Sunday, December 13, 2009

Obama The Grouch

Do you remember when Christopher Buckley endorsed Barack Obama on the basis that he had a “first-class temperament"?

Well, when I saw President Obama's interview on 60 Minutes this evening and was struck by his sour disposition.

Now, it's hardly the first time I've seen Obama take a defensive posture when challenged. But my goodness he was downright rude to Steve Kroft:

Kroft: You mentioned Congress and health care. You ran for office based on the fact that you were going to try and reform the system. You wanted to change the status quo in Washington. Then you came in, and you turned over your top priority, health care, to the Congress.

Obama: That's not true.

Kroft: Five-hundred-thirty-five well, you laid out what you wanted, and you set the guidelines.

Obama: Right. Exactly.

Kroft: And then stood back and turned it over to 535 people who produced a 2,000-page bill that is-

Obama: What?

Kroft: Well, I haven't read it. So

Obama: Finish your thought, Steve.

If President Bush had told a journalist to "finish your thought" he would have been crucified in the media. If Obama can't handle hearing that many Americans are having trouble understanding what is in the health care bill then it shows how truly out of touch he is with the real world.

How many times is Obama going to use the phrase "over the last eight years"? Obama was true to form tonight:

And one of the mistakes that was made over the last eight years is for us to have a triumphant sense about war.

There was a tendency to say, "We can go in. We can kick some tail. This is some glorious exercise." When in fact, this is a tough business.

Perhaps Obama should note President Bush's address to the Joint Session of Congress on September 20, 2001:

Now this war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat. Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.

If President Obama insists on impugning the character of the Bush Administration he could at least cite a specific example to support his assertion. During his West Point speech, Obama said, "Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive." Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called Obama's assertion "a bald misstatement." Rumsfeld also said, "“I am not aware of a single request of that nature between 2001 and 2006.” But then again we know what happens when there isn't anyone to hold his teleprompter in place for him:

Obama: I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of, you know, fat cat bankers on Wall Street. The only ones that are gonna be paying out these fat bonuses are the ones that have now paid back that TARP money and aren't using taxpayer loans.

Kroft: Do you think that's why they paid it back so quickly?

Obama: I think in some cases that was a motivation. Which I think tells me that the people on Wall Street still don't get it. They don't get it. They're still puzzled. "Why is it that people are mad at the banks?" Well, let's see. You guys are drawing down $10, $20 million bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it's gone through in decades, and you guys caused the problem. And we've got ten percent unemployment. Why do you think people might be a little frustrated.

Kroft: Do you think that they've made some of these bonuses based in part on the generosity and policies of the United States government to help put the financial system back on its feet?

Obama: I think there is no doubt about it. And what's most frustrating me right now is you've got these same banks who benefitted from taxpayer assistance who are fighting tooth and nail with their lobbyists up on Capitol Hill fighting against financial regulatory reform.

There's no doubt Wall Street deserves some share of the blame for the economic collapse but there's plenty of blame to go around. Singling out Wall Street is not helpful. Would President Obama have preferred Wall Street defaulted on TARP? Besides I don't if Obama should have drawn attention to the fact the unemployment rate is at 10% when it happened under his watch. Again, it's not all his fault but his economic policies have certainly contributed to it.

John McCain was severely criticized for his temper and erratic behavior. Well, President Obama certainly did not come off in this interview as the calm, cool and collected person he presented himself to the American voter. There was little evidence of the "first-class temperament" on display this evening.

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