In which Dewey writes to our President
It’s really not so much the audacity of hope as it is arrogance
Dear Mr. President,
I’ve taken the time to listen to, and read, your remarks at the press conference last night. With all due respect (I just love that expression, don’t you?) instead of celebrating America’s dynamic union and seeking to partner with us to meet common challenges, there were times where you showed arrogance and were dismissive, even derisive. And – dare I say this? – disingenuous, as well
Knowing how you feel about Americans demonstrating this behavior abroad, I thought you might appreciate some feedback on how you came across, in the heartland. You know, from a real boots-on-the- ground American?
To that end, I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing a copy of your remarks and highlighted in red areas of concern. Also, knowing that you dwell in that special, rarefied atmosphere that is Washington D.C. I thought it might be helpful if I pointed out how a regular guy like me might perceive your remarks. To that end, I’ve taken the time to annotate specific instances where, again, with all due respect, you lost most of us. Due, specifically, to your arrogance, derisiveness, dismissiveness and/or disingenuousness.
I hope you have time to review my comments, because I think they could really help you win back those Americans who got off -or never got on - your high speed rail to nowhere. If you care to get back to me with your responses, I’ll be happy to pass them on to my blog’s millions of readers. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
July 22, 2011
Remarks by the President
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
6:06 P.M. EDT
I just got a call about a half hour ago from Speaker Boehner who indicated that he was going to be walking away from the negotiations that we’ve been engaged in here at the White House for a big deficit reduction and debt reduction package. (See? Right out of the box, derisive. Most presidents would have said something like “ the talks broke down over disagreement regarding the size and scope of the tax increase.” What you said, if I may paraphrase, was “that arrogant little prick had the unmitigated gall to walk away!? From ME?!” See the difference?) And I thought it would be useful for me to just give you some insight into where we were and why I think that we should have moved forward with a big deal. (I presume you mean your big debt deal, not the one of our “dynamic union.” But unlike Obamacare, you’re not really holding all of the aces any more. Assuming that people should do things your way just because “I won” and “I’m the President” is, frankly, rather arrogant.)
Essentially what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and defense. (I think it’s fair to say that nearly all of the “discretionary” spending was in defense. That might be considered by some to be disingenuous.) We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. We believed that it was possible to shape those in a way that preserved the integrity of the system, (As I understand it, you intend to preserve them in every way, just pretending to cut them by using the usual Congressional accounting standards comprised primarily of smoke and mirrors. Again, disingenuous. And derisive, in that you think we’ll all swallow another mouthful of that hogwash.) made them available for the next generation, and did not affect current beneficiaries in an adverse way. (Certainly not before you plan on leaving office, sometime around 2034? I think you see my point, above. More hogwash.)
In addition, what we sought was revenues that were actually less than what the Gang of Six signed off on. (just a nit, but we seem to have a subject-verb disagreement there – and LOL @ “Gang of Six!” I love it when you talk like one of the guys!) So you had a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans (always good to in include the R-words in a “bipartisan group” but again, a little derisive) who are in leadership in the Senate, calling for what effectively was about $2 trillion above the Republican baseline that they’ve been working off of. What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes — tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base. (Three problems: 1st, and here’s that disingenuous thing again, eliminating “loopholes,” and deductions is the same as raising taxes. And besides, blanket terms like “loopholes” don’t set well with “the folks” after the debacle of Obamacare. We want specifics, details. How about a little more of that transparency we heard so much about? we don’t feel good about deals cut behind closed doors, why don’t you go to the floor of the House and Congress and have C-span cover the “negotiations” in like you (disingenuously) promised. 2ndly, it’s a bit derisive to expect us to fall for the old “trust us, we’ll reform the tax code later and you’ll love it:” it’s the oldest trick in the book, and we aren’t that stupid. How about specifics? Honest, we don’t need our betters to process this for us. 3rd: read our lips, NO NEW TAXES –aka, “revenues.” There you go again, with the dismissiveness.)
So let me reiterate what we were offering. We were offering a deal that called for as much discretionary (entitlement programs are not considered “discretionary” in your vernacular, are they?) savings as the Gang of Six. We were calling for taxes (don’t you mean “revenues?”) that were less than what the Gang of Six had proposed. And we were calling for modifications (as opposed to “reductions” – do you see where I’m going here?) to entitlement programs, would have saved just as much over the 10-year window (the window that doesn’t open until 2034; are you following me here? That’s totally disingenuous). In other words, this was an extraordinarily fair (almost an oxymoron) deal. If it was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue. (You really don’t get it do you? We’re spending too much: and BTW nobody before your administration referred to taxes as “revenue”. Generally you have to do something in order to generate revenue. Collecting taxes does not qualify as “doing something.” And here’s an interesting little bit of trivia for you: tax “revenues” are currently the same % of GDP as they’ve been historically. Government spending doesn’t increase GDP, that’s why it’s so damn hard to spend your way out of a recession. You do know that, right? As The Big Dawg’s loveable band of crazed Democratic operatives used to say: It’s the economy, Stupid! Say - you might want to see if Carville and Begala are available.)
But in the interest of being serious about deficit reduction, I was willing to take a lot of heat from my party (that’s my BIG boy!) — and I spoke to Democratic leaders yesterday, and although they didn’t sign off on a plan, they were willing to engage in serious negotiations, despite a lot of heat from a lot of interest groups (we know, the usual suspects who are not used to being told “no” by anyone.) around the country, in order to make sure that we actually dealt with this problem. (I’m just wondering: what did you promise them down the line? Because we know they don’t take “no” for an answer, unlike Republicans. Maybe in the interest of transparency you could share that with us?)
