By Representative Renee Ellmers
Last month, the Obama campaign dispatched actor Don Cheadle to give volunteers here in North Carolina a pep talk. This may say a number of things about the president's campaign, but chief among them is that President Obama wants to talk about anything but the economy.
And that's unfortunate given that we're facing serious economic problems in this country. The most recent GDP numbers -- which show our economy grew just an anemic 1.5 percent in the last quarter -- sound off alarms that our economy is in disrepair. So, too, does the 8.2 percent unemployment rate, as well as the decline in average incomes and net worth we've seen as of late. Our economy, in other words, is slouching.
For too many people, the effects of this slump are all too real. Upwards of 23 million Americans can't find full-time jobs. Millions of people are losing their homes to foreclosure or struggling to hold onto them.
Some argue that President Obama is a divisive force, but I would suggest the damage he's inflicted on our economy has delivered hard times to Americans in a way that cuts across party lines and more. It doesn't matter whether one is a Democrat or Republican, business owner or worker, young or old, mother or father: The uncertainty running rampant in the Obama economy overshadows one's ability to make payroll or put food on the table.
And perhaps more disconcerting than these crushing realities, President Obama isn't proposing any new ideas to get our economy moving in the right direction again. He's exhausted his options and they haven't worked. The stimulus -- which thepresident boasts as an accomplishment -- has yet to bear the fruit he promised. It turns out that nearly $1 trillion didn't bring unemployment down to 5.6 percent as he claimed it would. And in spite of these facts, President Obama has had the nerve to tell Americans with a straight face, "We tried our plan -- and it worked."
It worked? Then why does the reality tell a different story? In North Carolina and across the country, voters know from experience that the president's narrative is painfully untrue.
It's also telling where President Obama looks for solutions to his reelection woes. He searches for answers in Hollywood -- be it in Don Cheadle or glitzy celebrity fundraisers. It's a move that underscores a lack of seriousness about the steep economic challenges Americans are grappling with in every corner of this country. The president's campaign commercials certainly don'taddress them.
Regrettably, this kind of campaign -- one that focuses on distractions instead of the real issues in play -- meshes all too well with Barack Obama's presidency.
On the biggest issues of the day -- ensuring our budget crisis does not paralyze the ability of future generations to prosper, preventing the looming and devastating defense cuts, mollifying the intolerable levels of unemployment -- President Obama has failed to lead. Instead of entitlement reform, we've gotten $5.2 trillion in more debt. Instead of cutting the budget responsibly, President Obama has played politics with our military.
Ultimately, however, Hollywood star power or more distractions cannot compensate for the president'sabysmal record.