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Obama, GOP, Agree on Stimulus for Hypocrisy

President Obama today said he would refuse to accept a short term increase in the debt ceiling – even one as long as six months – raising the pressure on Republicans to bargain toward the kind of robust deal he favors that would find $4 trillion in savings through spending cuts and tax increases.

Republicans have said “no thanks,” and want an agreement on about $2.5 trillion in savings that would not include tax increases.

Obama in the briefing room
Obama at today's press conference, trying to explain the unexplainable. Photo by Keith Koffler

So Republicans, having threatened economic armageddon unless they get what they want, are now faced with a president willing to give it to them. And Obama, who sends his deputies forth daily to describe the calamitous consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling, now says he won’t do it unless he gets what he wants.

And each side says the other is playing politics.

With the mutual game of chicken coming home to roost, desperate politicians are now emitting rhetoric that is increasingly divorced from reality and their own previous opinions.

Obama, who spoke today a press conference in the White House briefing room, evinced an inconsistency so spectacular that it begs the question of whether he has any thought these days except the politics of the moment.

Where to begin?

After insisting until just a couple of months ago on a “clean” increase in the debt ceiling that would extend government operations through 2012, he now says he won’t agree to even a short term increase unless Republicans agree to vast deficit reduction measures. It’s a mind boggling change of position.

And how about this triple meat whopper?

If we think it’s going to be hard — if we think it’s hard now, imagine how these guys are going to be thinking six months from now in the middle of election season where they’re all up.  It’s not going to get easier.  It’s going to get harder.  So we might as well do it now — pull off the Band-Aid; eat our peas.

Eat our peas? But until just a few weeks ago, it was White House policy not to use the debt ceiling to cut spending – but to instead wait until the annual budget train wreck, which would have started in late October and continued right through the Iowa Caucuses.

And lets look at how he put it:

The things that I will not consider are a 30-day or a 60-day or a 90-day or a 180-day temporary stopgap resolution to this problem.  This is the United States of America, and we don’t manage our affairs in three-month increments.

Well, gosh, we sure do. How about the several weeks-long continuing resolutions he signed as budget negotiations dragged from last last year into this one.

And somebody explain to me the consistency of passing an $800 billion stimulus package to boost the economy in 2009 and now, while the economy is still struggling, agreeing to trillions in budget cuts. Please explain to me the novel economic theory that undergirds such an idea.

And then he put the frosting on the multilayer cake of absurdity he had baked:

And this is part of the problem with a political process where folks are rewarded for saying irresponsible things to win elections or obtain short-term political gain.

Yes, he knows all about such a political process. But so do Republican leaders.

“Nobody is talking about not raising the debt ceiling,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Fox News Sunday.

Really? I thought that was the premise of the Republican position. Boy, talk about having your cake and eating it. If Republicans think reducing the deficit is worth risking a U.S. default, then they need to be honest about the path they’ve put us on. They’ve said they are willing to destroy the village in order to save it. So own up to it.

And Obama in his remarks today had a point about the need to compromise in a divided government. Republicans, who control only the House, are insisting that their position against any tax increases at all must prevail.

Obama noted high mindedly that, you know, this is still a democracy, and people have to give in a little. This is true, except that it was also true when Obama rammed a sweeping overhaul of the nations health care through Congress on a party line vote.

Ahh, Washington. Maybe Obama’s eleves are still are doing some secret work on hope to give us for Christmas. Because they’ve certainly failed to create change.

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17 Responses to Obama, GOP, Agree on Stimulus for Hypocrisy

  1. They finally did it, this exercise in how not to reach a consensus on a budget has everyone confused. Is the House for the tax cuts or just for raising the debt ceiling while cutting trillions of dollars from some mysterious project or department? But, if they’re all in agreement to raise the debt ceiling, it’s unclear why because they’re cutting trillions of dollars from some mysterious project or department. Or something.
    I need a drink.

    • Now I had my drink.
      The Prez wants to raise the borrowing limit of debt but is willing to cut expenses only if we raise more money by taxing ScroogeMcDuck , his flying lily pad and drain the pond.
      CongBoehner wants to limit expenditures , raise the debt limit, and not raise taxes on anyone because, then, even though we will still not be solvent but owe China our first born children, everyone will still have their job in DC come 2012..
      Right?

    • Same here! I sort of squint and don’t even attempt to follow this raving anymore… By the way, did you see that the pea farmers objected? That is America! There is hope!

  2. And this is part of the problem with a political process where folks are rewarded for saying irresponsible things to win elections or obtain short-term political gain.

    Ow! It really hurts when my jaw hits the floor like that.

  3. “Republicans have said “no thanks,” and want an agreement on about $2.5 trillion in savings that would not include tax cuts.”
    I’m hoping the Republicans said tax increases rather than cuts.

    Why place blame for this debt crisis on the House Republicans? They were sent to Congress to get these 60’s revolutionary retreads and their progeny under control. They are doing exactly what the majority of the voters asked them to do. Obama is the one who chose to present them an offer the Republicans can not accept. If they were to agree to new taxes, the Republican party would be history. He’s asking them to commit hara-kiri.

    I agree McConnell and Boehner need to own up and say we’re not going to raise the debt ceiling if the deal includes new taxes. Just tell us the truth. There will be no automatic default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by 2 August. The government has a constitutional mandate to pay creditors first. If there is a default, Obama and Tim Geithner own it. Probably just a coincidence but Ramadan starts on 1 August.

  4. I hope the pea farmers of America have as big a fit over his smart a$$ comment as the broccoli farmers did when George HW Bush said he was going to ban broccoli from AF1 because he hated it.

    But then again, the MSM will probably call them a bunch of red neck, in-breds who do not understand subtle humor. The farmers of this country need to stop selling food that is going to feed the insane “power brokers” in Washington. Let the politicians “eat cake!”