You can always tell the statesman from the politician. The politician is the one who manipulates, deceives, and spins. The politician is the person with his finger in the wind, constantly trying to gauge public opinion so he knows what to say or do, in order to win the next election. The politician is the person who depends on you not remembering what he said or did yesterday, when he contradicts his own words and actions today. We have lots of politicians in Washington D.C.
Barack Obama is a very good politician.
These days, Obama has been attempting to portray himself as the grownup in the room, the guy who wants a comprehensive deficit reduction plan, if only those darned Republican obstructionists weren't standing in his way. This comes on the heels of Obama running up deficits and debt faster than any President in American history. Columnist Charles Krauthammers points out the fallacy of Obama's words today in a column titled "Call His Bluff" (Obama warned Rep. Eric Cantor (R-NY) not to call his bluff). Krauthammer does remember yesterday:
President Obama is demanding a big long-term budget deal. He won’t sign anything less, he warns, asking, “If not now, when?”
How about last December, when he ignored his own debt commission’s recommendations? How about February, when he presented a budget that increases debt by $10 trillion over the next decade? How about April, when he sought a debt-ceiling increase with zero debt reduction attached?
All of a sudden he’s a born-again budget balancer prepared to bravely take on his own party by making deep cuts in entitlements. Really? Name one. He’s been saying forever that he’s prepared to discuss, engage, converse about entitlement cuts. But never once has he publicly proposed a single structural change to any entitlement.
Hasn’t the White House leaked that he’s prepared to raise the Medicare age or change the cost-of-living calculation?
Anonymous talk is cheap. Leaks are designed to manipulate. Offers are floated and disappear. Say it, Mr. President. Give us one single structural change in entitlements. In public.
I'm reminded of what I heard House Majority leader John Boehner (R-OH) say yesterday, that negotiating with Obama is like dealing with Jello. The President doesn't propose anything solid, except for tax increases. When it comes to spending cuts, the President will discuss, engage, and converse, but he never makes an actual proposal. Have any of you ever heard him make one ?
Another question we need to ask is why Obama opposes a shorter-term deal. That would be better than no deal. It would be far better to extend the negotiating period than to exceed the debt limit, would it not ? Krauthammer supplies the answer again:
As part of the pose as the forward-looking grown-up rising above all the others who play politics, Obama insists upon a long-term deal. And what is Obama’s definition of long-term? Surprise: An agreement that gets him past Nov. 6, 2012.
Nothing could be more political. It’s like his Afghan surge wind-down date. September 2012 has no relation to any military reality on the ground. It is designed solely to position Obama favorably going into the last weeks of his reelection campaign.
Barack Obama is a very good politician. That's why he manipulates the public by preying on fears of Social Security checks not going out in August, when our President knows darn well that they will go out.
That's also why the President talks about superfluous things, such as tax loopholes for corporate jets. Obama the politician is counting on your knee jerk reaction against tax breaks for the wealthy. What he doesn't tell you is where those corporate jet tax loopholes came from. But Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) told us this last night on the Greta Van Susteren show:
' [The corporate jet tax loophole] was in the stimulus package. None of us voted for the stimulus package. This was called accelerated depreciation. It's a tax policy that the president put into his stimulus package and passed. Now he's saying that it's a corporate jet loophole. It applies to lots of things, airplanes included. What I find interesting about this one particular issue was it never came up in our debt negotiations, it never came up in discussions. The first time I heard about a corporate jet loophole, which was in the stimulus package, was when he mentioned it six times in a press conference. "
The Democrats put in the corporate jet tax loophole, Obama signed it into law, no Republicans voted for the stimulus package...but now Obama uses his own tax loophole against the Republicans in deficit reduction negotiations. He says Republicans are protecting the corporate jet tax loophole that Obama signed into law. How does he get away with this stuff ?
And btw, the Republican budget, the Ryan budget, did away with those types of loopholes. The Democrats would not hear of it. They already rejected the House Budget in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Here's Ryan again:
Look, I understand it plays for good politics and class warfare and makes it look like all we care about is that corporate - who cares about that corporate jet loophole? It's - we want to get rid of all those loopholes in tax reform. And what people don't tell you is our Republican budget? That's exactly what we proposed doing! We're saying clear out the brush of loopholes and lower everyone's tax rates so we can create jobs in the economy. That way the government doesn't lose any money but we clean up the tax code and we're not picking winners and losers in the tax code. General Electric paid no taxes but made a lot of money. UPS, another big company, paid about a 34% tax rate and their competitor, DHL, paid 24%. So there's something wrong with the fact that we're taxing a lot of our employers more".
Yes, the class warfare card does play well to an uninformed public. That's why Obama and the Democrats do it. It works for them, even when it's a bunch of hooey.
Barack Obama is a very good politician. He's just not much of a man.
The Democrats keep angling for tax increases as part of the debt limit deal. They don't bother to tell you that taxes are already going to increase by $1.5 trillion in 2013 when the ObamaCare taxes kick in. They also don't tell you the Bush tax cuts expire again at the end of 2012, right after the next elections. No, they don't tell you these things as they propose $2 trillion more in tax increases as part of the debt limit deal. The reason they don't tell you is, the Democrats are jockeying to pass the most massive tax hikes in American history in exchange for vague promises of future spending cuts that the Democrats hope to avoid ever making. That's their game. The Dems have pulled this bait and switch routine before (Bush I, Reagan). That's why the Democrats all jumped to approve Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) Plan B proposal, the one that allowed OBAMA to make future spending cuts in exchange for a debt limit increase. The Democrats hope to wriggle out of those cuts, or turn them into bogus cuts. The Dems could propose increasing spending by another $3 trillion, then do a "bogus cut" for $2 trillion, and say 'look, we cut the $2 trillion like we promised. Aren't we wonderful ?' Then the media would pretend not to notice that the only thing that happened was another trillion dollars in spending was approved. This phony tactic has been used a lot. It seems the only thing our government ever really "cuts" is the rate of it's own growth, which isn't a cut at all. It's a spending increase. Obama the politician talks about cutting the deficit in half, leaving out the part about how that still leaves us with an $800 billion deficit, larger than any in American history prior to Obama arriving in the White House. The Dems are angling for a tax increase bomb the likes of which this country has never seen, because the last thing the Dems want is to have to stop spending your money. That would loosen their grip on you, and they like having their hands around your throat. They like it a lot.
Yes, Obama's a very good politician. And that's no compliment.
When dealing with a political Jello-fish like the President, the only thing to do IS call his bluff. Here's what Krauthammer recommends:
The Republican House should immediately pass a short-term debt-ceiling hike of $500 billion containing $500 billion in budget cuts. That would give us about five months to work on something larger.
I agree with this strategy. The debt limit talks are going nowhere. They fell apart again yesterday. If the Republicans wait until D-Day on August 2nd, they will lose this political battle, and we won't get any spending cuts. The Democrats don't look at this as a debt limit deal or a budget negotiation. They look at it as a political contest to gain the upper hand. So should the Republicans. If they force congressional Democrats to vote on a smaller proposal that passed the House, it would put the Democrats on record and shift the onus to them. And if it passed the House and Senate, Obama's hand would be forced. Imagine the political fallout against Obama if he vetoed that bill. Yes, let's call his bluff. It's better than nothing America, and nothing is what we have now.
It would also be nice if we sent The Politician packing in 2012 and replaced him with a statesman (or stateswoman)...but I don't want to get ahead of myself.
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