Or just the lowest hanging fruit of the week?
This past week, SNL mocked Obama’s fear-mongering over the sequester.
But SNL went even further, mocking Obama’s economic ignorance, having his character say: ”I really have no idea how money works or how budgets work.” (h/t NRO)
This attitude, while a joke here, reflects an incident during the 2011 budget negotiations reported by Bob Woodward.
Reid began to lay out the two-step $2.7 -trillion debt limit extension, then stopped. He was not a details guy. “Well, let David just tell you what it is,” he said.
It was highly unusual for someone to pass the ball so completely to a staffer. The 44-year-old Krone outlined the plan, including a secret Republican pledge to count $1 trillion in savings from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan toward deficit reduction. That was surprising. Earlier, Boehner had not been willing to accept this accounting gimmick.
“I don’t trust these guys,” the president said dismissively.
Krone either would not or could not conceal his anger.
“Wait a second,” Obama said, interrupting someone else who was about to speak. “I can tell David has something else to say.”
“Mr. President, I am sorry — with all due respect — that we are in this situation that we’re in, but we got handed this football on Friday night. And I didn’t create this situation. The first thing that baffles me is, from my private-sector experience, the first rule that I’ve always been taught is to have a Plan B. And it is really disheartening that you, that this White House did not have a Plan B.”
Several jaws dropped as the Hill staffer blasted the president to his face.
Ed Morrissey commented:
This administration has never had a Plan B. Obama has never run any organization of consequence, certainly not any in the private sector, where executives have to constantly adapt to changing conditions and prepare backup strategies in case projects fail. Obama comes from Academia, where all of his policies work in theory, and so failure means insisting on sticking with the failed policies because they’ll eventually work.
That’s why Obama won’t produce a second-term agenda. It’s the same failed policies as his first, because Obama never has a Plan B. And that is disheartening indeed, as long as he’s in office.
I guess the good news is that if the President really supported the Simpson-Bowles recommendations, the sequester has just about forced them upon him. Marc Thiessen writes With the sequester, Obama gets his ‘balanced’ approach:
Well the “dumbness” of the sequester can easily be fixed — and it looks like Obama and Congressional Republicans are going to do that. The New York Times reports that “the president and his Republican adversaries said they would not carry the fight over the cuts into a coming legislative effort to finance the government through Sept. 30, essentially declaring a cease-fire in the budget wars that have dominated Washington since 2011.” Instead of using the threat of a government shut down on March 27 to force Republicans to replace the sequester with more spending and higher taxes, Obama has apparently agreed to sign a continuing resolution that locks in the sequester levels of spending and gives him flexibility to choose how and where to cut, so that vital programs are not adversely impacted.
What this means is that, by sticking to their guns in the sequester showdown, Republicans have actually forced Obama into the “balanced approach” he called for but did not actually pursue. We are now almost at the Simpson-Bowles 3-to-1 ratio. Unfortunately, Washington is not doing it in a way that promotes growth. The cuts come from discretionary programs, when it is entitlement spending that is driving our long-term debt and deficits. And the revenues come from raising tax rates on small businesses and the wealthy, rather than lowering tax rates, eliminating preferences and simplifying the tax code.
Still, keep in mind where Obama wanted to take the country. His original demand in the fiscal cliff negotiations last year was a $1.6 trillion tax paired with a $50 billion spending increase. Instead, a few months later, he got a $620 billion tax increase paired with a $1.72 trillion spending cut.
Republicans should be reminding everyone that they got the President to endorse the policy – a balanced approach – he advocated.
For those who have forgotten, Boehner agreed to a short-term debt increase — setting up the crisis to hit after the sequester went into effect and before the continuing resolution expired at the end of March.
The president took the bait by warning darkly about the apocalypse that would surely result if the government cut the growth of government spending by 5 percent. My good friend Ray LaHood, the U.S. Transportation secretary, complained about long airport lines related to the already unpopular TSA, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned that she would have to let illegal immigrants out of jail, and Attorney General Eric Holder assured voters that America would be less safe if government spending growth were curtailed.
And for their efforts, Team Obama was roundly mocked. “Saturday Night Live” did a hilarious skit over the weekend that had the president trot out the Village People to show how deep the cuts would hurt. When they are laughing at you, Mr. President, you aren’t winning.
John Podhoretz identifies why the President’s position was so weak:
But seriously, folks: Has there ever been a time in history when a president proposed a policy he himself thought was wrongheaded and dangerous?
The last chapter in the budget battles hasn’t been written, but it looks like President Obama figured he could get what he wanted by simply blaming the Republicans and expecting a pliant media to cover for him.
This is why so many of the President’s defenders turned on Bob Woodward.
Woodward’s reporting has been essential in exposing the President’s game.