Did you see what I just saw? The President of the United States, eager to reassure a frightened nation that the United States was “still the greatest nation in the world,” went on national TV and scared the living bejeezus out of anyone within earshot.
Is it really possible to stammer so much when your script comprises nothing but uber-hackneyed jargon and cliches so tired that they barely had the energy to stumble past his lips? And what was that bizarre conflation of dying soldiers and members of Congress there at the end? That’s what you kept us waiting for over an hour to hear?
Obama’s statement — a product of the standard “progressive” knee-jerk “we’ve just got to do something” reflex — managed to blame S&P, the Congress, rich people “who don’t pay their fair share,” the Japanese tsunami, the EU, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the New American Malaise for recent developments in the stock market, but managed to avoid one obvious and honored usual suspect, along with someone else who is never to be held responsible: George Bush and, of course, Obama himself.
Oh, yes. by the way, what moved the President to action was not the S&P downgrade, but the sudden steepening of the already-precipitous slope of stock market index curves, which were doing their best to signal the government — which includes the President — that it had been wrenched into outright nausea by the scene in DC.
Obama points to the stampede of investors into government bonds as a clear repudiation of the S&P downgrade. Well, he’s looking at the wrong S&P. Obama says, “Investors are voting with their feet,” claiming that the surge of bond investing was a reaffirmation of US credit strength. Yes, Mr. President. They are. And, although you seem not to have noticed, their feet are fleeing investment in America’s future (that’s what stocks are, Mr. P) at a rate sufficent to plunge us officially into a bear market.
That’s not George Bush’s fault. And it’s not the Republicans’ fault, although they, like everyone else in our sorry capitol, bear their share responsibility for the mess. It’s your fault, and mostly your fault, Mr. President, for trying to pull schoolboy tricks during your debt ceiling negotiations. You had a deal with Boehner, and he left your office thinking he had a deal, and put himself on the line, when you tried your “aren’t I clever” last-minute bait and switch: “Oh, yes, John, by the way, we’re going to add a few tax hikes to your plan.”
Didn’t turn out the way you thought it was going to, did it? Boehner straightened his back, told you to fuck off, and pushed you right to the sidelines, where you remain, a spectator now in a process you helped fubar with all the skill and grace of a classroom con man, and he and the rest of the Congress cobbled together the hilarious pastiche of empty promises that allowed us to keep whistling past our own graveyard. If there is one thing your chicanery then, and your performance today, proved beyond the boundaries of reasonable skepticism, it is that you just aren’t up to the task.
Step aside, please. Let the congress, hopefully now chastened by this sad and sorry mess, and perhaps informed by their constituents during their summer recess, try to slow our slide into the abyss until the next election, when perhaps we can find someone more able.