Friday, March 01, 2013

Barack Obama and the not-at-all-fictitious caucus of common sense

Today Obama spoke to the press about the sequester.

WASTEFUL LOOPHOLES: “They’ve [Republicans] allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit.” What he’s done here is to take a Republican adjective – wasteful – and attach it inappropriately to the word loophole – itself a euphemism for a deduction that goes to people who vote for the party opposite to that of the speaker.

WELL, AS LONG AS HE’S ASKING POLITELY. “I do believe that we can and must replace these cuts with a more balanced approach that asks something from everybody”. By asking, he of course means taking.

A CAUCUS OF WHAT NOW? “I do know that there are Republicans in Congress who privately, at least, say that they would rather close tax loopholes than let these cuts go through. I know that there are Democrats who’d rather do smart entitlement reform than let these cuts go through. So there is a caucus of common sense up on Capitol Hill.” Of course there is. Wouldn’t you like to live in the pleasant alternative reality he lives in, the Obamaverse, if you will, where Jedi and Vulcans mind-meld all the live-long day?

Also, what is a smart entitlement reform when it’s at home?

WHO’S EVERYBODY? “Everybody says we need to cut $4 trillion”. I didn’t say we need to cut $4 trillion. Did you say we need to cut $4 trillion, readers?

CAN WE VIOLENTLY DISAGREE WITHOUT BEING VIOLENTLY DISAGREEABLE? “There are members of my party who violently disagree with the notion that we should do anything on Medicare.” How unreasonable of them to disagree with the notion that we should do anything; I mean all he’s asking for is anything. See, what he’s doing here is painting people who are against specific horrible proposals (chained CPI, raising the Medicare eligibility age etc) as being stubbornly opposed to change of any kind.

HE HAS A LOT OF CONFIDENCE: “The question is can the American people help persuade their members of Congress to do the right thing, and I have a lot of confidence that over time, if the American people express their displeasure about how something is working, that eventually Congress responds.”

ODDLY ENOUGH, BILL CLINTON DID KNOW HOW TO DO A JEDI MIND-MELD, BUT HE MOSTLY USED IT FOR... WELL, YOU KNOW: “most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow do a Jedi mind-meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right. ... And this idea that somehow there’s a secret formula or secret sauce to get Speaker Boehner or Mitch McConnell to say, you know what, Mr. President, you’re right”. Again, Bill Clinton did have a secret sauce, but he mostly used it for... well, you know.

“I think if there was a secret way to do that, I would have tried it. I would have done it.” So there are some secret powers he doesn’t claim to have. Good to know.

Asked about his administration’s brief before the Supreme Court in the Prop 8 case, he was good on gay marriage (although he seems to be going out of his way to avoid the word gay – is that new? – it’s always same-sex), but all over the place on his rationale. First he talked about his “long period of reflection” and his “evolution” on the issue, and that is was “important for us to articulate what I believe and what this administration stands for,” as if the fundamental rights of people in this country should be derived from what he personally feels comfortable with at any given moment. But then he says “if the Supreme Court asks me or my Attorney General or Solicitor General, do we think that [denial of gay marriage] meets constitutional muster, I felt it was important for us to answer that question honestly -- and the answer is no.” So what is the basis for supporting gay marriage, the “evolution” of social mores or equal rights under the 14th Amendment? Because the latter requires an end to unequal marriage everywhere in the country, regardless of whether there has been sufficient evolution on this issue in the parts of the country that don’t, you know, believe in evolution, and I don’t see Obama making any effort along those lines.

I wrote all that before continuing with the transcript, where the LA Times reporter asked a follow-up asking about that very thing. He flails a bit, saying that the Court asked specifically about Prop 8 and heightened scrutiny and what he would do if he were on the Court but he isn’t, none of which amounts to an answer about what he’s doing to remove this unconstitutional deprivation of rights.

OR IT COULD BE A DUMB APOCALYPSE: The sequester “is not going to be a apocalypse, I think as some people have said. It’s just dumb.”

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  1. Of course, if I recall correctly, while Bill Clinton may have had Jedi mind melds and secret sauce, it was Dubya who was obsessed with magic wands.

  2. He was.