From the blogosphere to the briefing room in less than a day. Jake Tapper got right on top of some apparent Obama hypocrisy and gave Robert Gibbs, who I note today is leaving his position as Flopsweater-in-Chief to gear up the President’s re-election campaign, the chance to make it right. Gibbs, of course, did nothing of the sort. In fact, as I’ll explain later, he made things worse.
TAPPER: You referenced Austan Goolsbee’s –
TAPPER: — comments about the debt ceiling — debt ceiling. I wanted — I wanted to read you this quote from a senator: The fact that we’re here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign — is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit. I suspect you know who I’m quoting.
GIBBS: Joe Biden?
TAPPER: That is —
GIBBS: (Chuckles.) I know. Barack Obama from 2006.
TAPPER: That is Senator Barack Obama in 2006 voting against raising the debt ceiling.
GIBBS: And I think what is important is, it’s — understand that the — raising the debt limit was not in question in the outcome.
TAPPER: It passed 52 to 48.
GIBBS: — in the outcome of that vote.
TAPPER: It was a close vote, 52 to 48.
GIBBS: Well, we’ve had closer. (Chuckles.) I think — I think it’s important that the outcome — based on the outcome of that vote, the — as I mentioned, the full faith and credit was not in doubt. The full faith and credit of our — of our government and our economy was not in doubt. And the president used it to make a point about needing to get serious about fiscal discipline. And we, as I’ve said earlier, are dealing with the legacy of decisions that have been made over the past many years — not paying for a prescription drug benefit, not paying for wars, not paying for tax cuts — that changed our fiscal situation much more markedly than anything ever had.
So I think it is up to and it’s important for Congress – because we know — not to play politics with this, not to play games – to find a way to raise that debt limit, understanding that we have to — as I mentioned to Matt, we’re going have to have to take some serious steps to get our fiscal house in order. But we understand — we know what happens. We know the catastrophic actions with things like Social Security and Medicare if you threaten the solvency of the government.
TAPPER: So he — so he — so he only voted that way because he knew that it was going to pass?
GIBBS: I think clearly he was sending a message.
TAPPER: But he knew it was going to pass. That’s why he voted —
GIBBS: Again, his vote was not necessarily needed on that.
Let me see if I can cut through Gibbs’ blather to the real heart of his answer. Senator Barack Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 because he knew his vote didn’t matter. He haughtily lectured the President and the Republicans about leadership while casting a vote he knew meant absolutely nothing. And besides, there wasn’t a crisis back then, so what did it matter.
Thank you Robert Gibbs for pointing us down that path, evne though I”m sure you won’t like where we end up. See, if there wasn’t a crisis then but there is a crisis now, one might be led to wonder from whence this crisis that could threaten “the full faith and credit of our government” came. Gibbs wants us to believe it was George W. Bush’s fault, but the President doesn’t spend the money in this country. Congress does. It’s even written right in the Constitution — that old document that Democrats apparently don’t like, or even understand, all that much. So if we went from a situation where Senator Obama’s “no” vote didn’t threaten to bring the government down around our ears to one where even the mention of a “no” vote is enough to jeopardize American’s existence, who else can we blame but Senator — now President — Obama and the rest of his discredited gang?
I would have thought the White House would not want us to make those mental connections, but obviously I’m not a Smarty McSmartPerson like Robert Gibbs or his boss.