as he reached out to a sympathetic audience of "hardworking" Americans.
"Together, we saved the auto industry; took on a broken health care system. (Applause.) We invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil. We doubled wind and solar power. (Applause.) Together, we put in place tough new rules on the big banks, and protections to crack down on the worst practices of mortgage lenders and credit card companies. (Applause.) We changed a tax code too skewed in favor of the wealthiest at the expense of working families - so we changed that, and we locked in tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, and we asked those at the top to pay a little bit more."
No mention of his "war on coal," which will push thousands of hardworking Americans out of work and drive up the cost of electricity for everybody, including manufacturers.
On ObamaCare, he took a broad swipe at the opposition, which now includes the union leaders, calling their arguments a "misinformation campaign."
He also repeatedly attacked Congress, especially Republicans, and one of his more preposterous statements was, "(W)ith this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop. This needs to stop."
The made-for-TV audience ate it up.
Question: What "phony scandals"?
Is he talking about covering up the circumstances surrounding the murders of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi 10 months ago? Is he talking about his IRS targeting conservative groups from 2010 to the present? Is he talking about his attorney general attacking press freedoms? Is he talking about his National Security Agency abusing its powers and about his NSA director lying to Congress?
Nothing "phony" there. Those scandals are alive and well and being investigated by Congress.
Next question: What does the president mean when he says, "Washington has taken its eye off the ball"? The last time we looked, the president worked in Washington and lived in a big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue.
And so it went, vintage Obama, and a headline in Bloomberg magazine summed it up nicely: "Obama's Speech Is a Confession of Impotence."