No wonder the White House was so incensed over Bob Woodward’s insistence that it was the originator of the sequester. When the president today proclaims, “We shouldn’t be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things,” he sounds ridiculous. Who came up with the “dumb” cuts? And no wonder the liberal spinmeisters argued so vehemently that authorship doesn’t matter. They understood all too well that this makes pronoucements like today’s stunningly hypocritical.
Minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell issued a statement on the meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders earlier today :
“Today’s meeting was an opportunity to restate our commitment to the American people that we would significantly reduce Washington spending. Over the coming weeks, we’ll have the opportunity to ensure funding is at the level we promised while working on solutions for making spending reductions more intelligently than the President’s across-the-board cuts. But I want to make clear that any solutions will be done through the regular order, with input from both sides of the aisle in public debate. I will not be part of any back-room deal and I will absolutely not agree to increase taxes.”
The speaker of the House’s office emailed that the speaker also insisted on “regular order” and issued a similar readout, which read in part:
At the White House this morning, Speaker Boehner continued to press the president and Leader Reid to produce a plan to replace the sequester that can actually pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. He suggested the most productive way to resolve the sequester issue will be through regular order. The speaker reminded the president that Congress just last month provided him the tax hike he was seeking without any spending cuts. It’s time to focus on spending, the speaker told the group. The Republican leaders reiterated their willingness to close tax loopholes, but not as a replacement for the sequester’s spending cuts, saying any revenue generated by closing tax loopholes should be used to lower tax rates and create jobs. In other words, Congress will deal with this in the continuing resolution. Again, the sequester act is revealed to be utter nonsense.
But the president says forget the chaos. Ron Fournier remarks on the president’s self-serving press conference: Slyly using the goalposts analogy that got the White House in a twist about Woodward, Fournier comments:
With most of the cuts scheduled to take effect gradually, Americans might conclude that the president exaggerated the impact. He could lose credibility and leverage. Obama appears worried about that. He moved the goal posts Friday, saying Americans won’t feel the effects right away. “The pain, though, will be real,” he said.
Wow, imagine if everyone in the media all along had been so candid and accurate. The president might have felt compelled to drop the woe-is-me routine. Instead, Fournier points out: “It’s come to this: The president of the United States asking a reporter how to avoid a budget crisis — and taking the reporter’s silence, somehow, as confirmation that he is completely right and the GOP is totally wrong.” Actually, this is a long time in coming. The president and his left-leaning pundit blocking team have taken this stance all along — never his fault.
The president in his news conference still insists he’ll make real changes on entitlements. (“I am prepared to do hard things and to push my Democrat — Democratic friends to do hard things”). But he has never put those in a budget or given a concrete plan to the Republicans, let alone released one to the voters. It is almost as if he says one thing and does another.
And then toward the end of the press conference he let the cat out of the bag — ok, the Republicans win and get to keep the Budget Control Act sequester cuts:
QUESTION: Just to make it 100 percent clear, you’d sign a budget that continues to fund the government even at the lower levels of the sequester, even if you don’t (inaudible)?
OBAMA: I’m not going to — I never want to make myself 100 percent clear with you guys. But I think it’s fair to say that I made a deal for a certain budget, certain numbers. There’s no reason why that deal needs to be reopened. It was a deal that Speaker Boehner made as well and all the leadership made. And if the — the bill that arrives on my bill is reflective of the commitments that we previously made, then obviously I would sign it because I want to make sure that we keep on doing what we need to do for the American people.
What about the idea on which my colleague Greg Sargent reported on to use the government shutdown to get the president’s tax hikes? Never mind. The goal posts were moved again.