I was right, mostly. The serious, conciliatory Obama showed up at the press conference today. The only reasonable person in the room was the theme.
I was wrong to the extent that in his opening statement and throughout Obama framed the issue as the Republicans not being serious, not living up to their word in trying to tackle the deficits, not wanting to deal with an issue that must be dealt with “if not now, when?” It was the fist covered with a velvet glove.
There also were some comments peppered throughout about Democrats not wanting to deal with entitlements. But such comments were few and far between.
Mostly it was Obama pushing the theme of “I’m reasonable” and they are not. We need to “eat our peas” and “pull off the bandaid,” he said, with plenty of class warfare, bringing up the “corporate jet owners” and oil companies again.
It also was a rewrite of history. A completely irresponsible president who just months ago proposed a budget with devastating deficits, repeatedly demanded that the deficits and debt be dealt with now, without any delay. Where has he been for two years?
“Part of what the Republican caucus needs to recognize is that government works when …. we’re able to make sensible compromises….” Like Obamacare and Stimulus? Like almost everything this administration has done for two years? Like how Obama lashed into Republicans after Paul Ryan proposed a solution to the Medicare problem?
Obama also stated: “I will not sign a 30 day, or 60 day, or 90 day extension.” Those might be famous last words.
It was a good press conference, for Obama, because he was largely unchallenged, and was permitted to frame the issue for the 2012 campaign. In other words, Obama was able to deal with his own failures without acknowledging any of those failures.