Potent Quotables, Downgrade Edition

“No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a triple-A country.”

President Barack Obama, 08/08/2011

Speaking in Chicago as a triumphant president-elect as Election Day drew to a close in 2008, Sen. Barack Obama stated emphatically that “[t]his was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”  Say it and it will be so!  And so, a presidency was born.

Yesterday, after taking three days to revel in his 50th birthday celebration, play a few rounds of golf, and watch the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1147 points–almost ten percent of its total value–the Megalomaniac-in-Chief took to the airwaves, again, to combat the natural flow of the market with his empty rhetoric and useless platitudes.  Despite the downgrade to AA+ status by S&P on Friday, the president insisted that “[n]o matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a triple-A country.”

It was almost as if he were dressed in robes, waving his hand mystically at a pair of Imperial Stormtroopers, and saying, “these are not the droids you are looking for.”  In this case, however, instead of Obi-Wan Kenobi it was Obama-Wan Nairobi, stating that “these are not the numbers you are looking at.”

That’s right.  In typical fashion, the president and his administration responded to bad news by attacking the messenger, with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stating that S&P showed “terrible judgment,” “handled themselves very poorly,” and have “shown a stunning lack of knowledge about the basic U.S. fiscal budget math.”  This, from a guy who rationalized his own failure to pay taxes as a mathematical error exacerbated by TurboTax software problems.  This, about an administration that has been operating without a budget proposal for more than 825 days.  S&P doesn’t understand basic budget math? I question whether the Obama administration understands what a budget itself is.

“This is essentially a tea party downgrade. The Tea Party brought us to the brink of a default.”

David Axelrod, Face the Nation, 08/07/2011

“This is the Tea Party downgrade because a minority of people in the House of Representatives countered even the will of many Republicans in the United States Senate who were prepared to do a bigger deal.”

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Meet the Press, 08/07/2011

“Truer words never spoken.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), on Kerry’s quote

Frankly, from a public relations standpoint, characterizing the credit downgrade as a “Tea Party downgrade” is brilliant.  It has a good sound to it.  It’s a simple concept that can get the point across in a two-second sound bite.  It’s something that, if I were pulling strings on the left, I would want a concerted, JournOList-y effort to pigeonhole the adverse economic news as exactly that.  And, from the consistency of the talking points on the left, it appears that exactly that has happened.

For the Democrats, however, the problem is that it just will not fly.  It won’t pass the smell test, just like portraying election strategy crosshair maps as mass shootings waiting to happen, or painting the Tea Party as “racists” or most recently “terrorists” did not work, either.

Here, fact is unequivocally on the GOP side.  It was the GOP that offered several plans when it came to the debt ceiling increase, passing two through the house.  It was the GOP that championed Cut, Cap & Balance as one of those plans, a plan that would have addressed long-term structural and systemic problems while simultaneously meeting and exceeding the $4-trillion-over-ten-years in cuts required by S&P to have kept our age-old rating intact.

The truth is, we would not be in this position at all but for the Tea Party.  And that’s a good thing for America, not a terrible thing meant to foment lefty outrage on the Sunday morning talk shows.

“Blaming the tea party for America’s debt crisis and downgrade is like blaming the fireman for fires … While Democrats would like to lay the blame on the tea party for the current economic failure, it is their president who has failed in leadership, failed to lower unemployment, failed to rescue our economy, failed to prevent a downgrade of our debt.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

Frankly, there is nothing surprising about Sen. Rand Paul stepping out in defense of the Tea Party.  I do like, however, the fireman/fires analogy, and the rest of his comment certainly speaks the truth.  What I thought was surprising, though, was that Congressman James Clyburn from here in South Carolina managed to address the credit downgrade without using the race card.

“I think it’s undeserved. But I don’t think it was unexpected. I think that those of us who have been watching this, the S&P, Finch, as well as Moody’s, had the feeling that S&P might do something like this. I don’t believe it’s deserved at all … I think if you look at their reasoning, it didn’t seem to focus as much on economics as it did on the political activities that were going on in Washington. I don’t know what our political debate has to do with the economic stability or economic ability that the country may have to pay its debts. But they seemed to focus on the debate that was going on in Washington, which I think is so unfortunate.”

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), MSNBC, 08/08/2011

The man must be losing his touch.  All race card humor aside, what I find most incredible is the statement that “I don’t know what our political debate has to do with the economic stability or economic ability that the country may have to pay its debts.”  Is he new here?

When George W. Bush regained office in 2004, at the end of November he actually used the word “recession.” Not a smart move, as consumer confidence took a his and the tax base in the United States shrunk as jobs were lost and small businesses shut their doors.  Across this country, small and big business owners alike are hiding under their desks, the uncertainty of more spending, more debt, more regulations, and more changing rules stifling growth.  The political debate has only exacerbated that.

Even if James Clyburn does not understand how the concepts of governance and stability are related, the Chinese do.  From Xinhua, the state-controlled news agency:

The days when debt-ridden Uncle Sam could leisurely squander unlimited money borrowed from overseas seem numbered now that its AAA credit rating was slashed by Standard & Poor’s for the first time on Friday.

Although the U.S. Treasury promptly challenged the unprecedented downgrade, many outside the U.S. believe the credit rating downgrade is an overdue bill that America must pay for the short-sighted political wrangling in Washington and its burgeoning debt.

China, the sole superpower’s largest creditor, now has every right to demand that America address its structural debt problem and ensure the security of China’s dollar denominated assets. To cure its addiction to debt, the United States must reestablish the commonsense principle that one should live within his means.

Xinhua, China’s state news agency, 08/06/2011 editorial

Why is it that the communist Chinese get it, but our president does not?  The comments from the Chinese mirror those made by former Russian PM Vladimir Putin in Davos, Switzerland on January 28, 2009,  just days after President Obama was sworn in:

Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.

[A]nti-crisis measures should not escalate into financial populism and a refusal to implement responsible macroeconomic policies. The unjustified swelling of the budgetary deficit and the accumulation of public debts are just as destructive as adventurous stock-jobbing.

Vladimir Putin, 01/28/2009

Vladimir Putin understood where this nation was headed two-and-a-half years ago, and the Chinese certainly understand it now.  For all that blustering about how we need to be “better liked” across the world, the president and his ilk will not even listen to advice from across the pond.  “Short-sighted political wrangling.”  “Addiction to debt.”  It’s all so frank.  Too bad we’re not seeing it in the New York Times.

In the meantime, however, the country must follow the directions given by the Chinese and “reestablish the commonsense principle that one should live within his means.

Perhaps the best place to start would be a budget.

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Comments

  1. Boston Blackie says:

    First the democRATS told us to ignore the white, racist Tea Party since they are as annoying as a fly. Then we’re told that they are terrorists and now they are to blame for the downgrade of the country’s credit rating. At least they have stopped blaming Bush for everything. Of course Obeyme’s response is his usual “I’ll get back to you”.
    BTW, who is Obeyme’s speechwriter these days, Baghdad Bob!?!

  2. Yet the Dems response to all this is to spend more money. Typical. The downgrade president needs a refresher course in Econ 101 (or budgeting for that matter)….which he may never have taken in the first place. All of these talking heads must be living in an alternate universe.

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