Yesterday, in the aftermath of the trouncing the Democrats received at the polls Tuesday, Obama gave a press conference that was equal parts delusional and insulting. What it exhibited was a man so enamored with himself and so imbued with hubris that he is utterly incapable of conceiving of himself as anything other than a monarch.
These are the key messages in his press conference and the battlefield for the next two years.
The election doesn’t count.
Twice he refers to how important it is to listen to the “two-thirds” of the electorate that couldn’t be bothered to turn out to vote. He clearly thinks these voters support him as he links them together:
Part of what I also think we’ve got to look at is that two-thirds of people who were eligible to vote just didn’t vote. One of the things that I’m very proud of in 2008 and 2012 when I ran for office was we got people involved who hadn’t been involved before. We got folks to vote who hadn’t voted before, particularly young people.
The message is clear and unambiguous. He regards neither the new Senate majority nor the increased House majority as legitimate. We can expect to hear over and over that two-thirds of the population did not vote as if it were dispositive of something important.
In Obama’s world things are great, in the real world not so much
On the few times Obama he has spoken to the press he has launched into a recitation of his accomplishments. He obviously believes that everything is going just swimmingly and his biggest failure is not letting people know just how good they have it. A person more grounded in reality would realize that if someone has it good only very rarely do they need to be convinced that they have it good.
Overall strategy: Divide the GOP Caucus
I posted last weekend on the White House strategy for dealing with a GOP Senate.
As bad as the electoral map for Democrats is this year, the map for Republicans in 2016 is even worse. GOP incumbents are up in seven states President Barack Obama won twice and two he won once, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) in Wisconsin, Sen. Mark Kirk in Illinois and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.
Those senators, goes one thought circulating in the West Wing, would be under pressure to move toward the middle and be the bridge to larger deals with a caucus eager to show it can get things done.
Aides are discussing potential areas for agreement: tax reform, infrastructure, sentencing reform, renewing unemployment insurance, raising the minimum wage and expanding early childhood education.
Not only does the laundry list of projects recur again and again but he pointedly says:
And I will engage any member of Congress who’s interested in this in how we can shape legislation that will be a significant improvement over the existing system.
My ideas are based on sciencey stuff; their ideas are based on belief
Repeatedly, Obama places himself in the position of the wise Jedi master the people have appointed to protect them and Congress as a collection of cretins, rubes, and ingrates who can barely tell its ass from a hot rock. There is a statement that succinctly sums up both Obama’s self-importance and his utter disdain for the new Congress:
I mean, there are going to be some ideas that I’ve got that I think the evidence backs up would be good for the economy; and Republicans disagree. They’re not going to support those ideas. But I’m going to keep on arguing for them because I think they’re the right thing for the country to do. There are going to be some ideas that they’ve got that they believe will improve the economy or create jobs that, from my perspective, isn’t going to help middle-class families improve their economic situation, so I probably won’t support theirs.
This is not casual rhetoric. It dovetails neatly with the liberal fantasy that their values are evidence based and anything that differs is an affront to science and truth.
Battleground: minimum wage
Obama set up this battle last week when he declared, much to the dismay of many Democrats running for office, that even though he wasn’t on the ballot his policies were. Yesterday he said
And in the five states where a minimum wage increase was on the ballot last night, voters went five for five to increase it. That will give about 325,000 Americans a raise in states where Republican candidates prevailed. So that should give us new reason to get it done for everybody, with a national increase in the minimum wage.
We can expect this argument to reappear over and over.
Federal infrastructure money, but especially highway trust fund spending, is simply baksheesh to the unions which provide the core elements of blue state Democrat machines. As union membership erodes, federal money, which brings with it Project Labor Agreements and Davis-Bacon wage pricing, props up these Democrat stalwarts. As the stimulus spending demonstrated, there is little, if any, economic benefit associated with these large scale public works projects.
Battleground: free daycare
Though Obama couches this in terms of “early childhood education” what he is actually talking about in an extensive expansion of free daycare masquerading as education. Last week when he was denigrating women who decided to stay at home with their children and raise them rather than doing what any right-thinking woman would do: go back to work and have your children learn their values from a stranger who works for minimum wage.
Battleground: corporate taxes
Everyone agrees that the corporate tax code is broken. How to fix it differs wildly between the conservative position, which recognizes that corporations don’t pay taxes but merely collect them from the consumer, and the liberal position, espoused by Obama, that corporations are milch cows who can be squeezed and made out the villains when they raise prices. What Obama is saying here is that he intends to continue to push for legislation to punish corporations by moving their headquarters overseas and he will demagogue the hell out of the GOP if they resist.
I think we can hone in on a way to pay for it through tax reform that closes loopholes and makes it more attractive for companies to create jobs here in the United States.
Obama mentions the budget only once in his press conference and that is in the context of the necessity of the lame duck Congress passing legislation funding government spending next year. The size and scope of the government is obviously going to be a huge issue within the GOP caucus in both House and Senate, despite [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ]’s latest bout of submissive urination when confronting Obama. https://www.redstate.com/2014/11/06/republican-majority-day-one-mcconnell-surrenders/
Battleground: Keystone Pipeline
With the vicious and occasionally lucid [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] shoved out of the way, the new Congress looks certain to approve the Keystone Pipeline. Obama will veto the bill as a payoff to his enviro-nazi supporters. But he won’t use global warming as the main reason because he’s smart enough to read the polls on that subject.
… keep in mind this is Canadian oil, this isn’t U.S. oil — while that debate has been raging, we’ve seen some of the biggest increases in American oil production and American natural gas production in our history. We are closer to energy independence than we’ve ever been before — or at least as we’ve been in decades. We are importing less foreign oil than we produce for the first time in a very long time. We’ve got a 100-year supply of natural gas that if we responsibly tap puts us in the strongest position when it comes to energy of any industrialized country around the world.
When I travel to Asia or I travel to Europe, their biggest envy is the incredible homegrown U.S. energy production that is producing jobs and attracting manufacturing, because locating here means you’ve got lower energy costs.
So our energy sector is booming. And I’m happy to engage Republicans with additional ideas for how we can enhance that. I should note that our clean energy production is booming as well. And so Keystone I just consider as one small aspect of a broader trend that’s really positive for the American people.
One nearly expected him to break into a rousing chorus of “Blame Canada”
Obama is clearly going to press ahead with executive orders on immigration.
So when [House Speaker [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ]] finally told me he wasn’t going to call it up this year, what I indicated to him is I feel obliged to do everything I can lawfully with my executive authority to make sure that we don’t keep on making the system worse, but that whatever executive actions that I take will be replaced and supplanted by action by Congress. You send me a bill that I can sign, and those executive actions go away.
That’s a commitment I made not just to the American people — and to businesses and the evangelical community and the law enforcement folks and everybody who’s looked at this issue and thinks that we need immigration reform — that’s a commitment that I also made to [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ], that I would act in the absence of action by Congress.
Obama is open to changes in Obamacare that expand the scope. Beyond that it is off the table.
On health care, there are certainly some lines I’m going to draw. Repeal of the law I won’t sign. Efforts that would take away health care from the 10 million people who now have it and the millions more who are eligible to get it we’re not going to support. In some cases there may be recommendations that Republicans have for changes that would undermine the structure of the law, and I’ll be very honest with them about that and say, look, the law doesn’t work if you pull out that piece or that piece.
There seems to be precious little chance for any substantive accomplishments over the next two years. The president has demonstrated repeatedly that he is not a partner with which negotiation, short of McConnell-esque abject surrender, is possible. He seems interested in setting up a series of fights with the GOP in order to prepare the ground for the 2016 elections.