Was it just me, or was that as pissed-off as we're likely to see the president in public? Oh, he was still maddeningly vague about who really was behind the Reign Of Morons, all that talk about "the other side," without using the words, "Republicans," "conservatives," or "raving nutballs," and all that talk about the dangers of "the extremes,' as though Bernie Sanders was as relevant to the events of the past two weeks as Ted Cruz was. I resemble that remark, sir, and my seconds will be calling on you. And what was that crack conflating "bloggers" with "radio talking-heads" I resemble that remark, sir, and my seconds will be calling on you.
More important, he's still arguing for an economic compromise in the context of continuing austerity. He talked about tax reform without tax increases. He talked about jobs without mentioning stimulus. And what he said about "entitlements" sent a cold chill down my spine since it was exactly what Paul Ryan would say. Which is what happens when you conclude that " creating a budget" is not an "ideological exercise."
Now, the good news is the legislation I signed yesterday now requires Congress to do exactly that, what it could have been doing all along. And we shouldn't approach this process of creating a budget as an ideological exercise, just cutting for the sake of cutting. The issue's not growth versus fiscal responsibility. We need both. We need a budget that deals with the issues that most Americans are focused on, creating more good jobs that pay better wages. And remember, the deficit is getting smaller, not bigger. It's going down faster than it has in the last 50 years. The challenge that we have right now are not short-term deficits; it's the long-term obligations that we have around things like Medicare and Social Security.We want to make sure those are there for future generations.
This is, of course, ridiculous. Everything in politics is an ideological exercise. That's the way it's supposed to be. Paul Ryan's objection to social-welfare programs is entirely ideological; he does not believe that things like Medicare and Social Security are legitimate exercises of the power of government. He wants them eliminated, He wants the ideas behind them defeated, forever. His approach is more tactically nuanced than that of Louie Gohmert -- so is a tackhammer -- but the goals are the same. If one side of these negotiations is utterly ideological, and the other side if ideologically fastidious, on which side would you put your money?
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Nevertheless, the president made it plain that, if "the other side" wants to deal, it's up to them to wring the crazy out of their rag in one quick hurry.
So let's work together to make government work better instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse. That's not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of self-government. You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don't break it. Don't break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That's not being faithful to what this country's about.
Everything's relative, I guess.