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Three Views on the SOTU: Steyn, Beinart, and Alter

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The transcript of my conversation with Mark Steyn is here.

The transcript of my conversation with Peter Beinart is here.

The transcript of my conversation with Jonathan Alter is here.

The Manhattan-Beltway Bubble seems to be intact even after the vote in Massachusetts and even after all the terrible approval numbers for the president and for Obamacare. Alter and Beinart are defending the president’s attempt to blame Bush for the deficit even though President Obama can pass any spending cut he desires, and almost any tax hike he desires, the former with bipartisan support, the latter using reconciliation, which is the tradition route for tax rate changes, though not massive policy overhauls.

In other words, the president has the power and the votes to tackle the deficit. He can tackle Social Security. He can cut Medicare spending. He can order up across the board spending cuts and not just his fake freeze,

But he’s not doing so. He’s not doing anything except talking and watching the mountain of debt get bigger and bigger. He can chose to listen to supportive voices in the MSM, but the voters know the situation and know he is doing nothing to stop the fiscal bleeding. They also have grown tired of his blaming President Bush for the panic and its aftermath, and especially for the inaction at 1600 Pennsylvania.

Here’s the key excerpt of my exchange with Steyn:

HH: Here’s another part that caught my ear, Mark Steyn, blaming Bush for the deficit, cut number 5:

BHO: By the time I took office, we had a one year deficit of over $1 trillion dollars, and projected deficits of $8 trillion dollars over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion dollar hole in our budget. All this was before I walked in the door.

HH: Now Mark Steyn, the prescription drug bill, the two wars, the tax cuts, were all in place by the end of 2007 when the deficit was $161 billion.

MS: Right.

HH: Today, it’s $1.35 trillion.

MS: Yeah.

HH: It’s nonsense what he’s saying.

MS: Yes, it is nonsense. I mean, this line that oh, I inherited a huge deficit, so what I’ve done is blown it up to an even larger size makes no sense anyway. But again, I think this is unbecoming in what is essentially a bit of monarchical theater. You know, Bush could very easily have said well look, he could have stood there in the 2002 State of the Union and said look, I inherited this al Qaeda mess from Bill Clinton, because he didn’t have the guts to take out the guy in Afghanistan when he could have. He could have stood there in 2003 and said well look, I inherited this unfinished Iraq business from my predecessor who just wanted to fly over and bomb the no-fly zone once in a while, and that’s unfinished business that I “inherited”. Obama will still be blaming everything on what he “inherited” in years and years to come. It’s time to man up. You’re the president. Nobody forced you to be the president. You wanted the job. Man up or get the hell out of the way. But to stand there blaming in this cheesy, tacky, finger pointing at a guy who’s been gone now for over a year just makes you look Princess Fairy Pants. It’s pathetic.

“Pathetic” is exactly what it is, and there is nothing less presidential than pathetic. The president and his Congressional allies are now going to combine Chicago-style jam-down politics with stunning indifference to public opinion, even public opinion that has rarely had as clear an expression as the Massachusetts vote. But liberal pundits are cheering him on, over the cliff.


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