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The President’s post-mortem press conference underscores why he lost, and why progressives should no longer invest hope in him.
While he accepted responsibility for the defeat, and while he acknowledged that people were “frustrated” and wanted “their jobs to come back faster,” he failed to even mention the massive housing crisis that he has so ineptly handled.
On top of that, he adopted the messaging of the Republicans. He talked about the need to reduce our deficit so we don’t “leave our children a legacy of debt” and so we’re not “racking up the credit card for the next generation.”
Those lines could have come straight out of the mouth of Rand Paul!
And like Rand Paul, he saluted business and the free market: “The reason we’ve got an unparalleled standard of living in the history of the world is because we’ve got a free market that is dynamic and entrepreneurial and that free market has to be nurtured and cultivated.”
Then he pitied big business.
“You just had a successive set of issues in which I think business took the message that, well, gosh, it seems like we may be always painted as the bad guy,” he said. “And so I’ve got to take responsibility in terms of making sure that I make clear to the business community as well as to the country that the most important thing we can do is to boost and encourage our business sector.”
Really??? That’s “the most important thing” he has to do? Wow!
He also backpedaled fast on expanding the role of government, conceding without qualification that some people thought “government was getting much more intrusive into people’s lives.” Amazingly, he said, “I’m sympathetic to folks who looked at it and said this is looking like potential overreach.”
Rather than represent an ideological alternative, he tried to blur the ideological lines. “None of the challenges we face lend themselves to simple solutions or bumper-sticker slogans,” he said. “Nor are the answers found in any one particular philosophy or ideology.”
And just as he did during his long waffle on health care, he said, “I’m eager to hear good ideas wherever they come from.”
He repeatedly mentioned the need for “civility” and “consensus” at a time when it’s more important than ever to slug out the ideological differences.
He also embraced some of the substance of the Republican Party agenda.
Sounding like John McCain, he endorsed the idea of cutting “earmarks” several times.
He said he wanted to “accelerate depreciation for business,” which is about the least efficient way to jumpstart the economy.
He said he wanted to push natural gas.
And he even waved at restarting “our nuclear industry as a means of reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reducing greenhouse gases.”
That’s his vision?
This is pathetic.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Crushed by Feingold’s Defeat."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter