The Other McCain

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

VIDEO: The Man With No Plan Accuses House Republicans of Irresponsibility

Posted on | July 30, 2011 | 35 Comments

“President Snippy Pants,” as William Teach calls him, evidently believes what America needs is more lectures from him:

While accusing the House GOP of wasting time by, y’know, passing legislation, our Lecturer-in-Chief uses his weekly address to issue yet another iteration of Democrat Party talking points:

Republicans in the House of Representatives just spent precious days trying to pass a plan that a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate had already said they wouldn’t vote for. It’s a plan that wouldn’t solve our fiscal problems, but would force us to re-live this crisis in just a few short months. It would hold our economy captive to Washington politics once again. If anything, the past few weeks have demonstrated that’s unacceptable.
Any solution to avoid default must be bipartisan. It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people — not just one faction of one party. . . .
Now all of us — including Republicans in the House of Representatives — need to demonstrate the same kind of responsibility that the American people show every day. The time for putting party first is over.

One hesitates to spend “precious days” (or even precious minutes) fisking this, as the hypocritical falseness of Obama’s rhetoric really ought to be self-evident.

Let us first have done with Obama’s bogus insinuation that he represents the credible voice of “responsibility.” He hasn’t put forward any detailed plan of his own. Instead of providing a budget, he gave a speechApril 13 at George Washington University — in which he dishonestly used the phrase “my budget,” and rolled out the focus-group-tested phrase “balanced approach” (i.e., code for “tax increases”).

In his GWU speech, the president recycled the old-and-busted partisan talking-point that ObamaCare “will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion” (laughably false), and then infamously asserted that his “balanced approach” would “achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over twelve years.”

I say he “infamously” made this assertion, because it stands as a historic milestone in the annals of deceptive political rhetoric.

The first thing to notice is that Obama employed the Large Number Trick, whereby politicians throw out a sum of millions, billions or trillions knowing full well that the average listener will be so awed — “Four trillion dollars! Wow!” — that rational thought ceases. But when our current annual deficit is $1.4 trillion, and the president projects that out over 12 years ($16.8 trillion by simple multiplication), a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation shows he’s actually proposing about a 24% reduction in the deficit, so that the 2024 budget deficit would still be $1.07 trillion.

Beyond the president’s deft use of the Large Number Trick in his April 13 GWU speech, there is the obvious problem of a “plan” (or an “approach” which Obama dares to call “my budget”) that presumes to know the state of economic and political affairs in 2024.

This is what we might call the Future Projection Trick: Make your budget calculations based on some distant point in the future and propose draconian cuts in the latter years of that multi-year span. This permits you to claim to have saved taxpayers a lot of money while not actually cutting much of anything in the near term. And of course, those projected future draconian cuts never actually happen, because future congressmen and future presidents don’t consider themselves bound by their predecessors’ promises.

Even if Obama gets re-elected next year, the 2017 budget would be the last over which he had any influence, so his future-projected deficit cuts in 2018, 2019, et cetera, are even more utterly worthless than every other promise he’s ever made.

Yet the final and most important thing about Obama’s “budget” (or “plan,” or “approach,” or whatever you want to call what he outlined April 13 in his only explicit attempt to address the debt-ceiling issue) is that it was so lacking in specificity that it couldn’t be scored by the Congressional Budget Office.

Here once again we see Obama employing a rhetorical trick — the Virtue of Vagueness — in a phony attempt to claim that he is serious about the budget problem. He employs the “bully pulpit” to present himself as responsible (he used “responsibility” or “responsibilities” 10 times in his April 13 speech), the spokesman for an America that “is generous and compassionate,” and yet utterly fails to provide the kind of numbers that will permit a green-eyeshade accounting of whether he has actually done what he wants listeners to believe he has done, i.e., reduce the deficit.

While I’m not sure whether an “approach” is supposed to be subject to an accountant’s scrutiny, an actual budget must be. (My “approach” to making money from this blog is to rattle the tip jar and try to hustle up some lucrative Amazon sales, but this Underpants Gnome business model would never pass muster with the CBO.) What Obama avoided through his Virtue of Vagueness Trick was having to say, for example, what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration budget would be in 2014, or how much would be spent to fund the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in 2015.

