President Obama met the press today after the Democratic rout last night and said rather condescendingly that he’d leave the job of picking over the election results to the pundits.
It was abundantly clear that the president regards this as an inferior pastime and hasn’t himself spent much time weighing the meaning of the midterms. Nor does he hold himself responsible for the drubbing his party suffered. The Daily Mail summarized the message of the midterms, as received by the president:
'The American people sent a message,' he claimed, 'one that they've sent for several elections now.'
'They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions, and not ours.'
Only a very insular man could see last night's throttling of his party as as registering merely general dissatisfaction with Washington, not him ( exit polls would disabuse a man less impervious to reality of this notion).
The press conference was rambling, ungrammatical, sometimes testy, and filled with bromides. “I enjoy listening to people,”said the man who never listens.
It was also long: I confess that I went to the corner grocery at one point. When I returned, it was still going on.
I thought that the aforementioned Daily Mail captured the entire, interminable presser quite well:
President Barack Obama came out swinging on Wednesday just 14 hours after a Republican wave swept over the U.S. Congress in an election that largely repudiated his policies.
'Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign,' he said, threatening to dust off a veto pen that he has used only twice in nearly six years.
And he hinted at executive orders that will enrage conservatives.
'I'm pretty sure I'll take some actions that some in Congress will not like,' he said. 'That's natural. That's how Democracy works.'
Much of reporters' tussling with the president focused on executive orders related to immigration reform – what some tea party Republicans call an 'amnesty' – which he plans to implement this year.
He acknowledged that the GOP won Tuesday's elections, but framed the results as a mandate for Republicans to work with him, instead of the other way around.
The president said at several points that he needed to find out what the Republicans want—is this man so isolated that he has spend six years in the White House and still has no idea what the opposite party wants to do? The president spoke endlessly about his old chestnuts—infrastructure, early childhood education, and making college more affordable.
It seems clear that the election results were not a wake-up call for President Obama.
President Obama intends to change nothing.