The Political Stylings of Barack Obama
With his latest maneuver, Barack Obama has really clarified his approach to politics:
President Obama wants to cut the federal deficit in half by the end of his first term, mostly by scaling back Iraq war spending, raising taxes on the wealthiest and streamlining government, an administration official said Saturday as the president worked to finalize his first budget request.
Obama’s proposal for the 2010 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 projects that the estimated $1.3 trillion deficit he has inherited from President Bush will be halved to $533 billion by 2013. That’s a difference of 9.2% of the overall economy now vs. 3% in four years.
Hey, why not? Our national harbinger of hopey-change — he of the impossible-to-gauge promise to “create or save” jobs (Can’t you just hear the brainstorm team laughing at the gullible electorate while contriving that one?) — learned from his election that Americans will believe whatever he says. Rather, we’ll believe whatever we want about what he says, so one month into his presidency, Obama’s day-to-day operations already resemble the most elaborately woven of Bill Clinton’s state of the union speeches.
What better way to deflect political heat over the rush to move a massive spending bill through the legislative process than to insist that his goal is to decrease the deficit? “I’m a fiscal conservative,” he’s appearing to claim, “so you may go back to sleep and trust my steerage.” Of course, for one thing, spending in Iraq was already likely to decrease, thanks to the success of the Bush Administrations reworked strategies. For another, the notion of “inheriting” his first budget year is a conspicuously convenient way to hide the impact of his own policies. But nevermind.
Make the claim; claim the ground; ground the flights of observation from the opposition. The administration will float excuses for failure, take the credit for others’ successes, and find some way to straddle ever-broadening fences. After all: “He’s gonna change it. And rearrange it. He’s gonna change the world.”