Watching Barack Obama in a press conference discussing the tax deal, it feels like we’re watching his presidency lose all coherence.
In his opening statement, Obama talked about how much he wanted to fight on this issue, but then he says he’s going to sign it because it’s the best possible option under the circumstances. One moment he’s insisting that the country can’t afford to extend the high-end tax cuts, the next he’s dismissing continued opposition on the part of Democrats as “fighting a political fight.” He’s trying to assure Democrats that he didn’t sell them out and opposes tax cuts for the wealthy as much as they do, and at the same time, persuade them to vote for a deal that he just said he opposes so much.
“My first job is to make sure the economy is rolling and that people are creating jobs out there,” Obama says, days after unemployment went up from 9.6 percent to 9.8 percent. Later he said that there is no danger of a double-dip recession, a statement that seems less certain after the most recent jump.
Then he referred to the GOP as “hostage takers” and said, “In this case, the hostage was the American people.”
“We were not operating from a position of political weakness,” he insists. But a moment later, discussing Republicans, Obama says, “They would have a stronger position next year than they do currently.” If time is not on your side, are you really operating from a position of political strength?
Then he cited “what everybody in this room was writing” during the health-care debate, before emphasizing that he didn’t pay attention to the day-to-day conventional wisdom of the White House press corps. You probably think I’m kidding. I’m not.
“We’ve had two years of emergency. Two years of emergency economic action.”