Those Rotten Politics

by Jonah Goldberg

As Andrew Stiles notes below the president today lamented the the “politics” that brought about the 2010 GOP victory in the House made Washington worse. “The politics that swept [Boehner] into the Speakership were good for a mid-term election. They’re tough for governing.” 

Now of course, by “governing” what Obama means is “getting my way.”

But it’s a bit of a telling admission on Obama’s part. Here’s Obama after the election of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate:

“Here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country: The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry, and they’re frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.”

And here’s Obama after the “shellacking” in 2010:

“I won the election in 2008, one of the reasons, I think, that people were excited about the campaign was the prospect that we would change how business is done in Washington,” he said. “And we were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn’t change how things got done. And I think that frustrated people.”

He also placed the blame for the outcome of the midterms on that “very tough decisions” made by his administration during his first two years in office on the stimulus package, the bank bailouts (which were first passed under President Bush) and the auto bailouts.

“I think people started looking at all this and it felt as if government was getting much more intrusive into people’s lives than they were accustomed to,” he said. “Now, the reason was, it was an emergency situation. But I think it’s understandable that folks said to themselves, ‘You know, maybe this is the agenda as opposed to a response to an emergency.’”

Continued the president: “And that’s something that I think, you know, everybody in the White House understood was a danger. We thought it was necessary. But, you know, I’m sympathetic to folks who looked at it and said, ‘This is looking like potential overreach.’”

He noted that the costs of the policies prompted people to say, “Gosh, we already have all this debt. We already have these big deficits. This is potentially going to compound it. And at what point are we going to get back to a situation where we’re doing what families all around the country do, which is make sure that if you spend something, you know how to pay for it, as opposed to racking up the credit card for the next generation?”

The first quote involves some delusion the second some admirable contrition. Now it seems that Obama’s real position is more worldly: Damn, elections are inconvenient.

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