Thune: ‘Obama Experiment Has Failed’

Posted October 23, 2010 at 5:00am

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) on Saturday lambasted Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration for leading the country in the wrong direction with job-killing policies such as health care and financial services reform.

“The Democrats have controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress for nearly two years and have proven that more government is not the answer,” Thune said in his party’s weekly radio address. “This year they were not even capable of passing a budget. Instead, they spent their time passing more and more burdensome regulations, like their so-called financial reform bill that failed to address the main cause of our economic mess.”

But in his own weekly radio address, President Barack Obama called the financial reform measure “one of the most important victories we achieved” in defending the interests of the middle class over the interests of the lobbying community.

“This was a bill designed to rein in the secret deals and reckless gambling that nearly brought down the financial system,” Obama said. “It was a tough fight. The special interests poured millions into a lobbying campaign to prevent us from reforming the system. … And these interests held common cause with Republican leaders in Washington who were looking to score a political victory in an election year.”

Thune, however, said ordinary voters across the country haven’t been fooled by the president’s “well-written speeches” and have “serious concerns about our economy” and the administration’s “failed policies.”

The Senator added: “One of the Democrats’ main responsibilities over the past two years was to improve the economy. Instead, they decided to try an experiment to grow government, raise taxes and take over health care.”

The stimulus bill didn’t work, Thune said. Health care premiums have gone up, and unemployment has climbed, he said. “The Obama experiment has failed.”

Thune added that Obama appears intent on raising taxes.

“Giving Democrats more opportunities to manage the economy and spend taxpayer dollars will not give us the economic growth that we need,” he said. “Government cannot be openly hostile to American businesses and expect them to grow and create jobs.

“A new direction is needed,” Thune said.

Thune added that Republicans want to repeal the “flawed” health care law, want to prevent any tax increases and want to “reverse this nonsense of government bailouts and takeovers of private businesses.”

Republicans, he said, have learned lessons “of what hasn’t worked over the past two years” and from what also didn’t work when their party controlled Capitol Hill and the White House earlier this decade.

As Election Day looms, the Senator said, “I would like to suggest a simple question people should ask themselves to help cut through all the talk: Are you better off today than you were two years ago?”

Obama criticized Republicans in Congress for “beating the drum to repeal” the financial services reform bill and its consumer protections.

“I think that would be a terrible mistake,” Obama said. “Our economy depends on a financial system in which everyone competes on a level playing field, and everyone is held to the same rules — whether you’re a big bank, a small-business owner or a family looking to buy a house or open a credit card. And as we saw, without sound oversight and common-sense protections for consumers, the whole economy is put in jeopardy. That doesn’t serve Main Street. That doesn’t serve Wall Street. That doesn’t serve anyone.”

Obama said it’s important not to take the country backward. “We’ve got to keep moving forward.”

In response to the president’s weekly radio address, Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement that “everyone wants to hold Wall Street accountable and make sure that the irresponsibility that led to the terrifying crisis of 2008 never, ever happens again.”

But, he added, “the law that Washington Democrats passed doesn’t do that — it hurts Main Street [and] costs jobs.”