After John Boehner quit on the debt ceiling talks, President Obama delivered a lashing to the entire Republican Party that will definitely leave a mark.
Here is the video of Obama ‘s press conference:
After laying out his plan, Obama launched his first salvo at the Republicans,
It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal and frankly, if you look at the commentary out there, 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. Now, if you do not have any revenues as the most recent Republican plan that’s been put forward both in House and Senate proposed, if you have no revenues at all, what that means is, more after burden on seniors, more traffic cuts to education, more drastic cuts to research. A bigger burden on services that are going to middle class families all across the country, 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 have done extremely well, and can afford to do a little bit more. 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. So here’s what we’re going to do, we have now run out of time. I’ve told Speaker Boehner. I’ve told Nancy Pelosi. I’ve told Harry Reid, and I’ve told Mitch McConnell, i want them here at 11:00 tomorrow. 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, 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.
President Obama tried to make it clear to the American people who is to blame,
Up until sometime earlier today when I couldn’t get a phone call returned, my expectation was that Speaker Boehner was going to be willing to go to his caucus and ask them to do the tough thing but right thing. I think it has proven difficult for Speaker Boehner to do that. I’ve been left at the alter now a couple of times, and I think that one of the questions the Republican Party is going to have to ask itself is can they say yes to anything? Can they say yes to anything?
And it’s accomplished without raising individual tax rates. It’s accomplished in a way that’s compatible with the “no tax” pledge that a whole bunch of these folks signed on to — because we were mindful that they had boxed themselves in and we tried to find a way for them to generate revenues in a way that did not put them in a bad spot.
And so the question is, what can you say yes to? Now, if their only answer is what they’ve presented, which is a package that would effectively require massive cuts to Social Security, to Medicare, to domestic spending, with no revenues whatsoever, not asking anything from the wealthiest in this country or corporations that have been making record profits — if that’s their only answer, then it’s going to be pretty difficult for us to figure out where to go. Because the fact of the matter is that’s what the American people are looking for, is some compromise, some willingness to put partisanship aside, some willingness to ignore talk radio or ignore activists in our respective bases, and do the right thing.
President Obama pulled out the big guns and put a face on the impact of a default,
I’m getting letters from people who write me and say, at the end of every month I have to skip meals. Senior citizens on Social Security who are just hanging on by a thread. Folks who have severe disabilities who are desperate every single month to try to figure out how they’re going to make ends meet. But it’s not just those folks. You’ve got business contractors who are providing services to the federal government, who have to wonder are they going to be able to get paid and what does that do in terms of their payrolls.
You’ve got just a huge number of people who, in one way or another, interact with the federal government. And even if you don’t, even if you’re not a recipient of Social Security, even if you don’t get veterans’ benefits or disabilities, imagine what that does to the economy when suddenly 70 million checks are put at risk. I mean, if you’re a business out there, that is not going to be good for economic growth. And that’s the number one concern of the American people.
President Obama closed by turning a question on Wall Street into criticism of GOP priorities,
Now, what you’re going to hear, I suspect, is, well, if you — if the Senate is prepared to pass the cap, cut and balance bill, the Republican plan, then somehow we can solve this problem — that’s serious debt reduction. It turns out, actually, that the plan that Speaker Boehner and I were talking about was comparable in terms of deficit reduction. The difference was that we didn’t put all the burden on the people who are least able to protect themselves, who don’t have lobbyists in this town, who don’t have lawyers working on the tax code for them — working stiffs out there, ordinary folks who are struggling every day. And they know they’re getting a raw deal, and they’re mad at everybody about it. They’re mad at Democrats and they’re mad at Republicans, because they know somehow, no matter how hard they work, they don’t seem to be able to keep up. And what they’re looking for is somebody who’s willing to look out for them. That’s all they’re looking for.
And for us not to be keeping those folks in mind every single day when we’re up here, for us to be more worried about what some funder says, or some talk radio show host says, or what some columnist says, or what pledge we signed back when we were trying to run, or worrying about having a primary fight — for us to be thinking in those terms instead of thinking about those folks is inexcusable.
I mean, the American people are just desperate for folks who are willing to put aside politics just for a minute and try to get some stuff done.
This was a masterful use of the bully pulpit, by a president who often gets criticized by those on the left and right for not showing enough emotion. At this press conference, Obama showed more than emotion. He revealed where his heart is. This president is trying to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, and those who are hurting in this recession.
The message was clear and powerful. Republicans want to cut the deficit by hurting those who are most in need of our help. Republicans are more interested in playing politics than reducing the debt. Republicans are cowards who refuse to make the tough decisions. Most importantly, his message to average Americans was I am here working for you. I am willing to make the tough decisions, and take the heat from my own party for uncomfortable compromises.
Not only did Obama position himself as working for the American people, but he painted the Republicans as Washington politicians who are beholden to their ideology and special interests.
Republicans could have had trillions of dollars in spending cuts, but as the minutes tick away it is looking more and more like they will have to raise the debt ceiling and get nothing. The GOP now has two options. They can raise the debt ceiling with no spending cuts, or they can allow the country to default and be blamed for another collapse of the American economy.
Obama has not only won the political battle over the debt ceiling, but he has exposed the GOP as deficit frauds. If Republicans don’t agree to cut spending and increase revenues, they will have given Obama the ability to run for reelection in 2012 as the only candidate who is serious about lowering the deficit.
Republicans ached for this fight over the debt ceiling, but the thought never occurred to them that President Obama would take them to the woodshed and beat them within an inch of their lives.
Obama may end up getting everything he wanted and giving up nothing.
He is the best politician in the country, and this press conference illustrated why even with a bad economy, he leads every potential Republican nominee in the polls.