Raise the debt ceiling. Lower the damned thing. Just do something before that young man lectures us one more time. Frogs? Boils? Locusts? Try sitting through yet another Barack Obama speech. Here is how I felt last night.
There was absolutely no reason for Barack Obama’s scold last night. The president didn’t contribute anything to the cause of getting a debt ceiling deal. In fact, his-er-intransigence may have prevented us from having one already. Jennifer Rubin brilliantly summed up last night:
President Obama’s decision to give a speech tonight was proof that things have not gone well for him. He threw (another) tantrum in the Friday news conference, he turned down a bipartisan deal presented to him Sunday and thereby took himself out of the limelight. Tonight’s speech was not intended to “solve” the impasse but to make sure Obama would get credit if a deal is struck and avoid blame if it is not.
The speech itself was part panic attack, part platitudes and a whole lot of class warfare (corporate jets! hedge fund managers!). …
Not did the Wall Street Journal find leadership in the talk:
The Obama Presidency has been unprecedented in many ways, and last night we saw another startling illustration: A President using a national TV address from the White House to call out his political opposition as unreasonable and radical and blame them as the sole reason for the “stalemate” over spending and the national debt.
We’ve watched dozens of these speeches over the years, and this was more like a DNC fund-raiser than an Oval Office address. Though President Obama referred to the need to compromise, his idea of compromise was to call on the public to overwhelm Republicans with demands to raise taxes. He demeaned the GOP for protecting, in his poll-tested language, “millionaires and billionaires,” for favoring “corporate jet owners and oil companies” over seniors on Medicare, and “hedge fund managers” over “their secretaries.” While he invoked Ronald Reagan, the Gipper would never have used such rhetoric about his opposition on an issue of national moment.
One irony is that Mr. Obama’s demands for tax increases have already been abandoned by Members of his own party in the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid knows that Democrats running for re-election next year don’t want to vote to raise taxes, so he’s fashioning a bill to raise the debt ceiling that includes only reductions in spending. But Mr. Obama never mentioned that rather large fact about Mr. Reid’s effort.
The Journal also noted that the speech was a clever if dishonest effort to insulate the president from responsibility if the U.S. loses its AAA credit rating. But the shirking of adult responsibility from a man who is still blaming his predecessor is to be expected. Speaker John Boehner replied briefly to the president’s speech and noted that deals to raise the debt ceiling without raising taxes are being worked on in Congress. Jennifer Rubin has the last word:
It was a speech entirely divorced from reality. The Senate Democrats can’t pass tax hikes. The grand bargain can’t get through the Congress with jumbo tax hikes. It is he who rejected a deal that had the agreeement of House and Senate leaders. You have to wonder why he set the bar so high. He’ll face the flood of “President Capitulates!” headlines when it doesn’t come about. But the answer lies in the sole and consuming passion of this White House: reelection. Hence, the class warfare and the excuse-mongering.