Obama’s “approach” is arithmetically nebulous for the very reason that he doesn’t want to have to explain or defend any actual budget reductions. An actual budget must be specific as to the amount of funding allotted to each department, each division, each agency, each program, and this Obama was unwilling or unable to do, so his big “bully pulpit” proposal on April 13 wasn’t something for which the accountants and economists at the CBO could produce a score.

How much money would Obama’s approach save? We don’t know!

And this, I suggest, can only be a matter of cold political calculation.

From the very outset of the debate over the debt-ceiling, Obama was playing a game: Make the House Republicans spell out in a CBO-scored budget proposal exactly what they were planning to cut. Then claim that, by doing so, they were rejecting the “balanced approach” of the “generous and compassionate” president.

The House GOP’s legislation would, by necessity, include specific numbers for agency budget reductions, which could then be employed as campaign attack-ad fodder next year, frightening the ignorant “swing voters” and gullible “soccer moms” with scary-talk about greedy Republicans who want to slash funds for the Bureau of Generosity and eliminate altogether the Department of Compassion.

The president’s not-so-secret-weapon in this political attack strategy is, of course, Harry Reid’s Democrat majority in the Senate which predictably rejected anything that John Boehner could actually push through the House. Thus, Obama’s partisan attack machine not only gets the specific budget numbers with which to smear Republicans as heartless villains in next year’s campaign, but also affords the president an opportunity to claim — as he did today — that this entire ginned-up crisis is due to the ideological fanaticism and partisan opportunism  of those dangerous right-wing GOP extremists.

As usual with Obama, the truth is the exact opposite of whatever he says. He is the one seeking partisan advantage and being irresponsible. It is not the House Republicans but the Senate Democrats who have acted the part of ideologues and obstructionists. And the only question now is whether President Snippy Pants will get away with this transparent trickery.

Obama predictably relies on deceptive sophistry to advance his self-serving agenda. His address today is entitled “Compromise on Behalf of the American People,” which more honestly could be called “Compromise on Behalf of My Re-Election Campaign.” And he might very well get away with it unless Republicans unite and speak with one voice to explain to voters exactly what the president is doing.

Call him out on his phony political gamesmanship, his dishonest partisan rhetoric and his unspeakable hypocrisy in claiming to be “responsible” while abdicating his own responsibility.

* * * * *

What You Can Do
If you agree with the logic of the foregoing argument, why don’t you copy it in an e-mail and send it to your Republican representative, senator, governor or state GOP chairman? You can also e-mail it to your favorite local or national talk radio host, or Republican presidential candidates (who certainly ought to be speaking out on the current budget debate). Also, by using the “share” button at the bottom of the post, you can share it via Twitter or post it to Facebook. Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word. — RSM

UPDATE: Linked by That Mr. G Guy, Bob Belvedere at The Camp of the Saints, Dan Collins at The Conservatory and — of course — welcome, Instapundit readers!


  • KingShamus

    “Call Obama out?” 

    Oh RS, you know Boehner is far too busy for that sort of thing.  He’s too busy cutting deals to, you know, win the debate or anything.

  • Anonymous

    Where is Obama on Budget Crisis? 

  • Dianna Deeley

    Where is his plan? Where is a Democrat plan?

    BTW, has anyone (except Stacy, of course) managed to listen to the whole three minutes and fifty-eight seconds? I lasted 28 seconds before I feared for my laptop’s screen.

  • Vermontaigne

    Hobbit denouncer (yes, it’s come to that)  Robert Reich put it into his head that what we needed was more lecturing, in IBD, yesterday, I think.

  • Vermontaigne

    Gosh, and this reminds me of skating around the rink at Wirth Park with Kirky Nelson in 6th grade, mittened hand in mittened hand:

  • Ladd Ehlinger Jr.

    One day, when we’re eating our government supplied moldy bread, we’ll look back at all this and laugh.

