Having proposed in his own budget a level of spending that sends deficits to record levels, President Obama told the nation tonight that he desires to move the country from an era of borrowing and spending to an era of saving and investment. When pressed on how he plans to get to the saving and investment era given the record spending and borrowing he has proposed, the President invoked his proposed health care savings. However he’s proposing record health care spending so how will the borrowing and spending produce savings via record health care spending? The President’s answer was to ask viewers to not pay attention to the out year budget projections and to give his proposals time. OK, what about the near term projections of record deficits? Well, those were (surprise)…inherited. But how do we get from here to the promised land? Trust him, he says.
In the face of a growing wave of facts that contradicted rhetoric some viewers asked the obvious:
In review: Why did we have a primetime news conference tonight? What was the news? What was his message? I’m so confused by WH’s strategy…
In another awkward moment Jake Tapper asked if the President would sign a budget that did not include a middle class tax cut or his proposed cap and trade tax. After the now characteristic three to five minute meander around the question, here’s how the exchange concluded:
TAPPER: So is that a yes, sir? You’re willing to sign a budget that doesn’t have those two provisions?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No; I — what I said was — is I haven’t seen yet what provisions are in there. The bottom line is — is that I want to see health care, energy, education and serious efforts to reduce our budget deficit. And there are going to be a lot of details that are still being worked out. But I have confidence that we’re going to be able to get a budget done that’s reflective of what needs to happen in order to make sure that America grows.
The President and his advisors must believe these press conferences are helping the administration but the overall effect here in flyover country is that this president is all style and no substance. Jokes about the teleprompter aside, tonight’s performance was weak and utterly opaque. Purely from a political standpoint I would hazard to say that Bill Clinton could maybe pull off something akin to this but Barack Obama is not in his league. (Hillary must be getting quite a chuckle out of this charade.)