To me, the debt ceiling joke has served as the strongest indicator yet of just how bizarre this presidency is.
I no longer believe, even slightly, that Barack Obama has any sort of articulable philosophy of governance. He takes a lot of criticism for being vague in these debt ceiling “negotiations,” but I am now convinced that he can’t be any other way, because there isn’t anything there. It’s not that his proposal is a secret, or that he’s “playing it close to the vest.” It’s that it doesn’t exist.
Jonah Goldberg really nailed it this week:
Imagine you’re in a burning office building. Obama’s plan for getting out alive: “Okay, you guys break up into different groups and come up with a series of proposals about how we get out of the building. I will then negotiate with each of you separately and then together, and then separately. Then I’ll get on Skype and tell the world what I think of your respective plans and criticize you for their lack of seriousness. I will insist that we have balanced approach of applying both water to the fire and opening the windows, which some say will only provide more oxygen for the flames. But my base says window-opening is essential. Oh and I will blame all of the gasoline I threw around on the lower floors of this building on the guy who moved out two years ago. And I will veto any plan that requires we have a new plan should we get stuck on another floor. And, did I mention this mess was created by the former tenant and….ahhh what’s that smell?
I think that when Obama is away from the comfort of prepared remarks, he must bottom out at vague reassurance as his guide. To the extent that he thinks at all, he must think that well, there are a few million people around anyway who think this hard left thing is a good idea, so it must be defensible, and also all the correct people wail when I do it, so onward.
For all of the ridiculous insinuations about Reagan’s or W’s lack of intelligence, has a sitting U.S. president ever said anything more boneheaded than “don’t call my bluff”? Is that the statement of a man who understands anything about persuasion or negotiation?
I also loved “Ronald Reagan wouldn’t sit here like this.” Oh, you’ve got that right, Mr. Obama.
President Reagan would lead.