Michelle O: President ‘Didn’t Point Fingers’ or ‘Place Blame’

by Eliana Johnson

At a fundraiser last night in New York City, Michelle Obama told the crowd, “See, but your president, he didn’t point fingers.  He didn’t place blame.  Instead, he got to work, because he was thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother.”  Can’t be sure, but I actually don’t think she was being sarcastic.  

This seemed like as good an occasion as ever to review some of the ways the President has refrained from pointing fingers or placing blame for the stagnant economy. 

  • Blaming automation and globalization: “I mean, if you look at the trend lines, essentially what’s happened is that because of automation, because of globalization, you had a lot of manufacturing move out of the United States. Businesses got more efficient, they needed fewer workers, they had more leverage over workers, and this added up to a tougher time for middle class families…”
  • Blaming ATMs: “There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller…”
  • Blaming automated kiosks at airports: “…you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.”
  • Blaming America for becoming soft, lazy in its business practices: “We’ve lost our ambition, our – our – imagination, and – and – our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam and unleashed all the potential in this country.”
  • Blaming Fox News: “‘…fed by Fox News, they hear Obama is a Muslim 24/7, and it begins to seep in…The Republicans have been at this for 40 years. They have new resources, but the strategy is old,’ Corn recounted Obama as saying.”
  • Blaming the Bush tax cuts: “Now, Governor Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy, and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he’d double down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place.”
  • Blaming the Arab Spring: “We’ve weathered the Arab Spring’s effect on oil and gas prices…”
  • Blaming the tsunami in Japan and the Eurozone crisis: “In the past few months, the economy’s already had to absorb an earthquake in Japan, the economic headwinds coming from Europe…all of which have been very challenging for the recovery.” 
  • Blaming oil speculators: “We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher — only to flip the oil for a quick profit”

If that doesn’t sound like getting to work, I don’t know what does.