Obama Is Back on the Campaign Trail – Again
Returns to Tone of Arrogance and Defiance
For a few minutes the other night between the Senate and House votes on the bill to reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling, President Obama was cautiously low-key and conciliatory in a brief White House statement.
But the next morning, only hours after he signed the legislation, he was back in form as the Campaigner-In-Chief, blowing his own horn and bashing Republicans. He was petulant, arrogant and defiant. For good measure, he threw in a hefty dose of anger.
The setting was the grandeur of the White House State Dining Room. The audience was his own staff, props for the theatrical setting designed for a national television audience.
Here are excerpts from the president’s speech with commentary in parentheses to interpret what he really meant:
- “Now, there’s been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown. But let’s be clear: There are no winners here. These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy. We don’t know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it slowed our growth.”
(There was a clear political winner. It was me. Don’t look at me when it comes to economic damage. It certainly was “completely unnecessary.” The Republicans did it.)
- “But probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we’ve seen these past several weeks. It’s encouraged our enemies. It’s emboldened our competitors. And it’s depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership.”
(The damage done to America by the Republican “spectacle” is so bad it even encouraged our foreign enemies. They actually endangered our country. And look what it’s done to our friends, who always look to me for “steady leadership.”)
- “And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that’s grow this economy; create good jobs; strengthen the middle class; educate our kids; lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul.”
(It’s time to focus on me. Those right-wing radio guys, lobbyists, and bloggers are a national menace. Besides, I’m only interested in my radio guys, lobbyists, and bloggers.)
- “And sometimes, we’ll be just too far apart to forge an agreement. But that should not hold back our efforts in areas where we do agree. We shouldn’t fail to act on areas that we do agree or could agree just because we don’t think it’s good politics; just because the extremes in our party don’t like the word ‘compromise.’”
(We should always agree on my policies. It’s always good politics to agree with me. It’s the extremes in the Republican Party who don’t like the word “compromise.”)
- “I will look for willing partners wherever I can to get important work done. And there’s no good reason why we can’t govern responsibly, despite our differences, without lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis. In fact, one of the things that I hope all of us have learned these past few weeks is that it turns out smart, effective government is important.
(There are no “willing partners” in the Republican Party. They are not interested in getting the “important work done”– meaning my work. And let’s hear it for our beloved federal government, the real winner in this clever “manufactured crisis” that I arranged.)
- You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don’t break it. Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That’s not being faithful to what this country is about.
(Will the Republican Party please remember that I was elected president – twice? They lost. How dare they work to “break” unquestioned presidential power that our predecessors built over two centuries. Let’s be faithful to what this country is about – me.)