Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 9, 2009

TO HAVE BEEN A FLY ON THE WALL.... Sounds like a lively gathering at the White House today.

President Obama told House Republican leaders on Wednesday that he is open to their proposals on job creation. But their meeting at the White House included several testy exchanges, including one in which the president accused Republicans of undermining public confidence in the economy by scaring the American people.

"The president said he would look at some of our proposals,'' Representative Eric Cantor, the House Republican whip, told reporters after the session. But, he added, "there is a stark contrast between what the president is proposing and our no-cost jobs plan.''

Actually, that's true, there is a start contrast. On the one hand, we have Cantor's demonstrably ridiculous "jobs plan," built on discredited ideas that have already failed.

One person familiar with the meeting said that the House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, began the session by pushing back against Mr. Obama's assertion that Republicans are concerned about jobs because they are worried about their own electoral prospects.

"Mr. President, we do a lot of politics in this town, but we are committed to working together in areas where we agree to get the American people back to work,'' this person quoted Mr. Boehner as saying.

I find it hard to imagine that anyone seriously believes this. Republicans spent a fair amount of time this year debating whether it's acceptable to publicly root for failure. The notion that they prefer national suffering in the hopes of electoral advantages is not exactly far-fetched. (Besides, there's hardly any point in trying to talk to these clowns -- we're talking about a congressional caucus that, at the height of the economic crisis, demanded a truly insane five-year spending freeze, and still think, nearly a year later, that they were correct. Between reason and insanity, there is no common ground.)

Later in the session, Mr. Obama complained that Republicans, who have cast his health care policies as a "government takeover'' and his jobs ideas as tax increases, are using scare tactics and undermining confidence in the economy.

That concern has the added benefit of being true. The president has helped pull the economy back from the abyss caused by the Republicans' recession, but the public's confidence is still rattled. It doesn't help to have an entire political party committed to terrifying as many Americans as possible.

By one account, President Obama also "challenged congressional Republicans to back up their criticism of his economic recovery plans with academic expertise." In other words, since every credible expert thinks congressional Republicans are hopelessly foolish about every aspect of economic policy, the president would like to see Boehner, Cantor, & Co. back up their inanities with some evidence. Research. Scholarship. Something.

No, GOP leaders, Sarah Palin's Facebook page and Glenn Beck's books don't count as academic expertise.

Steve Benen 4:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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Comments

And I don't care if Phil Graham is a @#$%* economist - he doesn't count as an expert either.

Posted by: bob on December 9, 2009 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Seems like Obama has been reading my posts in this Forum.

I knew I could influence the leader of the free world by my incisive and and substantive criticisms of his style.

Posted by: gregor on December 9, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

"TO HAVE BEEN A FLY ON THE WALL..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sV3_LUBGTU

or maybe not

Posted by: a on December 9, 2009 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Oh to have had 8 years of Gore rather than Bush. The only downside would have been that hump Lieberman. Then again, is is impossible for him to have been worse than Cheney.

Posted by: Bob on December 9, 2009 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

obama's behavior reminds of harry reid's sternly-worded letters.

sounds like a really good attempt at hopey-changey bipartisan job creatin'...

whoopie...

Posted by: neill on December 9, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

I've said it before, + I'll say it again: I really want to see him go 'The Rock' Obama on these guys, I really do...

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/clips/the-rock-obama/1056126/

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on December 9, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

But Beck uses full sentences and everything!

Posted by: TonyB on December 9, 2009 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Deficit-exploding no-impact tax cuts have "no costs" to these fools. Thankfully, the media will point this out, right?

Posted by: Dems lose huge in 2010 on December 9, 2009 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, "no costs". They report, you decide if you actually know if any of it was real.

*sigh*

Posted by: Crissa on December 9, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

I suggest Boehner start at the University of Shut the Fuck Up.

Posted by: BGinCHI on December 9, 2009 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

I want him to get the plan for paying for 2 wars and 2 rounds of tax cuts and Medicare part D, before the repiglicans get to propose any policies for the future.

Posted by: richard wang on December 9, 2009 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Mr. President, we do a lot of politics in this town, but we are committed to working together in areas where we agree to get the American people back to work" is a perfectly honest statement for Boehner to make. Given that there are no areas where they actually agree with Democrats.

Posted by: sarabeth on December 9, 2009 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

PLEASE DON'T LINK TO POLITICO.

It's an unreliable source, which doesn't warrant your support.

Thank you.

