A snip from Barack Obama’s interview with Diane Sawyer:
The president has previously admitted the convoluted process of cobbling together the huge bill had alarmed voters, but said today he will not back off of tackling large issues despite the political jeopardy involved.
“You know, there is a tendency in Washington to believe our job description, of elected officials, is to get reelected. That’s not our job description,” Obama said. “Our job description is to solve problems and to help people.”
Then why is he backing off from health care reform? Why is he planning to announce a Republican-style spending freeze in a deep recession? Does he truly imagine Republicans in Congress will support his initiatives now? Why isn’t he solving problems and helping people instead of running scared from his own oft-stated beliefs?
Too depressed to write any more of my own on this. Here’s the blog roundup.
“Suddenly, deficits matter again,” from Echidne of the Snakes:
They have not mattered for eight years, my sweet reader. But now they do. They matter more than getting jobs for the unemployed, more than fixing health insurance, more than almost anything. And even more ominously, Obama’s planned proposal to freeze some types of federal spending is seen as a way to start boiling the frog that is us[.]
“Obama’s self-inflicted lobotomy proceeds apace,” from Jonathan Zasloff at The Reality-Based Community:
I’m trying to think of what could possibly be a worse plan. Let’s see: we might be entering a double-dip recession and unemployment is in double-digits, and you are going to freeze spending? What in God’s name are they thinking?
Perhaps the worst thing about this is how it cedes the ideological ground to the Republicans. At some point someone must make an argument for government. I think it was former Senator Paul Simon who said: “give the voters a choice between a Republican and a Republican and they will choose a Republican every time.”
David Dayen notes the neat little trick about defining military spending as “non-discretionary” when it’s the biggest budget-buster of all:
And of course, the truly unbelievable thing about this is how it’s framed as non-security discretionary spending, as if spending on the military is magic and somehow doesn’t affect budgets. If anything is bankrupting the country, it’s the bloated military budget, which is currently at a higher level than during the Cold War buildup of the Reagan Administration. So this freeze will do exceedingly little for the budget deficit, but is sure to hurt a lot of poor and middle-class people.
Dayen also points out Matthew Yglesias’s laugh line:
I’m attempting not to freak out because (a) I don’t have details and (b) I suspect this initiative was deliberately leaked to progressive bloggers in an effort to get denounced by the left and I don’t want to give them the satisfaction.
Like I wasn’t already depressed.