John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Meaningless Points on the Board

Posted on June 25, 2010
My father, a rabid White Sox fan if there ever was one, would always derisively talk about Cubs third baseman Ron Santo as Mr. Clutch.  “If you ever needed a guy that would hit a completely meaningless home run when it didn’t matter and strike out when it did matter, Ron Santo is your guy,” he would say with a laugh.

I was thinking about Ron Santo when I heard that the conference committee on the Wall Street reform package had just concluded.   The Democrats were very proud of themselves, with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd exchanging hi-fives and getting standing ovations from their colleagues.

Some commentators have said that with this health care package that passed earlier this year and with this financial services package that is going to pass next week, theoretically, the President is really putting “points on the board.”

But in my mind, those points are kind of like the points that the reserves get in garbage time, when the game is already over.  They aren’t going to help the Democrats win any elections, and more importantly, these legislative victories aren’t going to create any new jobs.

A new poll shows that it would take a miracle for the Democrats to be able to turn this ship around.  The Wall Street Journal quoted Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the WSJ/NBC survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart, as saying that the  voters usually have their attitudes set by this time in any election year -- and this year the economy and oil  spill are major influences. "It would take an enormous and seismic event to change the drift of these powerful forces before November," McInturff said.

One of the principle problems with the Democratic strategy is that they are putting the wrong kind of points on the board.  The name of the game right now is not more government regulation.  The name of the game is jobs, and when it comes to private sector job creation, the White House and the Democrats have absolutely no plan.

Several studies have shown how hard the health care bill will be on job creation.  The NFIB even filed a lawsuit against the law because of their huge concerns with impact on small business job creation.

On the financial services legislation,  Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue hit the nail on the head when he said about the bill,  “It exacerbates uncertainties for Main Street and America's job creators, and consumers will pay the ultimate price in higher fees, less choice, and fewer opportunities to responsibly access credit."   Doesn’t sound like a prescription for more jobs to me.

The President is scoring points when it comes to growing the size of government, increasing government regulation, passing more laws and generally getting his Democratic majorities to do things that he wants them to do.

He is not scoring any points when it comes to creating policies to spur private sector job creation.  As an example, the Democrats tried to jam through something that was actually called a jobs bill by the media (even though its principle purpose was extending unemployment insurance for those who don’t have a job), but failed when centrist Democrats choked on the price tag.

President Obama is a self-professed White Sox fan, but he is swinging the bat like Ron Santo.  He is putting meaningless points on the board, but he is still losing the game by a wide margin.