Obama’s Press Conference: Subdued But Defiant

The President opened his first post election press conference by admitting it had been “a long night.”  He spoke in subdued tones, compared to his recent, vitriolic campaign speeches.  Then he summarized his analysis of the election results:

Yesterdays vote confirms people are frustrated with the pace of economic recovery…they want jobs to come back faster, they want paychecks to go further and they want to give their children the same chances they had in life…we’ve made progress but clearly too many Americans haven’t felt that progress yet…As President I take responsibility for that.

One might have gotten the impression that he was willing to alter course.  But as he answered questions from reporters he contradicted that impression.  He remained subdued but his words were defiant.

When asked if the voters weren’t rejecting his policies he merged into a more subtle version of it’s-Bush’s-fault:

Over the past two years we’ve made a series of very tough decisions but decisions that were right in terms of moving the country forward in an emergency situation where we had the risk of slipping into a second great depression…Maybe folks thought this was the agenda rather than a response to an emergency…

He must think voters either are stupid or forgot what Rahm Emanuel, his Chief of staff famously told us was their guiding doctrine: “Never let a crisis go to waste.” Obama and his team deliberately used the emergency, or crisis as it was called then, as justification for vast expansion of government.  Voters think that’s the agenda because it is the agenda!

Asked if voters rejected his policy ideas he responded:

I think that what I think is absolutely true is voters are not satisfied with the outcomes. If right now we had 5 percent unemployment instead of 9.6 percent unemployment, then people would have more confidence in those policy choices…And so my job is to make sure that I’m looking at all ideas that are on the table. When it comes to job creation, if Republicans have good ideas for job growth that can drive down the unemployment rate, and we haven’t thought of them, we haven’t looked at them but we think they have a chance of working, we want to try some.

Obama constantly uses the word “we” when “they” or “them” would be more appropriate.  But in this case “we” seems to mean himself and his advisers.  So if “WE” meaning Obama thinks an idea has “a chance of working” he’ll OK it.  But he considers himself supreme commander of the economy and will not try anything that isn’t consistent with his personal dogma.

Here’s the problem with his dogma: Low unemployment is a result of, an indicator of prosperity.  But prosperity also brings a lot of indicators he and the hard left dislike: high business profits, high returns on investments and more millionaires.

He was asked if the new health care law was “in danger” of being repealed by the new Republican Congress.  He agreed that Republicans “feel strongly” but dismissed the notion of repeal:

I think we’d be misreading the election if we thought that the American people want to see us for the next two years relitigate arguments that we had over the last two years.

He then expressed the more of the same defiant attitude that he is the final judge of the wisdom of any idea:

Now, if the Republicans have ideas for how to improve our health care system, if they want to suggest modifications that would deliver faster and more effective reform to a health care system that has been wildly expensive for too many families and businesses and certainly for our federal government, I’m happy to consider some of those ideas.

In fact, Republicans and various think tanks and insurance companies did offer serious, realistic ideas during the health care debate but he dismissed them all without consideration.  His response indicates again, as with the economy, that he places himself on the pedestal, the supreme judge of what would or would not be “more effective.”

Obama offered “the 1099 provision” as an example of something he might “take a look at.”  This requires small businesses to keep records of, and report to the IRS the amounts spent for goods and services they purchase from each store or vendor.  While repealing this requirement is a good idea it has nothing to do with health care or health insurance.  It was included in the bill on the hope of extracting a small amount of additional tax revenue from businesses to offset health care costs.

By mentioning 1099s instead of any of the draconian new insurance regulations or the requirement that every citizen purchase health insurance, or any of the scores of new bureaucracies, Obama has signaled that he is unwilling to consider any substantive change to the health care law.

He was asked about spending and deficits.  His defiant answer in part:

We already had a big deficit that I inherited, and that has been made worse because of the recession.

Bush’s fault again.  But in fact, Obama has proudly boasted of all the additional spending he and the Democrats added to the 2009 and 2010 budgets.  He did not “inherit” Trillion dollar deficits.  He caused them with profligate increases in spending, even as tax revenues declined due to the recession.  If he was truly an unwilling heir he would have tried to bring spending down, closer to revenues.Obama Deficits

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