Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christie calls Obama "bystander" on supercommittee failure, displays characteristic idiocy


In case you missed it, New Jersey Governor (and all-around bully and blowhard) Chris Christie slammed President Obama on Monday:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ripped President Obama for the failure of the debt supercommittee, calling the president "a bystander in the Oval Office" in comments Monday.

"I was angry this weekend, listening to the spin coming out of the administration, about the failure of the supercommittee, and that the president knew it was doomed for failure, so he didn't get involved. Well, then what the hell are we paying you for?" Christie said in Camden, N.J. "It's doomed for failure, so I'm not getting involved'? Well, what have you been doing, exactly?"

This is complete and utter bullshit, as Steve Benen explained yesterday:

The New Jersey governor added that he's "astonished" that the president "refuses" to just call people into a room and solve problems. This is the kind of criticism the media finds compelling, but which is nevertheless idiotic.

The president has tried every negotiating tactic that exists to get congressional Republicans to work on finding solutions. Obama has tried hands-on talks; he's tried keeping his distance. The president has tried hard sells and soft sells, directly and indirectly. He's made private appeals and public appeals. He's made arguments based on policy, polls, and principles. He's tried charm offensives, combativeness, and everything in between. He's made partisan, bipartisan, tripartisan, and nonpartisan arguments, all in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, GOP leaders will be open to good-faith compromise.

And yet, nothing has worked. Nothing. 

Obama isn't blameless, to be sure, but he should be blamed for being so willing not just to compromise with Republicans but to agree to a deal that leans heavily Republican. He should not be blamed for not trying to reach a deal. If anything, he's gone out of his way, much to the ongoing chagrin of progressives, to get a deal done. (Actually, he hasn't really gone out of his way. It's more that his way isn't the progressive way.)

If there is blame to be assigned here, and there most certainly is, it is the Republicans who must be blamed. There hasn't been a deal only because, being anti-tax absolutists, they have been absolutely unwilling to budge on revenue increases even when the president, with Democratic support, has offered them massive spending cuts even to major entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

The president has been anything but a bystander throughout this whole mad exercise, from the debt ceiling talks through to the supercommittee (which was never going to reach a deal, let's be honest; it was just for show). And for Christie to call him that is just plain ignorant.

(Yes, let's make him our Craziest Republican of the Day.)

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Nice location for some gubernatorial remarks. What is that behind his right shoulder, a big jar of garlic powder?

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