Not sure I’ve seen as weird a presidential appearance in the press room as Barack Obama’s on Friday, when an angry president sought to evade any blame of the breakdown of debt ceiling talks. What happened? John Podhoretz at Contentions, the Commentary magazine blog, has a disturbing take:
An enraged Barack Obama just took to the nation’s airwaves to announce his effort to strike a deal with Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has fallen apart. Perhaps for the first time in American history, this president is literally using this press conference to create a financial panic over the weekend about the opening of the markets on Monday. He is warning of disaster on Monday. Clearly, he wants to use this as leverage to frighten the GOP into passing the plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, which will push the debt ceiling problem into 2013, but it’s still an entirely new and astonishingly reckless gambit.
I got up this morning with a gnawing fear that the markets will tank on Monday, wiping out retirement funds that represent years of working from millions of people. We will not endure our run in silence. The president will want to speak to us again. Listening to him is taking its toll on the nation. As Peggy Noonan writes:
He’s like a walking headache. He’s probably triggering Michele Bachmann’s migraines.
The Gang of Six members themselves should have been given the stage to make their own announcement, and their own best case.
The president, if he is seriously trying to avert a debt crisis, should stay in his office, meet with members, and work the phones, all with a new humility, which would be well received. It is odd how he patronizes those with more experience and depth in national affairs.
He should keep his face off TV. He should encourage, cajole, work things through, be serious, get a responsible deal, and then re-emerge with joy and the look of a winner as he jointly announces it to the nation. Then his people should leak that he got what he wanted, the best possible deal, and the left has no idea the ruin he averted and the thanks they owe him.
He has “summoned” leaders of Congress to the White House again this morning. Why on earth can’t leave them along and let them go to their offices and work? What goes on at those hugger mugger meetings at the White House anyway? Does he talk at them the whole time?
The White House sessions are beginning to sound like detention hall. Only more painful. I imagine our congressional leaders being lectured by our Eddie Haskell-like proctor–I mean president–who sets false deadlines and then reminds them that Malia and Sasha have already done their homework. Malia and Sasha, of course, aren’t trying to avert national disaster.
This may not be too bad for Saturday school if you got caught passing notes in study hall. But this is no way to run a country. Speaker Boehner seems to know this. He has now said he is switching to trying to work out something with leaders in the Congress. Let’s hope he gets to work today instead of going to Barack Obama’s annoying detention hall.
Speaker Boehner is so fed up that he actually put out a statement saying that the White House has mislead reporters about what has actually been going on behind closed doors at the White House. The Washington Post’s “Right Turn” blogger, Jennifer Rubin has the statement:
The White House is misleading reporters tonight by claiming that new revenue in the framework that was discussed would have been generated by letting the current tax rates expire. That is simply false. Under the framework, a CEILING was offered by the White House that would generate $800 billion in new revenue over ten years. This would be done through comprehensive tax reform that would clear out deductions, credits, and loopholes in the system – and spur economic growth.
Boehner also gave his inside-the-room account of what actually went on, what the White House offered and then didn’t offer. This account gives you an idea of what Boehner meant when he recently compared negotiating with the president to nailing Jell-O to the wall. But the most amazing aspect of the statement was that Boehner made it at all. Rubin:
The fact that Boehner and others would release this information shows the degree to which the White House lost his trust. Only when one party feels jerked around and set up to fail does this sort of thing occur. Is the president trying to bring about a default? It sure seems that way.