The President As Pitchman

Last week President Obama went down to Disney World to tout tourism in America and got his picture taken with the Disney castle in the background.

The trip was part of the President’s “We Can’t Wait” campaign, in which he does things by himself that are supposed to promote job growth and show that we have an active executive but a do-nothing Congress.  In this case, the presidential action was expanding the “Global Entry Program,” which makes it easier for frequent visitors to get into our country, and to direct the State Department “to accelerate our ability to process visas by 40 percent in China and in Brazil this year.”  The President noted that the more foreign visitors come to America, the more Americans get back to work.

The President’s “I can do it myself” campaign leaves me cold.  I always wonder why he hasn’t already done the things he’s now announcing with such fanfare.  He’s been President for three years.  Why wasn’t the Global Entry Program expanded back in 2009?  Why did he wait so long to direct the State Department to get off its duff and “accelerate our ability to process visas”?  For that matter, why not “accelerate our ability” by 80 percent instead of a measly 40 percent?

In this case, I had a negative reaction to the President’s speech for another reason.  I know that tourism has been an important part of our economy for years, but I never recall a President trying to entice foreigners to come here and spend, spend, spend.  My reaction to the President’s event was one of embarrassment — because our national leader seems to be begging those go-getter Chinese, Brazilians, and Indians to bring their new wealth to America and help us get back on our feet.  It struck me as not befitting the dignity of the presidency.  I also wonder:  if the President is going to promote Florida tourist destinations to our friends overseas, can a commercial for GM cars be far behind?

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