|In his prime time press conference tonight, President Obama laid into the opposition party with a velvet glove, that happened to have a pretty tightly clenched fist beneath it. He chided members of the other ideological party whose opening or final negotiation position is that government should "do nothing" while the economy continues to head off a cliff, saying they are alone in that ideological fixation, while most economists and people of common sense are with him. The bottom line is that something must be done, and that only government has the spending wherewithall to do it. The Republican formulation that if we just stand far back enough from the edge, we won't hear the screams as loudly as the cart carrying our economic future goes over the side.
Obama made a simple, succinct, and forceful case for his economic recovery plan, uttering the world "stimulus" only twice, and seemingly unintentionally. He gave complex, intelligent answers to economic and foreign policy questions, and even one on A-Rod -- a nice change after eight years of dumbass. Okay, sorry, that was partisan of me. Not very Age of Obama... but what is? Calling on Sam Stein of the Huffpo. Nice work if you can get it, Sam...
The president also answered a question that's been vexing me and many other Democrats: who the hell cares about bipartisanship??? His answer: "I didn't do [all of that outreach to Republicans] for a few vote this week. I did it for the long term," and to build good will that he can use for the next four years. Full answer:
You know, when I made a series of overtures to the Republicans, going over to meet with both Republican caucuses, you know, putting three Republicans in my cabinet -- something that is unprecedented -- making sure that they were invited here to the White House to talk about the economic recovery plan, all those were not designed simply to get some short-term votes. They were designed to try to build up some trust over time.Obama didn't take the bait from Helen Thomas when she asked him if any Middle Eastern countries have nukes (read: Israel) and he wouldn't be pinned down on a timetable for Afghanistan, negotiations with Iran, or whether his administration will allow the media to view the flag draped coffins of our fallen troops. Not quite transparency, but I can live with it.
UPDATE: The Huffpo has the full transcript of the presser. Representative clip:
All I can say is, this guy's got extraordinar swag... And no, I'm not fantasizing (sick, twisted wenches...)
As I said, the one concern I've got on the stimulus package, in terms of the debate and listening to some of what's been said in Congress, is that there seems to be a set of folks who -- I don't doubt their sincerity -- who just believe that we should do nothing.
Now, if that's their opening position or their closing position in negotiations, then we're probably not going to make much progress, because I don't think that's economically sound and I don't think what -- that's what the American people expect, is for us to stand by and do nothing.
There are others who recognize that we've got to do a significant recovery package, but they're concerned about the mix of what's in there. And if they're sincere about it, then I'm happy to have conversations about this tax cut versus that -- that tax cut or this infrastructure project versus that infrastructure project.
But what I've -- what I've been concerned about is some of the language that's been used suggesting that this is full of pork and this is wasteful government spending, so on and so forth.
First of all, when I hear that from folks who presided over a doubling of the national debt, then, you know, I just want them to not engage in some revisionist history. I inherited the deficit that we have right now and the economic crisis that we have right now.
Number two is that, although there are some programs in there that I think are good policy, some of them aren't job-creators. I think it's perfectly legitimate to say that those programs should be out of this particular recovery package and we can deal with them later.
But when they start characterizing this as pork, without acknowledging that there are no earmarks in this package -- something, again, that was pretty rare over the last eight years -- then you get a feeling that maybe we're playing politics instead of actually trying to solve problems for the American people.
Labels: economic crisis, President Barack Obama, stimulus bill, the economy, Washington press corps