I can tell you most members of the Beltway media, Hill staffers and lawmakers have stopped listening to President Obama’s press conferences. They know by now what he will say. We have to work together. We need a balanced approach. Everyone has to share the pain. The Republicans need to compromise. I’ve made real compromises.
If you missed today’s installation, you didn’t miss much, other than the ludicrous suggestion that the Republicans’ base wants tax hikes. He’s threatening to go to the public. Oh, my. He is at less than 50 percent approval; a majority of the country isn’t going to spring to their phones to holler at the Republicans to make a deal. And that generic Republican presidential candidate is extending his or her lead in the polls.
You could simply recycle clips from press conferences early in the week and you’d be perfectly up to date. The fact that the president is still regurgitating talking points is a sure sign he is not doing anything productive. If he were, he’d stop dragging his nails on the chalkboard, which is how Republicans perceive his public utterances.
Speaker of the House Rep.John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a press release after the president’s speech voicing the frustration of most Republicans on the Hill. Obama says he is presenting major cuts, but he really hasn’t:
“President Obama has been talking tough about cutting spending, but his deeds aren’t matching his words. Consider all of the government boondoggles he has refused to put on the table for cuts: ObamaCare; the so-called ‘green jobs’ initiative; high-speed rail; and a vast array of other pet projects that are unnecessarily costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. While Republicans have focused on the big problems we face, this White House has focused on protecting the status quo. The same holds true for entitlement spending, where the White House has been talking in terms of nickels and dimes at a time when trillions of dollars in serious reforms are needed to preserve the programs and put them on a sustainable path.
We should not get too exercised, however, over what the politicians are saying in public. It’s all for show, partially for their respective bases and partially to give themselves cover if things go right (or wrong). The real action will start when the Senate completes its behind-the-scenes work and the Republican House leadership figures out how to use what the Senate has produced to build a deal acceptable to its caucus.