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Heckuva Job, Timmy

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Last night CBS aired an interview with the current President. I thought Barry looked he thought he actually understood the issues he was asked about. At least one of us is convinced President Klink can distinguish his ass from a hole in the ground.

And the interviewer seemed troubled, almost reluctant, to ask questions about difficult issues. That reluctance may have been out of sympathy for his President. Or, it may have been pity, as Barry continued to demonstrate he is overmatched by his job. This exchange is an example:

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
I just want to say that— the only thing less popular than putting money into banks is putting money (LAUGHS) into the auto industry. So—

STEVE KROFT:
18 percent are in favor.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
(LAUGHS) That’s—

STEVE KROFT:
Seventy-six percent against.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
It— it— it’s not a high number.

STEVE KROFT:
You’re sitting here. And you’re— you are laughing. You are laughing about some of these problems. Are people going to look at this and say, "I mean, he’s sitting there just making jokes about (LAUGHTER) money—” How do you deal with— I mean, wh— explain -

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Well—

STEVE KROFT:
—the mood and your laughter.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Yeah, I mean, there’s got to be—

STEVE KROFT:
Are you punch drunk?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
No, no. There’s gotta be a little gallows humor to (LAUGHS) get you through the day. You know, sometimes my team— talks about the fact that if— if you had said to us a year ago that— the least of my problems would be Iraq, which is still a pretty serious problem— I don’t think anybody would have believed it. But— but we’ve got a lot on our plate. And— a lot of difficult decisions that we’re going to have to make.

If Barry thought Iraq would be the top problem he faced, why didn’t he campaign on that issue? As I recall, it was all about the economy, stupid. Again, Obama attempts to deflect attention from his current activities by pointing to the past. That’s his second-favorite rhetorical device, after the strawman argument:

STEVE KROFT:
A week ago Vice President Cheney-- said essentially that your willingness to shut down Guantanamo and to change the way prisoners are treated and interrogator-- interrogated-- was making America weaker and more vulnerable to another attack. And that-- the interrogation techniques that were used at Guantanamo were essential in preventing another attack against the United States.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
I fundamentally disagree with Dick Cheney. Not surprisingly. You know, I think that-- Vice President Cheney has been-- at the head of a-- movement whose notion is somehow that we can't reconcile our core values, our Constitution, our belief that we don't torture, with our national security interests. I think he's drawing the l-- wrong lesson from history.

The facts don't bear him out. I think he is-- that attitude, that philosophy has done incredible damage-- to our image and position in the world. I mean, the fact of the matter is after all these years how many convictions actually came out of Guantanamo? How many-- how many terrorists have actually been brought to justice under the philosophy that is being promoted by Vice President Cheney? It hasn't made us safer. What it has been is a great advertisement for anti-American sentiment. Which means that there is constant effective recruitment of-- Arab fighters and Muslim fighters against U.S. interests all around the world.

Where and when did Cheney say the Constitution is irreconcilible with effective national security? Barry mischaracerizes Cheney as a lead to a set of unsupported assertions and vague statements. Until we clearly define which interrogation techniques are torture, we cannot say if the US does or does not torture.

The number of terrorists brought to justice is not the issue, it’s a red herring. The issue is national security, and preventing terrorists from returning to the fight. Framing the issue interms of justice is poisoning the well, assuming that foreign fighters captured in battle are absolutely entitled to Constitutional rights.

The interview includes so many non-sequitor non-answers it would take all day to fisk.

I’ll close with this beauty, where Barry channels W., during the response to Katrina:

STEVE KROFT:
Your Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has been under— a lot of pressure this week. And there have been people in Congress calling for his head.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
Yeah.

STEVE KROFT:
Have there been discussions in the White House about replacing him?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
No.

STEVE KROFT:
Has he volunteered to, or come to you and said, "Do you think I should step down?"

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
No. And— and he shouldn't. And if he were to come to me, I'd say, "Sorry, Buddy. (LAUGHS) You— you've still got the job."

But look. He's got a lot of stuff on his plate.

And he is doing a terrific job. And I take responsibility for— not, I think, having given him as much help as he needs.

Yup. They’re both doing a heck of a job. President Klink and Treasury Secretary Schultz. God help us. 3 years, 304 days to go. My advice: Get a helmet.