It’s a big night Thursday for President Barack Obama. In New York, he will hold his 100th fundraiser since declaring reelection — his 33rd this year alone.
Let’s put that in perspective. On average, one can reasonably say attending a fundraiser takes two hours out of the president’s schedule. So, in total, the president has likely spent at least 200 hours, or five standard workweeks, filling his campaign coffers since April.
Five workweeks away from the office is lot of time for anyone, but especially a sitting president presiding over a difficult economy, a jobs crisis, reckless spending and high energy prices.
So what could Obama have done with the time he was hobnobbing with wealthy donors?
He could have met with congressional Republicans to find common ground on legislation to expand the economy. Or he could have worked with the Senate to help them pass the 28 bipartisan jobs bills that House Republicans have sent them.
Perhaps he could have crafted a responsible budget — instead of one that raises taxes and increases spending. Or maybe he could have worked on a comprehensive energy policy, like he promised in 2008.
But Obama has his priorities—and reelection comes first.
Even with all these fundraisers, Obama is not raising money as quickly as he did in 2008. Since it costs a lot to paper over a record of failure, he has to fundraise at an even faster pace. At the same point in his reelection campaign, President George W. Bush had attended 56 fundraisers, compared with Obama’s 100.
It’s not just fundraising that’s keeping the president away from the Oval Office, though. He’s got campaigning to do too. Officially, however, it’s not campaigning. It’s billed as “official business” — so taxpayers foot the bill. But the purpose of the events is pretty clear.
On Tuesday, for example, the president spoke to the United Auto Workers union. It was “official business” and supposedly not partisan. The president’s speech, though, was filled with campaign rhetoric, and the audience broke into chants of “four more years.”
How is that the people’s business?
Most fundraising trips are also preceded by similar speeches. An ABC News report called the practice “presidential piggybacking.” As the Tampa Bay Times noted, “the president’s official events have been hard to distinguish from campaign events.”
Before attending three fundraisers in Florida last week, the president gave a speech on energy, which featured many of the same themes he campaigned on in 2008. Today, before Obama hits up New York for four separate fundraisers, he’ll give another speech in New Hampshire. It’s funny how the speeches keep happening in battleground states.
Here’s the bottom line: This president is more dedicated to saving his job than doing his job. He loves the thrill of the campaign but avoids the difficulties of governing.
On his Florida trip last week, the president said he was “resentful” and “mad” that he was not able to take in a basketball game while in Florida. “It’s not right,” he complained, “it’s not fair.”
That’s how Americans should feel about the president’s lack of leadership, broken promises and failed policies. It’s not right, and it’s not fair.
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