Friday, August 09, 2013

What the left could love about the NSA Presser

Time was when President Obama's forceful style at today's presser would have had "teh left" exploding with approval on the social nets. Those days are over. Opening with the appointment of a blue ribbon commission to study the NSA didn't thrill the spectators. We've seen that movie many times before and it rarely has a satisfactory ending.

That's not to say there wasn't a couple of (largely ignored) satisfying moments hidden in the Q & A. The two standout quotes for me came first in answer to Major Garrett's question on appointing a new head for the Federal Reserve. Obama answered in part:
But the other mandate is full employment. And right now, if you look at the biggest challenges we have, the challenge is not inflation; the challenge is we’ve still got too many people out of work, too many long-term unemployed, too much slack in the economy, and we’re not growing as fast as we should. And so I want a Fed chairman who’s able to look at those issues and have a perspective that keeps an eye on inflation, makes sure that we’re not seeing artificial bubbles in place, but also recognizing, you know what, a big part of my job right now is to make sure the economy is growing quickly and robustly, and is sustained and durable, so that people who work hard in this country are able to find a job.
Seem to remember many calls for exactly this statement from the bully pulpit. Saw the sum total of one tweet from someone else having noticed it. Neither have I seen any recognition for the strength of Obama's defense of the ACA outside of one tweet afterward from Ed Henry, who asked the question.
[Obama]: Now, what’s true, Ed, is, is that in a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the Speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law -- it has to do with, for example, are we able to simplify the attestation of employers as to whether they’re already providing health insurance or not -- it looks like there may be some better ways to do this; let's make a technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do. [...]

Now, I think the really interesting question is why it is that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail, their number-one priority. The one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment is making sure that 30 million people don't have health care and, presumably, repealing all those benefits I just mentioned...

And let me just make one last point about this. The idea that you would shut down the government unless you prevent 30 million people from getting health care is a bad idea. What you should be thinking about is how can we advance and improve ways for middle-class families to have some security so that if they work hard, they can get ahead and their kids can get ahead.
Read the transcript for the full remarks. Our POTUS delivered as brilliant a defense of Obamacare as is possible for a black President leading during the biggest resurgence of institutional racism since the days of Jim Crow. That deserves more notice than it's likely to get.

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