Saturday, April 09, 2011

Open for business

Terrorist Luis Posada Carriles acquitted by Texas court.

There was a budget agreement and Obama congratulated himself.

MONUMENTAL BUSINESS: “Tomorrow, I’m pleased to announce that the Washington Monument, as well as the entire federal government, will be open for business.” Or open its legs to business. Same thing, really.

SO THAT’S OKAY THEN: “And that’s because today Americans of different beliefs came together again.”

PAINFUL: “Some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful. Programs people rely on will be cut back.” I’d feel better about Obama personally if he’d specified which people will no longer have the programs they relied on, whose pain will be created by these painful cuts.

“And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances.” The “circumstances” thing can be read in two different ways: economic or political. He needed to distinguish whether he was saying that the state of the economy makes cuts necessary, or that the state of the House of Representatives makes them politically inevitable. This is an important distinction. He also failed to mention at any point that spending cuts were necessitated by the tax cuts for the wealthy that the Republican insisted on, and he agreed to.

WINNING! “We protected the investments we need to win the future.”

“At the same time, we also made sure that at the end of the day, this was a debate about spending cuts, not social issues like women’s health and the protection of our air and water.” Dude, a budget is always about social issues and priorities. And since you threw abortions for women in D.C. under the bus (yes, that’s a really repulsive image I invoked there), you can’t say this wasn’t about women’s health.

COMING TOGETHER: “A few months ago, I was able to sign a tax cut for American families because both parties worked through their differences and found common ground. Now the same cooperation will make possible the biggest annual spending cut in history, and it’s my sincere hope that we can continue to come together as we face the many difficult challenges that lie ahead, from creating jobs and growing our economy to educating our children and reducing our deficit. That’s what the American people expect us to do.” Is that really what the American people expect them to do? Only if they’re paying absolutely no attention whatsoever, so... maybe.

In order to continue to fetishize compromise and bipartisanism, he has to portray this deal as a good thing. Biggest annual spending cut in history, hurrah! Winning the future, yay! Programs people rely on will be cut back, yippee! Austerity forever!

But in the end, it’s all about... wait for it... the children: “A few days ago, I received a letter from a mother in Longmont, Colorado. Over the year, her son’s eighth grade class saved up money and worked on projects so that next week they could take a class trip to Washington, D.C. They even have an appointment to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” The Unknown Soldier has appointments? “The mother wrote that for the last few days the kids in her son’s class had been worried and upset that they might have to cancel their trip because of a shutdown. She asked those of us in Washington to get past our petty grievances and make things right.” I hope he shared this letter with John Boehner, just to watch him weep. “And next week, when 50 eighth graders from Colorado arrive in our nation’s capital, I hope they get a chance to look up at the Washington Monument and feel the sense of pride and possibility that defines America”. The possibility of peeing off the top on all the tourists below. They look just like ants, don’t they, kids?

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