Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pivoting in Circles

Somehow the New York Times got a sit-down interview with the president following his economic pivot speech from the cornfield last week.  Different media outlets have been picking up on bits and pieces of it for other stories but this seems like the seminal passage:
NYT: People questioned your legal and constitutional authority to do that unilaterally -- to delay the employer mandate. Did you consult with your lawyer?
MR. OBAMA: Jackie, if you heard me on stage today, what I said was that I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security --
NYT: No, but specifically –
MR. OBAMA: -- but where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people. And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case.
But there’s not an action that I take that you don't have some folks in Congress who say that I'm usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency. And I don't think that's a secret.
But ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions -- very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers. I am concerned about the folks who I spoke to today who are working really hard, are trying to figure out how they can send their kids to college, are trying to make sure that they can save for their retirement. And if I can take steps on their behalf, then I’m going to do so. And I would hope that more and more of Congress will say, you know what, since that’s our primary focus, we’re willing to work with you to advance those ideals. But I’m not just going to sit back if the only message from some of these folks is no on everything, and sit around and twiddle my thumbs for the next 1,200 days.
Forget that the Times reporters didn't ask any questions on the 'phony scandals', like for instance which ones are phony--the interview was likely set up to springboard his economic pivot OFF those scandals anyway (as Limbaugh and others have noted, it's mainly a tactic to divert attention and set himself up for the coming budget battles).  No, the bolded passage above is what makes news because it again captures the true essence of this president.  He was called on something and that's how he reacted.  Not since Nixon have we had such a man in the Oval Office.

The same man was all over GW Bush for his every action, proclaiming this and such wasn't constitutional or that and such was dumb, etc.  How dare Dumbya's new Tea Baggin friends question anything!  And how dare even the Times to ask whether the greatest lawyer ever needed to consult a lesser mere mortal lawyer on a question.  Too bad those college transcripts never got leaked like everything else. 

But the most honest answer of the interview? It came at the very last:
NYT: Thank you, Mr. President.
MR. OBAMA: Thanks, guys. Appreciate you.
Of course he appreciates them--they remain part of the team.

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