President Obama’s interview with Steve Kroft last night on “60 Minutes” was quite fascinating. The president purported to believe that his opponents in Congress just don’t like him. He tried to gloss over the deep philosophical divisions (which he stresses in other venues) between the two parties. Here is how the president views his opposition:

"Anything Obama's for, we're against, because that's our best chance of winning an election," I don't think the American people would see that as a failure on my part. My preference is that they'd have a different attitude.

You know, I've been joking with my staff lately that I think in my next speech, I am gonna say, "I am adamantly opposed to investing in education and putting teachers in the classroom. I'm adamantly opposed to rebuilding America and putting construction workers back to work."

And I'm thinking maybe suddenly Republicans might be for it. But, you know, keep in mind, I'm talking about Republican members of Congress. I'm not talking about Republicans around the country.

I mean, the interesting thing is the majority of Republicans actually think we should have a balanced approach to deficit reduction, including tax increases for the wealthy. The majority of Republicans do think that we should make investments in roads and bridges and improving our airports and investing in basic research and medical research.

So if you take my name out of it and just look at the ideas that we've been presenting, these are common sense, mainstream ideas that Republican presidents in the past have supported.

This personalizes a conflict over policy differences and misstates the position of his opponents. The administration’s positions on taxes, regulation, and the role of the private sector versus the public sector could not be more at variance to the positions of the opponents Mr. Obama insists just don’t like him personally. This is not personal, Mr. President.

The president refused to recognize the failure of the stimulus—indeed, if you notice all the things he still wants to do (improve airports investing in “basic” research and medical research), he is really calling for continued stimulus. 

The stimulus package spent a billion dollars on airports, but much of the money went to projects that didn’t meet requirements. One of the grants was $14.7 million to improve an airport in an Alaskan village with a population of about 170 people.

As for “basic” research, my favorite item is the $71, 623 awarded to a project at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center that studies what happens to monkeys when they get high on cocaine.  Runner-up in the “basic” research category: $1 million to photograph and analyze exotic ants in the Southwest Indian Ocean.

In the interview, the president reiterated his belief that the very rich should be “asked” to pay more in taxes (presumably for additional nifty projects such as these?). Mr. President, the IRS does more than “ask,” and confiscating more money from citizens, even the evil rich, is not the way to create jobs or prosperity.

In the interview, the president says it’s up to him to put forth a “vision” for the country. It could be argued that once one is elected president it is policies more than airy visions that matter. I love the president’s description of our current predicament:

And, you know, sometimes when I'm talking to my team, I describe us as, you know, I'm the captain and they're the crew on a ship, going through really bad storms.

And no matter how well we're steering the ship, if the boat's rocking back and forth and people are getting sick and, you know, they're being buffeted by the winds and the rain and, you know, at a certain point, if you're asking, "Are you enjoying the ride right now?" Folks are gonna say, "No." And [if you] say, "Do you think the captain's doing a good job?" People are gonna say, "You know what? A good captain would have had us in some smooth waters and sunny skies, at this point."

And I don't control the weather.   

But you are the captain.