Friday, July 15, 2011

Obama press conference: It is hard to do a big package

Hillary Clinton announces in Istanbul that the US now recognizes the Libyan Transitional National Council “as the legitimate governing authority for Libya... In contrast, the United States views the Qadhafi regime as no longer having legitimate authority in Libya.” Still no definition of the process by which legitimacy is conferred or withdrawn, despite the fact that US foreign policy seems to be based on our ability to discern and measure the magical property of legitimacy without having to resort to anything as old-fashioned as an election. We shall be handing over billions of dollars of assets belonging to the regime which no longer has legitimate authority and handing it to the one that has acquired it.

She added that Syrian President Asad “has lost his legitimacy in the eyes of his people because of the brutality of their crackdown”.

Obama press conferences are like buses: you wait forever and then three arrive right behind each other. Today, another.

WHAT WE HAVE A CHANCE TO DO: “We have a chance to stabilize America’s finances for a decade, for 15 years, or 20 years, if we’re wiling to seize the moment.” Because nothing creates stability like giving in to Republican demands.

WHAT HE IS WILLING TO DO: “And I have already said I am willing to take down domestic spending to the lowest percentage of our overall economy since Dwight Eisenhower.”

THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID: “Now, let me acknowledge what everybody understands: It is hard to do a big package.”

THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID: “So I am still pushing for us to achieve a big deal.”

He spent a bit of time explaining that polls, including Republican polls, show that the American people, including Republicans, want a deficit package to include tax increases (or “revenues,” as Obama calls them) in a “balanced approach.” Then he says, “And I’ve already taken some heat from my party for being willing to compromise. My expectation and hope is, is that everybody, in the coming days, is going to be willing to compromise.” (Really, that’s your expectation? Have you met Eric Cantor?) So why is the only heat he’s talking about the heat coming from “my party”?

We don’t need a balanced budget amendment: “what we need to do is to do our jobs.”

OBAMA HAS A VERY COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP WITH LAYER CAKES: “I think about this like a layer cake. You can do the bare minimum and then you can make some progressively harder decisions to solve the problem more and more.”

On Eric Cantor’s snit-fest, but without mentioning Cantor by name: “I think this notion that things got ugly is just not true. ... The American people are not interested in the reality TV aspects of who said what and did somebody’s feelings get hurt. They’re interested in solving the budget problem and the deficit and the debt.” Has he ever met the American people?

AIN’T IT THE TRUTH: “The bottom line is that this is not an issue of salesmanship to the American people; the American people are sold. The American people are sold.” And the Chinese have the receipt.

WE? YOU DON’T SEEM TO HAVE ANY TROUBLE FUCKING OVER THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR YOU: “We simply need to make these tough choices and be willing to take on our bases.” In fact, he can’t even remember which rhetorical flourishes belong to which parties, and a minute later comes out against “job-killing tax cuts.”

PHEW: “Contrary to what some folks say, we’re not Greece, we’re not Portugal.”

DARE TO DREAM: “With respect to Senator McConnell’s plan, as I said, I think it is a -- it is constructive to say that if Washington operates as usual and can’t get anything done, let’s at least avert Armageddon.”

AND THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR ME CAN EAT A BAG OF DICKS: “The proposal that I was discussing with Speaker Boehner fell squarely in line with what most Republican voters think we should do.”

I NEVER READ MY REVIEWS: “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.” Wouldn’t it be funny if he really had no idea what his enemies are saying about him, and only found about it after he retired?

MOSTLY, IT INVOLVES GETTING RID OF ALL THAT PAPER: “I’ve got reams of paper and printouts and spreadsheets on my desk, and so we know how we can create a package that solves the deficits and debt for a significant period of time.”

WHAT’S OBAMA’S DEFINITION OF “PROGRESSIVE,” ANYWAY? “And so that’s where I’d have a selling job, Chuck, is trying to sell some of our party that if you are a progressive, you should be concerned about debt and deficit just as much as if you’re a conservative.” No, no you shouldn’t be. (Also, of course, conservatives are not really concerned about debt and the deficit.)

“And the reason is because if the only thing we’re talking about over the next year, two years, five years, is debt and deficits, then it’s very hard to start talking about how do we make investments in community colleges so that our kids are trained, how do we actually rebuild $2 trillion worth of crumbling infrastructure.” You know what else would stop that being the only thing we’re talking about over the next year, 2 years, 5 years? If the president of the United States talked about something else. “If you care about making investments in our kids and making investments in our infrastructure and making investments in basic research, then you should want our fiscal house in order, so that every time we propose a new initiative somebody doesn’t just throw up their hands and say, ‘Ah, more big spending, more government.’” Yes, that would totally stop somebody doing that.

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