Political Animal


November 02, 2011 3:30 PM Obama mocks Congress on motto vote

By Steve Benen

And here I was concerned yesterday’s nonsense on the House floor would go by unnoticed.

President Obama invoked God Wednesday as he criticized Congress for voting on commemorative coins and a resolution reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the national motto in all public buildings, public schools and other government institutions.

“That’s not putting people back to work,” Obama said. “I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people to work.”

Obama called on Congress to approve his jobs package.

“There’s no excuse for 100 percent of Washington Republicans to say no,” Obama said. “That means Republicans in Washington are out of touch with Republican voters.”

When there’s a jobs crisis, the public is desperate for Congress to focus on job creation, and House Republicans are investing time in a resolution that says the national motto is still the national motto, yes, I think it’s safe to say Republicans in Washington are out of touch.

It’s also good to see the president pick up on a theme I’ve been pushing quite a bit recently: Republican voters are far more likely to have their act together than Republican policymakers. After all, rank-and-file GOP voters largely support Democratic jobs proposals and modest tax increases on millionaires and billionaires.

On a related note, Obama, as part of his remarks on infrastructure this morning, also included this gem:

“If you don’t want to take my word for it, take it from one of my predecessors. He said that — and I’m quoting here — ‘the bridges and highways we fail to repair today will have to be rebuilt tomorrow at many times the cost.’ He went on to say that rebuilding our infrastructure is common sense — and an investment in tomorrow that we must make today.’ That President was Ronald Reagan. Since when do we have Republicans voting against Ronald Reagan’s ideas?”

Greg Sargent tracked down the Reagan speech, and discovered that the former president proposed a tax on motorists to pay infrastructure investments, “and he explicitly justified this added tax by arguing that infrastructure spending would stimulate the economy.”

Taken together, congressional Republicans are out of touch with their own constituents and their own demigod. That ought to tell the political world something about the degree of GOP radicalism on display.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • just bill on November 02, 2011 3:41 PM:

    and i can't wait to see this on the nightly news.

    oh. right.

  • citizen_pain on November 02, 2011 3:41 PM:

    what is also says is that the republican legislators are not republican. Randians, theocrats, libertarians, the city-slicker KKK, whatever you want to call them.

    But they are not republicans.

  • Schtick on November 02, 2011 3:48 PM:

    I hope the voters remember this or that they are reminded of it at election time. I want to see the Orange Man cry for a GOOD reason.

    crapcha....ixertak artificial....all tealibans are

  • T2 on November 02, 2011 3:56 PM:

    gee, I hope Obama isn't coming across as Uppity or Scary to the GOP. Even Reagan's own son said that King Ronny wouldn't stand a chance getting elected in todays GOP.
    I never thought I'd see the day when going back to the days of Reagan would be a positive thing.

  • gifgrrl on November 02, 2011 4:00 PM:

    Now, I dunno. Seems to me that if Congress really was serious about governing, they could pass bills such as:

    The Sun Does Rise in the East;
    Bears Do S*it in the Woods;
    It is Dark at Night.

    These are really, really important ideas to affirm. Why waste time creating jobs, fer cryin' out loud?

  • Ladyhawke on November 02, 2011 4:00 PM:

    And as usual, the White House Press Corps brought the Republican Party talking points to the daily briefing. At least two or three "reporters" (and I use that word advisedly) wanted to know if it was appropriate for President Obama to bring God into the jobs debate. It might as well have been Speaker Boehner asking the question himself. The reporters are just conduits for the GOP anyway.

    But Press Secretary Jay Carney stated the obvious. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives work two weeks and then they are off for one week. They have time to take votes of commemorative coins and mottos, but they don't have time to bring the American Jobs Act to the floor for a vote. It's not that complicated. That's what's inappropriate.

    President Obama is just reporting the facts and exposing the Republicans. But the White House Press Corps is more concerned about the optics of President Obama bringing up the In God We Trust motto. It's embarrassing and an indictment of the media. They have failed the American people. It's no wonder that so many Americans don't have a clue about the accomplishments of the Obama administration and the obstruction of the GOP.

  • stormskies on November 02, 2011 4:12 PM:

    And let's remember that the White House Press Corps are all millionaires made that way by the corporations who hired them, and that they do the bidding of those corporations like General Electric.

    It is quite an incredible picture actually, a picture of those millionaires asking these questions, millionaires who make more money than THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HIMSELF.

  • The Oracle on November 02, 2011 4:52 PM:

    "In Wall Street We Trust" is the real Republican motto. Who are they trying to fool? Every second of every day Republicans ask themselves "WWWSD?" as in "What Would Wall Street Do?" or "WDWSW?" as in "What Does Wall Street Want?"

    Republicans chose the other day to reaffirm the 1950s "In God We Trust" slogan, a day selected solely as their response to Halloween, as part of a right-wing religious salvo in their War on Halloween.

    If God is synonymous with greed, then "In God We Trust," relative to conservative Republicans and their wealthy Wall Street corporate backers, would make perfect sense, but Jesus Christ was hardly greedy, so all these "Christian" Republicans were doing the other day was reaffirming their true motto "In False Gods We Trust."

