Politico says that Barack Obama will face “hard questions” from the press corps (or corpse, if you’re Obama) during his first post-election press conference, which is scheduled for later today. None of the questions Politico asks are actually hard ones, though.
Politico’s first question assumes the White House line that Obama didn’t know about Petraeus’ affair until after the election is true.
1. Do you believe the FBI should have told you and Congress sooner about the investigation that led Gen. Petraeus to resign?
See there. Obama gets a pass on not knowing anything that’s going on in his own administration.
Politico’s second question assumes that Barack Obama has never done anything wrong or ordered anyone to do anything wrong.
2. Do you worry about a culture in which trusted officials behave badly? Does this administration consider anyone who’s having an extramarital affair, or has had one in the past, to be unfit for public office?
See what they did there? The military, FBI and Secret Service are implicated in various scandals while Ambassador Susan Rice, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the president himself aren’t noted for lying through their teeth about Benghazi for two weeks. Which behavior was worse in the long run? Attorney General Eric Holder isn’t singled out for Fast and Furious. The framing of the question allows Obama to rise above the scandals surrounding and engulfing his administration, and pick and choose which scandals to address or ignore.
3. On the fiscal cliff, is your bottom line rates or revenue? Is it enough to close tax loopholes and deductions on the wealthy, or must tax rates also go up in order for you to sign a deal?
The president’s strategy so far is to double the tax hikes he was already proposing. Why not ask him why he is being so extreme in proposing a $1.6 trillion tax hike, and how did he specifically arrive at that number to start his negotiations?
4. Some in your party, including a Senate Democratic leader, say the country should go over the cliff if Republicans don’t relent on taxes. Can you say right now the cliff will not be breached?
The Obama White House came up with the idea of sequestration, then Obama lied about that fact in the debates. Why not ask him if he regrets both the idea itself and lying about it? Because Politico wants its questions to look tough without actually being tough. Instead of being tough on him, the framing of the question puts Republicans in the crosshairs and gives Obama the chance to play-act as if he’s above the fray. He’s the reason there is a fray on the question of sequestration.
5. You said during the last presidential debate with Mitt Romney that the defense sequester “will not happen.” Was that a misstatement or are you really that confident?
Obama either lied during the debate, or he is so disconnected from his own administration’s policies that he didn’t know what he was talking about. It would be nice to pin him down as to which is the case. It would have been even nicer to have pinned him down publicly before Nov. 6. Don’t expect that sharp a question from Politico or anyone else in the media, though.
6. Why was the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi so lightly guarded, despite complaints about deteriorating security conditions in Libya?
Hey, is that an actual tough question I see? Eh, not really. It’s the only question about Libya, and doesn’t ask Obama about his own actions on the day of the attack or the weeks that followed. It doesn’t ask him if he had been attending his Presidential Daily Briefings. It allows him to defer to the State Department and does not ask him to explain the administration’s decision to blame a movie, or the decision to arrest the filmmaker and keep him in jail for a year on a probation violation. This is an easily deflected softball disguised as a tough question.
7. So, about those new pot laws. Does the federal government plan to intervene in Washington and Colorado, which both voted to legalize marijuana last week?
An actual tough question on this subject would note that Obama’s government sued Arizona for passing a law that his government did not like, before asking about intervening in Colorado’s and Washington’s marijuana law, to put him on the spot about what would be apparent unfair treatment of the states, probably for political reasons. Politico’s “tough” question lets him off the hook again; he can just defer their version of the question to the Justice Department.
If these questions are examples of that the mainstream media thinks are “tough” on Obama, it’s going to be a very very very long four years.