Monday, May 25, 2009

Obama As Pragmatist – Yes We Can – Run out Of Money

In an interview Friday, May 23 between Steve Scully, Political Editor, C-SPAN and President Barack Obama questions ranged from the economy to appointments to the Supreme Court.
From The Chicago Sun Times comes an article by Lynn Sweet entitled “Obama defines his pragmatism for C-SPAN's Steve Scully”. There were two significant statements made by the President, one of which was picked up by a variety of news services immediately, while the other was – not.

Obama’s blatant: “We’re Out of Money” broke on the Drudge Report immediately, while the fact that the President's choice of a Supreme Court Justice appears to be the portion that interests most news outlets.

On Choosing a Supreme Court Justice:

"SCULLY: Is there a justice current or former that you look at as a role model, as kind of the characteristics that you want in a Supreme Court justice?
OBAMA: Well you know, I mean each justice I think brings their own qualities, and you know, there are some justices who are wonderful writers, even justices I don't agree with, Justice Scalia is a terrific writer, and makes really interesting arguments.
You have people like Judge – Justice O'Connor, who again, I might not have agreed with her on every issue, but you always had a sense that she was taking the law and seeing what the practical applications of the law in this case. She wasn't a grand theoretician, but she ended up having an enormous influence on the law as a whole.
And on the other hand there are Justices like Brennan or Marshall, who really focused on the broader sweep of history and came at a time during the Civil Rights movement, where they recognized the unique role that – the unique role that courts could play in breaking the political logjam that had locked out too many people in the political process.
And so, different times call for different justices, each justice has their own strengths as well as weaknesses. And what I just want to make sure of is that any justices I appoint are people who have not only the academic qualifications or intellectual capacity, but also the heart and the feel for how Americans are struggling in their day-to-day lives.
And also, an appreciation I think for how, even though, we live in new times there are some time tested principles embodied in our constitution that have to be respected.

SCULLY: Let me follow-up on that, because you could have 2 or 3 more appointments in the next couple of years.
OBAMA: Right.
SCULLY: Is that the imprint that you want on the Supreme Court?
OBAMA: I don't want to jump the gun. Obviously, nobody else has announced their retirements, but the criteria that I described, a strong intellectual grasp of the law, an appreciation for the timeless principles of the constitution, and a sense of common sense and compassion and empathy for ordinary Americans, so that everybody is heard. Those are all qualities that I think make for a great Supreme Court justice.
SCULLY: William Howard Taft served on the court after his presidency, would you have any interest in being on the Supreme Court?
OBAMA: You know, I am not sure that I could get through Senate confirmation."

It is apparent that the President feels a strict interpretation of the Constitution is not necessary, rather“empathy” for the American People – in other words, a perfect Obama Justice would peruse the Constitution and then, based upon the ideology of said Justice, render a decision based upon his or her own political point of view. This is otherwise known as “legislating from the bench” That aside, this portion of the interview is the one deemed ”most newsworthy.

In speaking about HealthCare reform and the costs:

"SCULLY: Yet, it all takes money. You know the numbers, $1.7 trillion debt, a national deficit of $11 trillion. At what point do we run out of money?
OBAMA: Well, we are out of money now. We are operating in deep deficits, not caused by any decisions we've made on health care so far. This is a consequence of the crisis that we've seen and in fact our failure to make some good decisions on health care over the last several decades."

Obama, in an attempt to sell his costly Health Care program, basically (paraphrasing) tells Scully that since the U.S. is out of money, why not print some more, because if we don’t implement Obama’s version of health care reform, we’ll be in worse shape 30 years down the road. After proclaiming the nation penniless, (pound foolish comes to mind), Obama notes that this is just “temporary” and indicates that in 30 years, the savings on health care reform will be in the trillions of dollars – $2 Trillion to be exact, which, when one looks at the current budget projections in trillions, is a drop in the proverbial bucket.

The balance of the interview is basic fluff, a question regarding David Axelrod (advisor to Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick), calling Obama “pragmatic”, replete with Obama’s explanation of pragmatism and lastly, a question on his family life, the endless magazine covers, ad nauseum.

The fact that the President of the United States is making fiscal decisions based on 30 year projections, while admitting that the country is currently, “out of money”, is beyond Carteresque. Unemployment is at a 25 year high, with no apparent end in sight, and as inflation has begun to increase, with projection reaching double digits on some commodities, the wherewithal to pay for any of these programs is in question as the tax base is quickly eroding. As the employed and the employers becoming increasingly extinct due to an unprecedented assault on private industry by this administration, the comparatively few state jobs and state-owned industries will be unable to sustain the debt. At what point, one wonders, will common sense begin to trump politically driven ideology?

President Barack H. Obama
Host: Steve Scully
Tape Date: Friday, May 22, 2009
Air Date/Time: Saturday, May 23 at 10:00 am ET
Copyrighted material -- Use with attribution only

The Interview


Chuck said...

We're out of money so let's spend more....?

Tina Hemond said...

Chuck, Boggles the mind, does it not?

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