Michael Schaus

I guess we should first give a hand to Major Garrett of CBS for leading his network into another accidental venture of actual journalism earlier this year. As the President conducted a question and non-answer session with members of the Press, back in January, Major asked the President about his “unprecedented” request that the upcoming debt limit increase be non-negotiable.

The President’s non-answer to Major was typical, rambling, and evasive. His remarks have more recently been echoed by the Treasury Secretary on financial talk shows, and the Press Secretary on routine occasion. But, for the sake of column inches, it’s worth mercilessly tearing his non-answer apart (again):

The President’s request that the debt limit be increased without compromise or negotiation actually is unprecedented. It is also, however, the exact sort of stubbornness the White House accuses the GOP of employing every time a manufactured crises rears its ugly head. “What’s Different,” according to the President, is that “we’ve never seen a situation, like we did last year, in which certain, uh, groups in Congress took such an absolutist position.”

Really? Absolutist? Asking for a deficit reduction plan, like congress got in the Bush, Clinton, and Reagan Administrations, is absolutist? Strange choice of words. . . But he went on:

“And, the – the – uh – the fact of the matter is that we have never seen the debt ceiling used in this fashion, where the notion was ‘you know, we might default, unless we get 100 percent of what we want.’”

Now. . . Wrap your brain around this: There is a man (who voted against raising the debt ceiling when his predecessor was in office) telling a room full of journalists that the problem is a group of people who refuse to negotiate; and because of those uncompromising fools, he has decided not to negotiate. Now wrap your brain around this: No-one laughed out loud. Not one reporter found the hypocrisy uncontrollably laughable. In fact, many of them feverishly reported the gist of the comment: The GOP is forcing Obama to demand a unilateral increase in the debt.

Oh, and what happens if he fails to negotiate? Well. . . Default, I guess.

Michael Schaus

Michael Schaus is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and is responsible for managing the organization’s messaging with the public, the media and NPRI’s membership.

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