Mister President, thank you for taking the time to meet today.
POTUS: You're welcome
Today, your approval ratings sit at near lows and the economy is still in the doldrums. Do you see things turning around soon?
POTUS: I still believe that the stimulus package saved us from catastrophe and will help the economy gain strength.
Mr. President, I would argue the stimulus package hurt you in two big ways: your poor approval and the birth of the Tea Party movement.
POTUS: How can you make that argument? They are not related.
I believe they are. First, One of the biggest criticisms of you when you were a candidate was that you had little executive experience. In all honesty, even Gov. Palin had a lot more experience than you in executive positions and your campaign operatives hammered her endlessly about being inexperienced. But the stimulus package is where the narrative was reinforced: I believe that when your economists advised you that if you didn't put $750 billion into the economy it would tank, so you tried to do it in good faith. However, you made a rookie mistake; you trusted Speaker Pelosi.
POTUS: Rep. Pelosi is a strong and loyal public servant.
I know you believe that but she went to Rep. David Obey, Chairman of Appropriations, and said "spend $750 billion". He, in turn, went around to every Congressman he could find and asked them what pet projects they wanted to spend money on. That is how you ended up defending $789 billion of crap.
POTUS: I wouldn't put it that way. A lot of those projects were very worthwhile.
Maybe so, but you ended up defending stuff that even you had to turn your nose up at. An experienced executive would have crafted a bill with projects that had to be paid for anyway: bridges, schools, roads, the electrical grid, etc. and sent that bill to Congress. All that would have happened was you'd be moving necessary projects forward. You got boxed in and embarrassed by your Democratic Congress despite good intentions.
POTUS: That may be how you see it but how does that have anything to do with the Tea Party?
There was a lot of unrest with the government during the last years of the Bush administration with rising spending and the wars. You ran on a promise to change things. Many people who knew that you were no where near as qualified as Senator McCain voted for you because of the ideal you represented: no more status quo, transparency, change, etc. When your administration started doing things without transparency, sneaking through unpopular bills by bending rules, spending even more than the Bush Administration, doing almost everything for the benefit of labor unions, the people had finally had enough. Because you had represented yourself as different, and turned to be a larger version of the same old politicians, there was a lot more disappointment with your administration than there would usually be. Because the Republicans were big spenders and Democrats turned out to be even bigger spenders, along comes the Tea Party.
POTUS: You seem to forget that I ran on green jobs, ending the Iraq War, closing Guantanamo Bay, and bringing a different tone to Washington.
Mr. President, the Iraq War was won when you came into office. That was a done deal. If anything, the Democratic Congress made the tone in Washington much worse. Republicans weren't even able to present ideas on any of the major bills. You know you can't close Guantanamo Bay and send those prisoners back into the fight. And until technology improves, green energy will destroy our economy. Besides, this winter is making Al Gore look a little foolish.
POTUS: Climate change is an important issue. We need to be the leader in this regard.
True, but you and everyone else knows that until India and China sign on, anything we do here will not only be futile, it will give those two countries a competitive advantage. Beside, real data contradicts the UN's computer models about the effect of carbon dioxide on the atmosphere.
Moving on, the biggest controversy in Washington these days is the health care bill. Admit it, you could not have possibly known all the junk that was in that bill and it certainly wasn't written in a few weeks.
POTUS: There are some things in the bill that need to be adjusted, like the 1099 requirement for small business. But a lot of other parts of the bill are monumental achievements, like the pre-existing conditions section.
Since you bring that up, let's take two scenarios: 1) A 55 year old man has been working for the same company since he was 18. He has always paid his taxes, never been in trouble, a stellar citizen. He has hypertension and mild diabetes. His company goes out of business. He can't get insurance at his new job. Clearly that is wrong.
POTUS: That is exactly the person we are trying to help. This bill prevents that from happening.
Fair enough. Scenario 2: We have a 32 year old male. He has never worked a day in his life. He is perfectly healthy. He chooses not to work. He never pays taxes. He even sells a little bit of crack to school children to get by. One day, he has a pain and goes to his emergency room for some free care. He finds out he needs a major operation and long term postoperative care. He has a pre-existing condition. What obligation do the people who have been paying into the system their whole lives have provide him insurance?
POTUS: That is a little extreme for an example.
No. They are both pre-existing conditions. Wouldn't it have been better to allow all people to purchase across state lines and to own their own policy so they can carry it from job to job?
POTUS: I have said anyone with good ideas can bring them to me.
Those ideas were brought to you before the bill was passed and the Republicans were not allowed to offer amendments. That is why people are fed up.
POTUS: I agree there are adjustments that have to be made.
Moving on, we have massive debt now. You offered to freeze spending. But that was after you raised spending for most domestic programs by about 24%. That is like curing binge drinking by not drinking more than you did when you were drinking the most alcohol.
POTUS: We are trying to reduce the rate of growth.
That doesn't make sense. You don't reduce the first derivative. You have to make the amount go down, not how fast it gets bigger.
One last question: You work closely with Sen. Reid. How can you possibly put up with that guy?
POTUS: Senator Reid is a great public servant who worked hard to get many of my agenda items passed.
True, but it is one thing when a politician lies to you. It is another when he is lying, you know he is lying, he knows that you know that he is lying, but still lies to you anyway.
POTUS: Lying about what?
You know as well as I do that the set of suppositions and nonsense that was given to the Congressional Budget Office about the health care bill, such as ten years of taxes to offset six years of benefits and a separate bill to fix reimbursement for physicians in Medicare, was garbage just to make the numbers turn out in your favor. Sen. Reid always talks about how the bill will bring down costs when he knows it isn't true.
POTUS: He and I believe that it is true.
That just about says it all. Thank you Mister President.