President Barack Obama held a press conference at the conclusion of the G 20 Summit in Toronto this evening, and the highlight came at the very end when he called out the GOP rhetoric on the deficit. Obama said, “I hope some of these folks hollering about deficit and debt step up, because I am calling their bluff.”
The most interesting part of the press conference came during the last question about the United States’ ability to meet their deficit reduction goals. After describing the steps that can be taken, and the challenges, Obama said, “One of the most interesting things that’s happened over the last 18 months as president is for some reason people keep being surprised when I do what I said I was going to do. So I say I’m going to reform our healthcare system and people think, well gosh, that’s not smart politics, maybe we should hold off, or I say we’re going to move forward on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and somehow people say you know, well, why are you doing that I’m not sure it’s good politics.”
The President continued and later blasted the Republicans and called out the GOP rhetoric, “I’m doing because I said I was going to do it and it’s the right thing to do, and people should learn that lesson about me, because next year when I start presenting some very difficult choices to the country, I hope people who are hollering about deficits and debt start stepping up, because I’m calling their bluff and we’ll see how much of that, how much of the political arguments they’re making right now are real and how much of it was just policies.”
Once again, Obama is three steps ahead of the GOP. He is warning them what is coming, but they will still not be ready for what is about to hit them when he steps up and challenges them to join him and cut spending in order to trim the deficit. In an earlier portion of the press conference Obama made mention of cutting programs that don’t work, including military programs. Military contracts are one of Congress’ and especially the right wing deficit cutters favorite sources of pork, disguised as national security spending, so you can expect cries of national security as soon as Obama tries to shave a penny or remove a bloated contract.
If Obama does try to trim the fat, you can expect both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to engage in a collective chorus of wails. The dirty little secret of Congress is everyone talks about reducing the deficit, but they all love to spend. Republicans definitely have no credibility on this issue, as the tax cut and spend policies of the Bush administration and the Republican run Congress had, within five years, managed to take a surplus and turn it into a herculean deficit.
By July of 2006, before the Democrats took control of Congress, George W. Bush and the Republican controlled Congress managed to turn a $284 billion surplus into a trillion dollar deficit. At the time, Bush and the GOP owned four of the five highest yearly deficits in US history. The political reality is that Republicans have little interest in cutting spending and absolutely no interest in helping Obama, so I can already tell you how this will go. Obama will try. Republicans will obstruct, and Obama will reap the political benefits. However, it s clear that Obama is done playing games with the GOP and is now ready to challenge them to put their money where there mouths are, so to speak, and the Republican leopard will most definitely reveal its true spots.