After having assured retiring Democratic Congressman Marion Berry that the defining difference between his administration in 2010 and that of a far more accomplished and experienced politician like Bill Clinton in 1994 is the very power of his personality and appeal, we learn tonight that The Won will throw us a fiscal bone during the State of Union address Wednesday.
President Obama plans to announce a three-year freeze on discretionary, “non-security” spending in the lead-up to Wednesday’s State of the Union address, Hill Democratic sources familiar with the plan tell POLITICO.
The move, intended to blunt the populist backlash against Obama’s $787 billion stimulus and an era of trillion-dollar deficits — and to quell Democratic anxiety over last Tuesday’s Massachusetts Senate election — is projected to save $250 billion, the Democrats said.
The freeze would not apply to defense spending or spending on intelligence, homeland security or veterans.
The proposal is in line with a plan floated by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), a fiscal hawk, who told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt last week that there was a “fighting chance” Obama would propose a freeze in most discretionary spending by the federal government as part of his address.
News alert for Senator Bayh: No one will believe this, and if you thought this might help your decline in the polls against a potential challenge by Mike Pence then you obviously haven’t noticed that that ship, like the one in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia and New York has already sailed.
If the President wanted to make a serious impression on voters he could end the TARP slush fund, walk away from ObamaCare (and all of its iterations), strong arm the repeal of the Stimulus Legislation, veto Cap and Trade and, in general, act as William Jefferson Clinton did in 1995. All of these things might give him a fighting chance, but as Dan noted below, this president wouldn’t know the difference between a life preserver and an anvil (unless of course, he could see his own reflection on the shiny surface of the anvil….but that’s an evil thought for another post). Because of his superior political instincts, Clinton lunged for the life preserver. Obama, it seems, continues to beg for the anvil. So be it. Let him have it.
Republicans in Congress should ask for a specific list of discretionary spending cuts that Obama will freeze and promptly compare them with disbusements already made under the 2009 Stimulus Bill. These comparisons should make for good campaign ad material in 2010. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the first signal from Hillary that she has seen enough. As much as I despised the Clintons and their policy, they were accomplished and proven politicians who must be greatly offended by the amateurs occupying their former place of business.
It gets so much better. Liberal Democrats are having a fit already.
Obama will promise to veto any budget that exceeds that threshold, NOT adjusted for inflation, over the next three years. $250 billion would be saved over the baseline. Here’s the talking point: this component of government spending will be at its lowest level relative to GDP since 1950.
Liberals fear that discretionary spending cuts are like fig leaves with sharp edges. They’re designed to cover something ugly and yet they hurt — they hurt those who most rely on government services, who tend to poor and non-white.
Hmmm, “fig leaves with sharp edges“? I’ll leave it to our readers to discuss how the language of the debate is looking for BHO.
Update Two: The Weekly Standard is telling Bill Clinton to call the office.
Regarding President Obama’s extraordinary “Well, the big difference [between] here and in ’94 was you’ve got me” comment to Arkansas congressman Marion Berry: Well, in ’94 they had Bill Clinton–who had won statewide in a pretty conservative state (Arkansas) something like seven times, and who was the fourth challenger in the 20th century to oust an incumbent elected president, following in the footsteps on Wilson, FDR, and Reagan. Clinton got on the wrong side of the voters in ’94, but recovered and was the first Democrat re-elected to the presidency since FDR. Judging from this comment, unless Obama’s instinct for self-preservation overcomes his egotism, and his ambition subordinates his narcissism, Obama won’t be the second.
Meanwhile, my colleage Matt Continetti has left a message with President Clinton’s spokesman at the Clinton Global Initiative requesting an interview. President Clinton–this is no time to be a shrinking violet. Call Matt at 202-293-4900. He’ll be glad to talk.
I am tempted to say I would pay to watch this comedy but I actually already am, I just don’t know the price. But it is priceless none the less.