Lamar Alexander is not my favorite politician but he's certainly got this stimulus thing figured out. While Obama might have promised to spread the wealth and drop tax cuts for the rich he never promised to spend like an entire aircraft carrier, or rather fleet, of drunken sailors.
Actually he promised to go through the federal budget line by line and eliminate what doesn't work, taking out a bunch of extraneous middle managers in the process.
LIVE BLOGGIN THE PRESSER..
Intro-- tax cuts to the rich caused the current financial crisis. Lie. They caused the current debt.
First question- Obama says he's not using scaremonger hyperbole, pointing to Japan's lost decade after the 80s crash as an example of what might happen. Thing is, the Japanese put together a huge stimulus to 'solve' that crisis. After that he got the rambles, and repeated the lies that Bush's policies got us into the mess. They did not--the mortgage bubble did, and both parties had a hand in it.
Bush looks better already, but hey, O's still a rook.
Second question (which seemed like 20 minutes past the first--I think he's using the time-honored practice of filibustering to shorten the number of questions) Iran. Uh.. er.. What did he say?
Third question, bipartisanship. Bush said the same thing about this in 2001. Nothing changed. Obama couldn't explain the difference between his campaign rhetoric and the reality of "I won". Then he started blaming the Republicans again. And again.
BTW, what's the over/under on him taking a question from ABC's Jake Tapper?
He's plenty nervous. The difference between his oratorical skill in reading from the prompter and talking off the cuff has never been more evident than tonight.
Fourth question, consumer overspending. Good question. Now Obama is explaining how the Bush tax cuts caused this mess by explaining how the banks were over-leveraged while not mentioning the Community Reinvestment Act or his own political largess from Fannie Mae.
Then I zoned out.
I zoned back in when Obama admitted he never wanted to spend a trillion dollars coming in the door. That's comforting. And give credit for using the bully pulpit to poo-poo zero down mortgages (living beyond means).
Fifth question, transparency on whether this will be the end of the bailouts. Obama is amazing in his ability to not answer any questions to a level of understanding of the normal Joe.
Sixth question, Tapper (I lose), recovery metrics. The four million jobs saved or created will be the benchmark, which theoretically causes consumer confidence. Sensible here. Hmm, Obama said he doesn't have a crystal ball. Bush said he didn't have a magic wand.
Seven, Afghanistan and flag-draped coffins, which he punted on. Then he began the back-peddle on the real war while building up Iraq (unfreakingbelievable, that Tom Maguire guy was right again). Obama is correct on the safe-havens being a showstopper but had nothing on his previous aggressive plan.
Eight, rehash of financials, with similar answer.
Nine, Garrett, Fox News, a light moment! at the expense of Joe the VP in a question about the stimulus' hopes for succeess. With similar answer.
Ten, A-roid, he's disappointed. But good answer in that kids should be seeing that cheating is not the answer. Too bad A-roid's still filthy rich with a hot wife.
Eleven, from some older woman in the front, about whether nuclear weapons exist in the ME. Some kind of hint about Israel, perhaps? Obama immediately begins talking about Pockeston without mentioning AQ Khan. Then answers by promising to reduce our nuclear arms before going into discussion.
Twelve, from Huffington Post? Huffpo? Is he kidding? What next, Kos? I demand Allahpundit from Hot Air! And of course this moonbat asked about prosecuting BushCO. Obama gives the same answer he gave before, translated, not a chance, nutroots.
Thirteen, Obama answered Maura Liason's question about bi-partisanship by saying the situation demands we work together and toss aside the ideological gridlock. Amazingly, he then went back again and blamed the inheritance of a deficit on Republicans even though Pelosi gained control in 2006 and despite the fact he helped create it by voting for spending bills while in the Senate. Then he said conservatives wanted to 'blow up the school systems' by wanting more fiscal restraint. He's not alone--most liberals think this way.
All in all, very shaky. He got somewhat better as we went along and will surely be better on the next one, but it surely didn't inspire confidence in the new leader. At all.
POST GAME SHOW
Watching Fox and their analysis is rather puzzling. Only O'Reilly thought the presser was too windy and boring and that the questions were mainly softball, and the answers non-specific. Bernie Goldberg disagreed, but pointed out that Helen Thomas called the Taliban hiding in Pakistan 'so-called' terrorists, something Obama must have missed (as I did). Give him props for cutting her off, though.
The overall consensus (other than OR) was that people did connect with this windy wonk-speak borefest. If so, they came away with the two main messages, 1) he's going to save and create jobs that were, 2) lost because of Bush's tax cuts and failed policies.