My thoughts as the interview progresses:
He says: Investment banking not like it was 20 years ago, when investment bankers only made 20 times what teachers made, not 200 times.
I say: Are you kidding me? Remember Drexel and Michael Milkin? Remember the people who inspired the movie Wall Street? And by the way, what about how many millions have you made from your books, including the recent $500,000 deal. How many times a teacher’s salary do you make? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, that’s capitalism baby.
He says: The limit on what we can spend is our ability to finance these expenditures through borrowing.
I say: Exactly. And the only people left from whom we can borrow money are the Chinese. Not a good situation. Don’t you see this? What happens when they can’t or won’t keep buying our paper? What happens the next time they harrass our navy ships — will you choose our sailors or the cash? I know you say you will choose our sailors, but aren’t we more vulnerable because of how dependent we are on the Chinese?
He says: We are already beginning to see flickers of the housing market recovering.
I say: Agreed. So why spend trillions? Let the markets work their way through this, as already is happening. You can prop up housing prices a little bit, but ultimately a house only is worth what someone will pay for it.
He says: There has to be a little gallows humor when talking about the economy.
I say: Agreed. Pass the rope.
He says: Priority of the mission in Afghanistan is making sure al–Qaeda cannot attack our homeland.
I say: Agreed.
He says: Disagrees with Dick Cheney on interrogation techniques at Gitmo and elsewhere. V.P. Cheney at head of movement that we can’t reconcile core values with national security interests. Wrong conclusion from history, facts don’t bear him out. How many convictions came out of Gitmo, just a great advertisement for recruiting Muslim fighters.
I say: You don’t know what you are talking about. You have killed children who happened to be in the vicinity of terrorists when you authorized the firing of missiles from drones. You didn’t give them rights. So you can kill them, but not ask questions harshly. There is a line to be drawn, but drawing it too far towards non-interrogation will result in loss of life. That sort of attitude led to 9/11.
He says: Do these folks deserve Miranda rights? Of course not.
I say: Write that down and save the tape. Make sure that tape is played to Eric Holder.
He says: How long will we go, until the entire Muslim and Arab world despises us?
I say: Which came first, the hatred or our response? Do they go through the same thought process. How long will we go, until all Americans or Christians hate us? Of course not. This self-flagellation is completely one-sided, and that is the problem. You just saw how the Iranians reacted to your videotape; can’t you see the truth right in front of your eyes that our defense against terrorist attack is not the cause of the problem.
He says: Hardest part of job is faced with bad choices based on decisions made a year or two ago.
I say: The buck passes here. Take responsibility for what you are doing. Every President inherits problems. George Bush inherited the stock market bubble which started bursting 9 months before he took office, and a defensive terrorist policy which treated al–Qaeda as a Justice Department problem, much like you are doing. Be a leader, not a whiner.
He says: Kids are still sweet, happy, and unpretentious.
I say: If so, good job insulating them from the craziness.
He says: The bubble the White House represents is tough. Can’t listen to what folks are saying at the next table.
I say: I say. Hmm… you are sounding like Dick Cheney. Maybe there’s hope for you yet.
Some things I’m glad they didn’t get into:
Has Obama ever gone nude winter hiking?
Is Sarah Palin too sexy?
Does Obama let his kids write on the furniture?
Does Michelle believe that internet addition is good for children?
Is Ezra Klein a “crapweasel“
What is Obama’s favorite Obama kitsch?
Does Obama prefer Pork Brains In Milk Gravy or Testicles In Béchamel Sauce?
Is “Gobbledygook” Racist?
Do you dig Abbie Hoffman?
Is it true that Michell loves it when you say hellooo?
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