Obama’s first post-election press conference, if you could call it that, tells us a great deal about his attitude and the approach he intends to pursue in his second term, which is the same failed policy mix on steroids.
Obama’s re-election, of course, gives him the right to pursue these policies, but it doesn’t deny elected Republicans the right or relieve them of the duty to oppose them.
If Obama can glean any intelligible mandate from his victory, it is that relentless negative campaigning, demagoguery, divisive identity politics, deceit and superior political strategists targeting essential voters and voting districts work. So it should be no surprise that Obama is taking that lesson to heart and is already applying the same strategies going forward.
In short, Obama will continue to do what he does best: community organizing and campaigning. He is a perpetual campaign machine who pretends to aspire to bipartisanship while being the most partisan president we’ve had in decades.
In fairness, though Obama never did present an agenda beyond generalized brochure-worthy talking points in the last two weeks of the campaign, the American people witnessed in his first term what he stands for, and a majority didn’t reject it. Granted, he completely distorted the causes of our ongoing economic problems and continued to blame George W. Bush for his own failures, but in the end, he still won. But so did congressional Republicans, whose mandate to oppose Obama’s policies cannot be in serious doubt.
Obama’s words and body language indicate he intends to be quite aggressive in his second term and more dictatorial. It was as if he regards his election as a coronation to kingship. His responses and deflections even to softball press questions and his hostile attitude toward elected GOP officials in the co-equal legislative branch make that abundantly clear.
In his first response, Obama repeated the mantra that this economy still suffers because of events that preceded his first term anointment. He offered the tautology that a growing economy depends on a thriving middle class. Yes, prosperity depends on people being prosperous, but the question is: How do we get there?
According to Obama, we do it through economic protectionism, rebuilding those roads and bridges he believes are responsible for creating the businesses that American entrepreneurs didn’t build themselves, throwing more federal money at education, and, for good measure, reducing our deficit in a “balanced” way, which means his way (only on “the rich”). He expressed his openness to “compromise” and “new ideas” and then demonstrated in his remaining answers how insincere that bipartisan gesture was.
In Obama-speak, “balance” means weighted against the rich. It makes no economic sense to increase tax rates on the highest income producers when many small businesses responsible for most American jobs fall into that category. It will further retard economic growth and yield insufficient revenues to make a dent in our deficits or debt.
After making it emphatically clear that it would be his way or the highway, Obama said, yet again, that the American people just want the parties to work together. On the most important issue facing us, spending, especially on entitlements, he didn’t even bother to pretend to have a plan.
Obama refused to offer any information on the Benghazi and Petraeus scandals, saying he didn’t “want to comment on the specifics of the investigation,” a line he would repeat at every potentially useful juncture in the conference.
He even ducked a generic question on whether he should have been told before the election that the CIA chief was under investigation. But what does the investigation have to do with his opinion? The question wasn’t calling for a factual response. More suspect was his claim that if he had been told, he would have been criticized for interfering with a criminal investigation. What? To inform the nation’s chief law enforcement authority about details of an investigation under his domain would constitute interfering? That’s just bizarre.
As in the second presidential debate, Obama revealed his true personality and his intolerance for being challenged. When asked about Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham’s call for an investigation into Benghazi and their opposition to Obama’s possible appointment of Susan Rice for secretary of state, he became visibly livid and pugnacious, warning the senators that if they go after Rice, “then they’ve got a problem with me.”
Also, he couldn’t conceal his contempt for a reporter who dared to question why he hadn’t provided families of the Benghazi victims more answers.
In his first term, Obama routinely abused his authority and paid no price for his usurpations. If there were any doubt before the election that Obama intended to unilaterally impose his will and avoid accountability for it in his second term, he has now eviscerated it.
I trust Republican congressional leaders didn’t miss the unmistakable signals.