October 27 2011

Try to Imagine You Are A Bad President

Julie Gunlock

Speaking at a $5,000 per ticket fundraiser in San Francisco (natch) yesterday, President Obama said Americans have lost their ambition and imagination

"We've lost our ambition, our -- our imagination, and -- and -- our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam and unleashed all the potential in this country,"

Of course we all know that infrastructure projects like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam would simply never be built today because folks like the Prez and his kooky pals in the “green” movement would all go berserk at the mere suggestion of a similar structure.  The environmental impact studies alone would delay a project until who knows when (Jonah Goldberg had a brilliant NRO piece on this topic last month).  

But let’s look at another, much more common issue that comes up when Americans show their “ambition” and “imagination” and try to open up a small business.  Yesterday, the Washington Post reported on one restaurant owner’s efforts to open a simple sandwich and salad shop and the astonishing amount of red tape that has prevented him from opening his doors.  The owners of Jetties in Bethesda, Maryland said they have “never, ever experienced anything like it” and because it’s been so difficult, the owners have vowed to never open another business in Montgomery County ever again.  The Post gives us one painful-to-read example involving the restaurant’s required “grease trap.”

“They made us put in a grease trap that was about as big as a small car. We told them over and over and over again that this was wrong. This is not what this grease trap should be. They would not even talk to us on the phone. We would have to drive our plumber up to near Columbia, Md., over and over and over again, any time we had an issue.”

“They tell us to get this grease trap that, seriously, it’s like something that would be in FedEx stadium...They said they won’t even answer any questions until we install the grease trap. We get the grease trap, we install it, the [WSSC] guy comes out and he looks at it and says, ‘Well, this is wrong.’ So he makes us get rid of that and get a grease trap that is literally a tenth of the size...To work that simple part out, it took like a month. We had to install a completely useless grease trap simply for them to come out and say it’s not the right grease trap. They would not even entertain the idea that what they were telling us to put in was wrong.”

“That was the tip of the iceberg,” Blair concludes. “Every single thing was a disaster.”

So, here’s a question for the President.  Is the owner of Jetties in Bethesda lacking “ambition”? Does he need to work on his “imagination”? Does he “lack the willingness to do things”?

Look, Mr. President, we get that you're confused on the whole “how to create jobs” front.  Given that, can you spare us your well-meaning impressions of Ward Cleaver giving the Beave a “kick in the pants” speech about his lack of imagination? 

We don’t need your business advice; we need you to call off your regulatory dogs.

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