The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Shorter Obama: ‘In This False Dilemma, America Must Make a Manichean Choice Between My Indisputably Wise Policies and My Tendentious Straw-Man Caricature of Republican Policies’

Posted on | November 29, 2010 | 12 Comments

Of course, that description fits just about anything Obama says, not just today’s speech justifying a two-year freeze on federal civilian employee pay. It goes to show how, even when arguing in favor of a good policy, the president’s rhetoric is predictably crammed with invalid logic, counterfactual assertions, and — always — the effort to shift blame to his favorite scapegoats. Even the press release announcing today’s speech began with scapegoating:

Because of the irresponsibility of the past decade, the President inherited a $1.3 trillion projected deficit upon taking office . . .

Translation: Blame Bush!

I’ll update in a few minutes with the transcript, video, reaction and commentary from other bloggers.

UPDATE: A loophole big enough to drive a government truck through:

Will we actually see this cost savings?  Probably not.  Gabriel Malor received an official explanation given to federal employees today, which assured them that the freeze “will not impact step increases or bonuses for federal workers.”  It applies to cost-of-living increases, mainly.  If an agency wants to give a worker an increase, they just need to increase their pay grade or boost their bonuses to make it happen.

UPDATE II: Rep. Darrell Issa:

To put this in perspective, the Obama Administration says this two-year pay freeze will save $2 billion, however, just last week, OMB released a report revealing that the federal government’s improper payments for FY-2010 totaled $125 billion, $15 billion higher than the previous year. It is unthinkable that we have come to accept having a bureaucracy that has institutionalized waste, fraud and abuse to the point where $125 billion in improper payments were made last year.

(Via National Review‘s Robert Costa.)

UPDATE III: C-SPAN video is online and, with the assistance of the official White House transcript, let me show you what I mean about Obama’s use of scapegoats, strawmen and false dilemmas:

Going forward, we’re going to have to make some additional very tough decisions that this town has put off for a very long time. 

Implied: “Unnamed others have put off ‘tough decisions,’ which I possess the courage and wisdom to make.”

And that’s what this upcoming week is really about.  My hope is that, starting today, we can begin a bipartisan conversation about our future, because we face challenges that will require the cooperation of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

Translation: “If my policies are opposed by others, it is because they are partisans, who don’t care about ‘our future’ and are unwilling to ‘face challenges’ or engage in the requisite ‘cooperation.’”

Everybody is going to have to cooperate.  We can’t afford to fall back onto the same old ideologies or the same stale sound bites. 

Translation: “Any arguments made by my opponents are mere ‘sound bites,’ reflecting their obstinate adherence to ‘old’ — which is to say, discredited and obsolete — ‘ideologies.’”

We’re going to have to budge on some deeply held positions and compromise for the good of the country. 

Translation“Of course, I am not going to ‘budge’ an inch. I’m merely setting up the argument that if my opponents don’t rubber-stamp my own policies — which is what I mean by ‘compromise’ — it is because they are indifferent to ‘the good of the country.’”

We’re going to have to set aside the politics of the moment to make progress for the long term.

Translation: “Everyone who opposes me is doing so for short-term political gain, because they are opposed to progress.”

 And as I’ve often said, we’re going to have to think not just about the next election, but about the next generation, because if there’s anything the American people said this month . . .  

Translation: “Whatever voters said in the mid-term election, it cannot be considered a rejection of my own policies. Unless, of course, the American people are a bunch of backward ignoramuses who have fallen prey to the ‘same old sound bites’ offered by my partisan opponents, who are enemies of progress. And, in case you haven’t noticed, ’I've often said’ this.”

. . . it’s that they want their leaders to have one single focus:  making sure their work is rewarded so that the American Dream remains within their reach.

Translation“Excuse me while I focus on unloading this massive cargo of glittering generalities. My opponents are against rewarding work, and are at least tacitly supportive of putting the American Dream out of reach of the American people.” 

It would be unwise to assume they prefer one way of thinking over another.  That wasn’t the lesson that I took when I entered into office, and it’s not the lesson today.

Translation: “As long as I’m the president, no event may be interpreted as reflecting badly upon me. Anyone who says that Americans prefer policies other than my own is unwise. And in conclusion: Blow me.”

UPDATE IV: Instapundit links to a Conn Carroll policy piece at the Heritage Foundation, while it falls to Brian Butler of Talking Points Media to point out that Republicans advocated the federal pay freeze months ago, for which the GOP was denounced Democrats.

So, while the Scapgoater-in-Chief applauds his own visionary leadership for adopting one tiny part of the Republican policy agenda (you know, that obsolete ideology of partisan sound-bites) now Obama expects us to believe him when he proclaims that the rest of the GOP agenda is nothing more than an expression irrational hatred of progress.

UPDATE V: Ed Lasky at American Thinker: “Barack Obama because he has created 141,000 new federal jobs since he took office (meanwhile the rest of the nation has lost millions of jobs) and has been busy raising [federal] salaries with all the alacrity of Santa Claus on Christmas Day.”

UPDATE VI: Interesting headline at Firedoglake:

Obama Flunks Economics with
Pointless Federal Wage Freeze

Of course, Firedoglake being Firedoglake, they’re attacking Obama on his left flank, claiming that government “austerity” is counterproductive from a neo-Keynesian perspective. (“Aggregate demand! Aggregate demand!”) What makes the headline interesting to me, however, is that while Obama been flunking economics from Day One, it wasn’t until he took this one teeny-tiny token baby-step in the right direction that liberals started whining.

If Obama keeps taking baby-steps this way, it’s possible that the unemployment rate might actually decrease between now and November 2012, which is both good news and bad news.

The bad news is, if unemployment goes down, it will make Obama more likely to be re-elected. The good news is, that would drive the Left even more batshit crazy than they already are. The lefty bloggers will be howling “betrayal” and “sellout,” even while the economy improves and Obama’s approval rating goes up.

So we’d still have Obama as president after 2012, but we’d also have the delightful entertainment of watching these demented moonbat bloggers trying to explain why it was a very bad thing for him to pursue the very policies that did the most to secure his re-election.

And yeah: Millions more Americans would have jobs.

UPDATE VII: Linked by the Lonely Conservative. Thanks!

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