  • MichaelW on November 02, 2011 5:14 PM:

    Umm, what about the 15 jobs bills already passed by the House and sitting idle in the Senate? Or the fact that the House has already passed two parts of Obama's jobs bill? Far from doing nothing, it seems like the House is actually getting some things done.

  • martin on November 02, 2011 5:16 PM:

    “and he explicitly justified this added tax by arguing that infrastructure spending would stimulate the economy.”

    Well, there's the problem. Can't be having no stimulus spending, can we.

    MichaelW: Just because they call them jobs bills, doesn't mean they are. They are just the same old GOP cut taxes and regulations trickle down crap.

  • MichaelW on November 02, 2011 5:19 PM:

    @martin: So just because Obama calls his a jobs bill it's the unmitigated truth (despite the fact that it's just a smaller version of the stimulus package that already failed)?

    And what of the portions of Obama's bill that have been passed by the House, but are languishing in the Senate?

  • square1 on November 02, 2011 6:35 PM:

    @MichaelW: Listen, if you are too stupid to understand basic economics, you can go eat paste. If you take Econ 101, you will learn the basic formula for GDP: Y = C + I + E + G. What this means is that if consumer spending (C) decreases, which it has, and if private sector investment (I) decreases, which it has, then GDP (Y) will decline unless government spending (G) makes up the shortfall.

    This is not how "libruls" calculate GDP. This is how ALL economists calculate GDP. And if you ask ANY actual economists, and not just Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann, you will learn that, in the short term, there is no dispute that government spending will stimulate the economy.

    Did the original stimulus "fail"? Well, it was better than nothing, but it was not enough to fully counter the decrease in consumer spending and private investment. It stopped the rate of job losses that was occurring in 2008, but it was insufficient to restore all the jobs.

    But let me ask you this. If you run out of gas and a mechanic tells you to put a gallon of gas in to get to the next gas station and then you choose to put in 1/3 of a gallon and run out again before you make it to the pump, would you say that the idea of putting gas in your tank "failed"? If so, you are a Republican.

  • bdop4 on November 02, 2011 6:51 PM:

    The GOP can't be mocked enough and I'm glad to see President Obama get into the game. That resolution in lieu of meaningful legislation deserves continued scorn until the GOP rues the day they brought it up.


    The economy was losing 800,000+ jobs/month when Obama took office. The stimulus, although too small by the estimates of economists who know their ass from a hole in the ground, still quickly brought the job losses down to a manageable level.

    How would the GOP solutions at the time (tax cuts and spending freezes) have reduced the job losses? Answer: they would have doubled. Please prove me wrong because I have yet to hear a rightwinger articulate how tax cuts and spending freezes create jobs. Good luck with that.

  • moon on November 02, 2011 6:57 PM:

    MichaelW is a perfect example of a Republican is lives in a delusional universe, and has a psychological need to have those delusions reinforced by the stupidity of the Republican talking point and slogans that turn black into white, and white into black.

  • Doug on November 02, 2011 8:26 PM:

    "What of the portions of Obama's bill that have been passed by the House, but are languishing in the Senate?" MichaelW @ 5:19 PM.

    First, which "portions"?
    Second, you more properly should address the above question to Sen. McConnell (R-KY) aka Yertl.

    I hadn't realized until now how VERY appropriate the abbreviation for Kentucky is, when applied to its' senior Senator...

  • Jack Hammer on November 02, 2011 8:33 PM:

    Somebody needs to very publicly ask the Republicans if this "God" in the motto also refers to Allah.

    This motto is inherently divisive and unnecessary.

  • Mark on November 02, 2011 10:04 PM:

    MichaelW, how can you look at all of the news events from Europe's austerity plan, you know the one that all you Republicans lust after, and all of it's failures: England Greece, Portugal, perhaps France next, and think that it will work here?

  • MichaelW on November 02, 2011 11:38 PM:

    Wow, so much vitriol and speculation, and yet still no answers to the questions.

    Pres. Obama is blaming the House for not taking time to do something about the unemployment problem we are all facing. He even claims that God wants Obama's jobs bill to be passed. But the actual facts are that, not only has the Republican-controlled House passed 15 jobs bills, they've also passed parts of Obama's jobs bill, and to top it all off the GOP House Study Committee just unveiled yet another jobs bill.

    I get that none of you agree with the terms or efficacy of these plans, and that's fair. But the charge by Obama is that the GOP-controlled House is wasting time with meaningless bills when they could be doing something about the jobless situation affecting the country. The question for you all, given the facts, is that a fair accusation? If so, why is it fair, levaing aside any policy disagreements? Do you agree with the President that the House is doing nothing?

  • Krowe on November 03, 2011 8:00 AM:

    One of the important lessons from Machievelli is that in order to acquire and maintain power, everything must be subordinate to the effort - even the very reasons you wanted power for in the first place must be sacrificed, the only goal is power for its own sake.

    Mittens and the modern Republicans have come to epitomize this lesson. They'll abandon every principle, even the ones they said were essential five minutes ago, if they think it will help them cling to power.