It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal. And, frankly, if you look at the commentary, there are a lot of Republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done. In fact, there are a lot of Republican voters out there who are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done. Because the fact of the matter is the vast majority of the American people believe we should have a balanced approach. (Would that be the 2/3 of Americans in CNN’s poll who favor the Cut, Cap and Balance Bill? Or the 65% who are opposed to the Gang of Six plan? Or the other 80% that agree with you?)
Now, if you do not have any revenues, as the most recent Republican plan that’s been put forward both in the House and the Senate proposed, if you have no revenues at all, what that means is more of a burden on seniors, more drastic cuts to education, more drastic cuts to research, a bigger burden on services that are going to middle-class families all across the country. (Well no, that’s just disingenuous. There’s trillions of dollars to pick and choose from. Leave the seniors out of it, but feel free to eliminate the Department of Education – a misnomer if ever there was one. I also offer up the EPA , and then we could build hydro-electric plants too. And as far as “research” goes: any government funded function that invented the religion of global warming ought to have it’s heart cut out. Before the golden age of federal grants, college professors used to teach, conduct research - with grad students - and publish their results, all for the salary that the college could afford. Now they earn a princes income, they don’t teach, barely talk to students and spend most of their time “overseeing” the writing of “their” grant requests and research projects while flying all over the world to “present” their “findings.” All of which will be refuted by new research, equally non-scientific, in less than the span of a computer’s useful life. So I vote to ax federal research grants too. So far they’ve just made people dumber. And don’t even get me started on “arts” grants. Pretty sure they’re not in the Constitution.) And it essentially asks nothing of corporate jet owners, it asks nothing of oil and gas companies, it asks nothing from folks like me who’ve done extremely well and can afford to do a little bit more.(Dude, you’ve run that one up and down the flag pole so often it’s getting threadbare. STFU.)
In other words, if you don’t have revenues, the entire thing ends up being tilted on the backs of the poor and middle-class families. And the majority of Americans don’t agree on that approach. (See above for discussion on which “majority” we’re talking about.)
So here’s what we’re going to do. We have now run out of time. I told Speaker Boehner, I’ve told Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, I’ve told Harry Reid, and I’ve told Mitch McConnell I want them here at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. (That sounds presidential) We have run out of time. And they are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default. (Yeah, see, that petulant crap? Not so much. It’s like the grand slam: arrogant, derisive, dismissive and disingenuous.) And they can come up with any plans that they want and bring them up here and we will work on them. The only bottom line that I have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013. (Seriously? Did you really say that? Your petulance is beginning to sound like hysteria, boss.)
And the reason for it is we’ve now seen how difficult it is to get any kind of deal done. The economy is already weakened. (Well, thanks for setting that straight. And for noticing.) And the notion that five or six or eight months from now we’ll be in a better position to try to solve this problem makes no sense.
In addition, if we can’t come up with a serious plan for actual deficit and debt reduction, and all we’re doing is extending the debt ceiling for another six, seven, eight months, then the probabilities of downgrading U.S. credit are increased, and that will be an additional cloud over the economy and make it more difficult for us and more difficult for businesses to create jobs that the American people so desperately need. (Somebody’s been getting coached in Economics 101! Good on ‘ya, Prez!)
So they will come down here at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. I expect them to have an answer in terms of how they intend to get this thing done over the course of the next week. The American people expect action. (Hey Bozo, the American people expect a President that knows a tax from a revenue, and can at least buy a damn clue in the leadership department. But to paraphrase a great man “we go to battle with the President we have, not the President we wish we had.” And again, knock off the imperial BS, we’re getting tired of it.) I continue to believe that a package that is balanced and actually has serious debt and deficit reduction is the right way to go. (Duh) And the American people I think are fed up with political posturing and an inability for politicians to take responsible action as opposed to dodge their responsibilities. (We undoubtedly disagree on what the meaning of “responsible” is, but at least we agree on the concept.)
With that, I’m going to take some questions.(snip)
I hope you’ve found this to be useful, Mr. President. If you’d like, I’d be happy to highlight and annotate your Q&A responses to the reporters when you went off prompter. You will be surprised to know that some critics found that segment of the presser even more petulant, arrogant, dismissive, derisive and disingenuous. Some even tossed in “childish” and “peevish.” But they were probably just grandstanding.
Just let me know, because I’m currently unemployed here in Detroit, the cradle of American liberalism and former beacon of capitalism. Since I wasn’t a member of the United Auto Workers union at either of your car companies I can’t benefit from your generous gift to their union pension plan. Which is a long way of saying I have plenty of time on my hands to help you out.
In fact, since most of my life savings were held in Chrysler and Delphi preferred bonds, which you seized for pennies on the dollar in order to give the major share to the union for their pension plans, I desperately need a job. (Just as an aside Mr. President, I’m still wondering how that transaction could have been legal. Because up until that point in time, preferred bond holders were considered to have contractual rights – embedded right in the bonds - that guaranteed them first rights of payment, specifically in the case of bankruptcy. But I guess you just waived that right? Because you’re the President? Do you see how people might consider that to be arrogant, derisive… well, you get the point. Anyway, I hope you don’t take this personally, but I’m still looking into the legality of that whole transaction. )
So, let me know if I can help you out in any other way. I’m here to serve.
I hope you get this debt thing ironed out in time to play a round of golf on Sunday. Tell the boys the mulligans are on me, all around.
Dewey from Detroit
Cross Posted at Dewey From Detroit