The press conference held in the White House Friday was a performance that can only be described as classic Barack Obama, candidate for President. It was a whole lot of nothing but blaming George W. Bush and the Republicans in Congress as he filibustered answers from an adoring White House press corps.
Thanks go out to ABC News' Jake Tapper who once again proved to be the professional in the room. While his colleagues were busy serving up softball questions for their candidate, Barack Obama, Tapper asked the pertinent question - Mr. President, can you give one entitlement reform in which you are in favor? Nope. He couldn't do it.
Obama made some vague references to making cuts in defense programs - surprise! - and to making adjustments in Medicare spending. That was it. From there he moved on to raising revenues. That is code for taxes. He is fond lately of speaking as an authority of what Republicans want, according to the results of his polling efforts within his White House, which are reported is reported to poll continually.
The clear majority of Republican voters think that any deficit reduction package should have a balanced approach and should include some revenues. That’s not just Democrats; that’s the majority of Republicans. You’ve got a whole slew of Republican officials from previous administrations. You’ve got a bipartisan commission that has said that we need revenues.
Funny that he mentioned his bi-partisan commission. You know, the one he used to give him cover for a while on the deficit/spending problems as they put together their recommendations, and then Obama promptly dismissed them out of hand when presented with those recommendations. Classic Obama.
He scolded listeners that "we should never have gotten to this close to the deadline." Yes. True enough. President Obama and the Democratically controlled Congress have known about this deadline since 2009. When the House went back to Republican control, a budget was passed by them and the Ryan plan has been produced, too. Now they will vote on another GOP initiative, one that puts forward a balanced budget amendment.
Obama reverted back to his comfort zone - that of blaming Bush tax cuts and the wars for our woes. Never mind that the truth is that taxes actually went up for many people even after the Bush tax cuts went into effect. Never mind that Obama and the Democrats took the first 18 months of his term to push through Obamacare without any Republican support and now will put us $701 billion in the red. Never mind that Obama and his Democrats in Congress have increased discretionary spending by 84%.
A willing campaigner in the Obama press corps asked about the "tone" of the last few days of negotiations. Obama tried to make believe he doesn't much pay attention to press reports.
Well, let me say this. And I’m not trying to poke at you guys. I generally don’t watch what is said about me on cable. I generally don’t read what’s said about me, even in The Hill. And so part of this job is having a thick skin and understanding that a lot of this stuff is not personal.
That’s not going to be an impediment to — whatever Senator McConnell says about me on the floor of the Senate is not going to be an impediment to us getting a deal done. The question is going to be whether at any given moment we’re willing to set politics aside, at least briefly, in order to get something done.
I don’t expect politicians not to think about politics. But every so often there are issues that are urgent, that have to be attended to, and require us to do things we don’t like to do that run contrary to our base, that gets some constituency that helped elect us agitated because they’re looking at it from a narrow prism. We’re supposed to be stepping back and looking at it from the perspective of what’s good for the country. And if we are able to remind ourselves of that, then there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get things done.
He mentioned his favorite whipping boys at every opportunity - big oil companies, millionaires and billionaires. He made it perfectly clear that he intends to raise taxes, one way or the other. Republicans have stated an openness to closing loop holes in the tax code for corporations. That is a revenue source. Funny, Obama didn't acknowledge that as he spoke of the stubbornness of the opposition.
He continues to falsely claim that cuts supported by Republicans will throw granny over the cliff and college students will be unable to attend college and our world as we know it will come to a screeching halt. It's all he has, really, the scare tactics and demonizing of his opponents. He does it well.
We are still waiting for Barack Obama to be the adult in the room.