Four years after it was trendy in Democratic circles to liken Barack Obama to Franklin D. Roosevelt, it is safe to conclude that no one in the Obama re-election campaign will be borrowing FDR's "Happy Days are Here Again" as the theme song for 2012. Judging by recent speeches by the president and the first lady, a much likelier choice is the 2009 tune by He is We, "A Mess it Grows." Or maybe Avril Lavigne's "I'm With You," with its line, "'Cause nothing's going right. And everything's a mess."
Both Obamas left little doubt this week that things are still a mess even after three years of Obama rule. In a speech in Richmond, the first lady talked about "this mess." But she struck the right campaign theme, adding ,"Fortunately, over the past three years, we've worked very hard to dig ourselves out of this mess. Your president has worked very hard. And there's been a lot of wonderful progress made."
Then on Friday, the president pitched his government reorganization plan, even making rare use of a colorful chart. "I don't usually use props in my speeches," he acknowledged to laughter. But he wanted to show how complicated the current government makes things. "This is the system that small business owners face. This is what they have to deal with if they want even the most basic answers to the most basic questions like how to export to a new country or whether they qualify for a loan." Reflecting on the way, government treats businesses, he concluded, "It's a mess."