In the weekend talking head shows, Charles Krauthammer and Senator Marco Rubio point out a curious missing feature in Obama’s ‘proposals’: Real numbers. Details. Specifics. Substance.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: [The President] talks a good game. “Oh, I’m prepared to do entitlements, I’m ready to do entitlements.” Not once has he ever enunciated in public – other than all these leaks which I don’t trust for half a second – one structural change in entitlements, and without that, everybody over the age of nine knows we are not going to get a handle on the debt. So let’s hear him say it in public once.
Marco Rubio, parrying Bob Scheiffer’s ‘why don’t you play nice with the President?’ questions:
MARCO RUBIO: “OK, so where’s the plan? Where’s the president’s plan? I’ve never seen a piece of paper with the president’s name on it that’s his plan to solve this crisis. I’ve seen press conferences. I’ve seen lectures that he’s given to the Congress. I’ve seen these press avails where the camera comes in and takes a bunch of pictures. I haven’t seen a plan. Where is the president’s plan?“
In fact, the President, as is his style, waited until late in the process, inserted himself in it by criticizing other proposals and making demands and deadline for others to meet, yet does not have a specific plan of his own. His positions are, as Speaker Boehner put it, like jello.
The lack of any substance is curious enough, and the corresponding lack of actual legislative language or record is even more disturbing. Yet even more bizarre is the media radio silence over this salient fact, and their pretense at treating media leaks as authoritative, and treating declarations as a substitute for substance.
So when in Inside Washington, Nina Totenberg toted the state press party line and declared that Obama had offered a $4 trillion ‘grand bargain’, Krauthammer hammered back:
NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: So why is it when he offered the big deal, the $4 trillion deal…
GORDON PETERSON, HOST: The grand bargain.
TOTENBERG: …the grand bargain, Republicans backed away from it?
KRAUTHAMMER: When did he offer that?
TOTENBERG: He offered that last week.
TOTENBERG: In, he did it, publicly and in negotiations.
KRAUTHAMMER: In your leaks? What’s in the $4 trillion?
TOTENBERG: But Charles.
KRAUTHAMMER: Give me a number. Explain to me what’s in it.
TOTENBERG: Why is it, in two, in matter of two days, Republicans backed away from that and said we don’t want it?
KRAUTHAMMER: You accept everything he says, a $4 trillion deal, if you don’t have a single item in it that you can enunciate.
TOTENBERG: Well, I’m not at the table. Perhaps you are, but I’m not.
KRAUTHAMMER: Well then how does he expect America to accept something in which he explains nothing?
Now, the real ground truth of the matter is that, when it was asked “How much does the Biden $2 trillion in cuts impact FY2012 spending, the answer came back “$2 billion” so .1% of the cuts are in year 1. When the Obama proposal was unpacked, absolutely nothing in his proposal was different from what he said in April; the details are not forthcoming because it would expose the ‘deal’ as a warmed-over re-statement of Obama’s earlier budget. Some ‘deal’. Krauthammer summarizes:
…. you have a completely compliant, pliant, supine press accepting every leak out of the White House. Tell me, we have been told, I’ve heard it again and again that the President’s prepared to do, to make cuts in entitlements. Name me one.
Why is the media not noticing the stunning lack of specifics in the Obama proposals? Why is the media not noticing the fact that the Senate has not acted on a budget in two years, and, unlike the Republicans, has no legislative language to actually pass the debt ceiling increase? If the answer is simply – well, it helps the President’s position – that explains much about media bias. They are pushing a meme that the Republicans turned down some ‘great deal’ to shift blame on Republicans for not compromising, when, in fact, Obama has failed to come half-way. The Republicans have NOT turned down a ‘grand bargain’. They turned down a parlor trick served as jello.
Yet it begs further the question, why aren’t the Republicans not making a bigger deal over the lack of substance, lack of legislative action, and lack of specifics in Obama’s proposals or in the Senate? They need to. The Emperor has no Clothes. The President has no plans for dealing with our debt and deficit in a genuine and serious way. Bravo to Senator Rubio for making this point, and note for other Republicans: Follow Rubio’s lead.
Krauthammer quotes via Newsbusters.