Posted by: JPS on December 9, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK
"... built on discredited ideas that have already failed.

A theology can't 'fail', as a plan can be said to fail in the sense of 'be shown not to work', or a theory can be said to fail, in the sense of 'be shown not to comport with observation.'

The people you are talking about are not amenable to reason.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on December 9, 2009 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

I always wonder, what does he think when he hears the Republican nonsense? To his face, even. Why doesn't he just try and grind them into the dustbin of history as they deserve?

Posted by: MNPundit on December 9, 2009 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

I think Obama is on to something here.

He actually believes that elected officials should act like sentient beings.

The Repugnacans think that Americans are dumber than sh*t, that's why we scare so easily.

Obama is calling them out on their snake-oil tactics.

Sarah and Glen can rant all they want...but I nose the trooth!

To all you wingnuts out there, grow up.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 9, 2009 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Neil your a jackass. Don't you ever have anything positive to say?

Posted by: Gandalf on December 9, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

There is a serious issue at the heart of this post and all the snark. The Republicans have decided that it is OK to inflict pain on the American people in an effort to drive Obama's numbers down. The compliant conservative media refuses to call them on it.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 9, 2009 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Not that i'm one to do it (given my propensity for careless typos) but Gandalf,

It's "Neill you're a jackass."
It's not "Neil your a jackass."

That may not be positive, G, but it is helpful.

And no, when it comes to my disappointment with Obama, and my clinical depression at the way the Dims handle their majorities, and my deep loathing for the Repugnants -- no, noting positive here, folks.

The middle class and downward is being left to slowly twist in the cold winter wind, G. For some reason last night, I didn't give $25 this time to Obama to "not let the Insurance companies win" when he emailed me. (I always send those President Obama emails to my 84 year old mother... she is easily impressed)

I was out on a freezing corner last night with a candle among my local MoveOn tribe...but they're all like me -- our signs said "Public Option Now" but we're all "Single Payer" dfhs. We're all wanting ACORN to take over America and turn it into the USSR, so we can just lie around and smoke pot and play Beatles records all day. But don't tell the teabaggers or Sarah Palin, please.

Posted by: neill on December 9, 2009 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell you mean "Palin's Facebook page...don't count"? It says right in Isaiah 11:6 that "a little child shall lead them".

Posted by: Chopin on December 9, 2009 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK
No, GOP leaders, Sarah Palin's Facebook page and Glenn Beck's books don't count as academic expertise.
Neither do AEI or the Heritage Foundation. Posted by: tanstaafl on December 9, 2009 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

What are Boehner and Cantor supposed to do if bullshit is no longer considered political currency? The Republicans don't have anything else.

Posted by: DH Walker on December 9, 2009 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

*In other words, since every credible expert thinks congressional Republicans are hopelessly foolish about every aspect of economic policy*

Now two issues with this on the author ...
First -- Credible expert -- this is thrown out when they want to pick and choose WHO you listen to.

Second -- most important of all -- I can cite some non-experts. That have no credibility at all. None whatsoever.
Thing is those experts voted Obama, et al, into office.
And guess what?
THEY are the ones who can vote him out.

Now Mr. Benen can complain about the Public's lack of expertise, and their lack of credibility ( after all how could 60 million people be so STUPID ) he can even complain about how the newest PPP poll says at this specific moment FOURTY-FOUR percent WISH BUSH WAS STILL IN OFFICE!!!!

But complain all he wants. The PEOPLE make the decisons. Not his "credible experts".
They always have. And they always will.
That is a simple fact.

Posted by: Chrome on December 10, 2009 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Please back up your unsubstantiated assertion that Obama "helped pull the economy back from the abyss." To the extent you may be referring to TARP - that was enacted last fall and Obama really hasn't administered it any differently than Bush did (and for those who may disagree - point me to specific differences between Obama's implementation of TARP and Bush's beyond bullshit tonal shifts).

If you are referring to the stimulus, that claim is laughable. Now, I'm not saying the stimulus didn't help, but even if the best case estimate is true - that it saved 1 million or so jobs - it would mean we have an unemployment rate a couple percentage points lower than what we otherwise would have had. A positive difference? Absolutely. Pulling the economy "back from the abyss"? Hardly. Let's back off from the hyperbole just a little bit here.

Posted by: ab on December 10, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

A little cheese with that Whine? What incredible arrogance! The dems credible is outnumbered by the reps credible 4 to 1. Methinks thats a majority. You lose!

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Posted by: Patrick on February 18, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK
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