After failing to acknowledge the president’s “private sector is fine” comment was big deal, the media are now telling us it was a mere gaffe.

Nonsense. A “gaffe” is a mistake. This was not. The president has no agenda to revive the private sector; he, rather, is miffed that Congress didn’t act on his 2011 stimulus demand to fund more teachers and other public-sector employees. He is certain that the road back to recovery is to borrow more, hire more public employees and raise taxes.

Liz Cheney on Fox News Sunday said it exactly right:

[I]f more government spending were the answer, then Greece would now be experiencing a new golden age. So obviously more government spending is not the answer. . . . I actually don’t think this was a gaffe. This is what President Obama believes. And I think it is interesting if you look at what’s happened, which is that you’ve got responsible governors like Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, even to some extent Governor Cuomo, a Democrat in New York, who are tightening their own budgets, who are going through a process of fiscal responsibility, who are reducing their state deficits, who are reducing unemployment, but as a result, they have had to in fact cut the government rolls. And the president’s prescription now is to use federal tax dollars to come in and essentially undo that. You know, the president ought to be in a situation where he is saying what is working at the state level, let’s put that in play here, let’s make this a better place for the private sector to invest, let’s cut taxes and let’s reduce government. Instead he’s actually trying to undo even the good that is being done at the state level.

Moreover, the news conference was part of the Friday message for the Obama team. That day the campaign released an ad touting Obama’s plans to hire more public-sector employees and raise taxes. In short, the near-total focus on public-sector hiring is both a sop to the public-employee unions that took it on the chin in Wisconsin and a dearly held objective for a president whose philosophy envisions a larger and larger public sector.

By making the “private sector is doing fine” the focus of the debacle, the media ignore the far more egregious problem: Obama thinks government isn’t big enough and doesn’t hire enough people, a concept entirely at odds with economic reality and with the views of most voters.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels observed on Sunday that Obama’s emphasis on the public sector “could be read cynically as simply playing to the core constituency of the president, which is government itself and people who profit from it.” He, however, concludes it is something far more pernicious:

He doesn’t understand where wealth and jobs come from. It comes from a successful private sector or not at all.

You know, we’ve got the biggest government and the weakest recovery on record. I think honestly, the president — this week he said, if I read correctly and to my amazement, he said the private sector is doing just fine. It’s government that needs more money.

Well, government doesn’t create wealth or income. It just shuffles it around and charges a price and cost for that service or disservice. . . .

Now, this is [a] tired and discredited theory. But I do think that the president sincerely believes it. And there, I guess, [is] a fundamental disagreement that the American people will have to settle this fall.

You can see why the Obama rooting section would rather focus on the “private sector is doing fine” part of the press conference. As horribly dumb as that statement was, it is not so damaging as the underlying philosophy that the president so cavalierly displayed.