“Even if you never met him, you know this guy,” Karl Rove said of then-candidate Obama in 2008. “He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”
Of course, what we didn’t realize back then was just how ginormous the bar tab of the guy making snide comments about us would be — or that we’d be the ones who got stuck paying his bills, Michael Barone wrote yesterday:
Perceptive writers like David Brooks of the New York Times told us in 2008 that Obama was basically a pragmatist, a slave to no ideology but simply a student of what works. Brooks was apparently impressed by Obama’s mention of Edmund Burke and the sharp crease in his pants.
But a pragmatist would probably not choose to call for more of the policies that plainly haven’t worked. Infrastructure spending (shovel ready, anyone?), subsidies of teachers’ salaries, fixing roofs and windows on schools: These were all in the 2009 stimulus package, which has led to the stagnant economy we have today.
A pragmatist doesn’t keep pressing the same garage door button when the garage door doesn’t open. He gets out of the car and tries to identify what’s wrong.
Paid for. “Everything in this bill,” Obama said in his eighth paragraph, “will be paid for. Everything.”
By whom? Well, in the 24th paragraph he tells us that he is asking the 12-member supercommittee Congress set up under the debt ceiling bill to add another $450,000,000,000 or so to the $1,500,000,000,000 in savings it is charged to come up with. The roving camera showed the ordinarily hardy supercommittee member Sen. Jon Kyl looking queasy.
Obama is like the guy in the bar who says, “I’ll stand drinks for everyone in the house,” and then adds, “Those guys over there are going to pay for them.”
If only Congress could find a graceful mechanism to allow the president to admit he was wrong and say “we’re sorry, dear,” then that would be helpful.