  • Anonymous

    What can possibly explain this persistent idea among Democrats that what Americans really want is more lectures from Obama? During the 2010 mid-terms, every Democrat with a functioning survival instinct was desperately running away from Obama. And yet now, evidently, they think that they can “win” by turning him into the omnipresent face and voice of their party. If they keep this up — and if Republicans will capitalize on the opportunity it presents — the only real question of the 2012 election will be whether the GOP gains a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate.

    Of course, expecting Republicans to be smart is about as hopeless as expecting Democrats to be honest.

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  • Anonymous

    They KNOW we don’t want them..  They’re just Alinksying Obama, making HIM the face of the problem they’ve been constructing since the Clinton Administration, so HE gets the blame instead. Like when the White publisher and editor of the NY Times decided to fire the black editor to cover THEIR responsibility for Jayson Blair.

    Democrats screwing the black man again…

  • Anonymous

    Wait a minute: You haven’t started eating your government-supplied moldy bread yet?

    What? Are you on a diet?

  • Anonymous

    Old and busted: “Rickrolled.”

    New and hot: “Precious and Fewed.”

  • Bob Belvedere

    Also, Your Majesty, I don’t think stubborn Barry is ready to ‘come out’.

  • Bob Belvedere

    And saying ‘mmm…doubleplusgood’.

  • Dianna Deeley

    The ergot-inspired hallucinations are to be savored!

  • mockmook

    I think I read somewhere that the GOP plan gives targets for cuts (in growth!!!), but doesn’t say what departments or programs are to be “cut”.

    Doesn’t really matter much, since the only chance for REAL cuts won’t come until after 2012. 

  • Sukie Tawdry

    I say we call Obama’s bluff.

  • mRed

    Well said Mr. McCain. Well said! I shared with others including my Rep. and my Senator Charade Brown (Doofus-OH). I also put it on my site:

  • Dianna Deeley

    I sent a modified version to my critters. Along with a suggestion to the Senatrix (I seem to remember that covers the plural) to untable and vote in favor of CC&B.

    Of course, I’m pretty sure they just cried out, “Ew! Ucky!” and ignored it.

  • Joe

    You and Collins are sick and twisted.  Bewarned people, you will wish you were Helen Keller after watching that video. 

  • Joe

    I do fondly remember the days when Grandma would bring home Reagan cheese from the Senior Center.  Those were the good old days. 

    Soon the moldy bread will be gone and we will be down to this

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  • Anonymous

    Hold the American economy hostage for crass political advantage?

    Yes we can!

    This is the Hope&Change! that you voted for.

  • Anonymous

    Flashback to The Two Towers:

    “We ain’t had nothing but maggoty bread for three stinking days!”

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  • Bob Belvedere

    -Well put – very well put.

    -Barack Hussein Obama is just like the dude hanging around the sidewalks inviting you to play the shell game: any bet is a sucker’s bet because the game is rigged.  However, the guy in the streets has more nobility: he will at least give you a wink when you let him know you know it’s all a con.

    -Quoted from and Linked to at: The Man With The Molding Tongue

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  • Anonymous

    Here’s a partial transcript.


  • Anonymous

    Aye, he is bluffing if no deal is reached by Aug 3 the sun will still rise birds will still fly and O’Sputnik won’t be able to go to Chicago to celebrate his birthday. A successful outcome by any measure.

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  • gahrie

    Forget the Balanced Budget Amendment. I want an Amendment that states that anytime the Government cannot pass a budget (preferable balanced or maybe a surplus) than no member of Congress or the President may receive a paycheck, and this pay cannot be made up at a later date.

  • McGehee

    I remember my mother’s neighbors urging her to run and get the free cheese, and mom telling them no, she had all the cheese she needed.

    “But it’s free!” they wailed as they fled her obviously insane presence.

  • Serr8d

    He’s a ‘Community Organizer’ first; always has been, always will be. Unfortunately, for this little Republic, that didn’t translate into ‘Leader’.

  • J.M. Heinrichs


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