THE DISASTER OF 2010, REVISITED

After the November 2010 election disaster, President Obama appeared before the press. He essentially took the blame for all our current problems, and vowed to work more closely with the Republicans. To every question asked by reporters - and almost every one of them I heard was some variation of "do you regret that everybody in the country hates your philosophies and management strategies? - he answered that he would work with the Republicans to do better "now that the people have spoken." Hello, Mr. President. Where have you been the past couple years? I know you want to be conciliatory, and reunite the nation but, please, please, please - wake up, wise up, and grow up. You are to blame, in the sense that you've let the Republicans and other assorted crazies run roughshod over you, but you did not cause our current national woes. Accepting the blame is not Presidential.

   I'd like to re-do the speech and press conference. As I see it, President Obama would do his usual walk down the aisle and up to the podium. But he wouldn't start speaking right away. He'd looked out at the press corps, maybe hum quietly for a moment, and then when everything was still, when everyone was waiting in moderate anticipation.... He would sing.

Cy and I went to the circus

Cy got hit with a rolling pin

We surely fooled the circus

We bought tickets but we never went in.

 He would pause, then. There would be a little nervous laughter, a little shuffling around. If you thought there was anticipation before, well...  He wouldn't look at the assembled press corps, yet. As a matter of fact, he'd just stare off into space for a long moment or two. If you listened very closely, you might hear him say - just barely loud enough to be picked up by the mikes - something that sounded like  "cut off your nose to spite your face." The room would get very, very quiet. At last, he would let his glance sweep the room, and very quietly he would say:

   "My fellow citizens, and ladies and gentlemen of the press, yesterday you screwed the country. On a more personal note, most of you screwed yourselves. After begging for change before the 2008 election - change to help our country and its citizens to recapture the 'American Dream - you let me have less than two years to correct the disasters of the previous eight years. Those were months in which the Republicans not only refused to negotiate for change - they refused to do anything. Despite them, we made good progress stopping our national tailspin into Hell, and even made modest improvements. We showed you this over and over. Every reputable analysis showed it. So, let me ask you straight out: what the fuck were you thinking?

   "I'm at a loss to understand what has happened. Maybe I'm not smart enough to be President, and maybe I just 'don't get it.' Maybe; but I think there has to be more to it than that. Help me out, here.

   "Do you really believe I'm an un-American communist or socialist, and that I'm out to destroy the United States?

   "Do you really believe that the people who gave you the previous eight years of skyrocketing national debt, overwhelming loss of jobs and loss of personal security and personal income, will come back into power after two years and correct all the problems they caused?

   "Do you think that the new crop of legislators - many of whom still seem to be fixated on whether or not I have an American birth certificate, not on bringing back employment opportunities - will get right to work to fix our economy? Will they even cooperate with other Republicans, let alone Democrats?

   "Do you think that Republican control of one house of Congress will suddenly cause them to drop their persona as 'the Party of No,' and move heaven and earth to save this country?

   "If you answered 'yes' to any one of the questions I just posed, then you deserve what you will be getting. Unfortunately, those of us who don't 'deserve it' will be taken down with those of you who do."

*  *   *

   "Still, I don't understand why you have done what you've done. Are you so much into 'instant gratification' that you don't understand the depths of our national problems, so can't give anybody more than two years to work on them? I don't think it can be a basic education problem; we don't have the best schools in the world, but our populace is certainly educated enough to understand something of the predicament we are in. Even if you don't know precisely what needs to be done, surely you have a pretty good idea about what is best for you personally. And, believe it or not, your 'selfish interest' is really the same as that of perhaps 95 percent of our population. Our problems can be worked out, but not if you're not even smart enough to help yourself."

*   *   *

    "There is one other factor here that can't be overlooked. I am a black man - not very black, perhaps, but it would be foolish not to acknowledge that my African pigmentation affects how some people think of my right and my abilities to be President. I don't know that many people hate me, but I know that in our 'free' country there is an undefined but prevailing fear of minorities. To a lesser, but still significant, extent, there is a resentment against minorities being in perceived positions of power over whites. If you feel that way, I can't convince you that I don't have some kind of anti-White agenda, but surely you can at least try to be rational about it with yourself. The President does not RULE; most Presidents haven't even been able to control their own party in Congress, let alone have much effect on others. Under the most favorable conditions, I can't effect change by  myself.  Even if I decided to run for a second term and I won, how could I possibly do as much damage in the next six years as was done to the country by the last Administration?

*   *   *

   "Now, I've given you two terrific headlines, and I see a few of your colleagues have already slipped out of the room to get a head start on the rest of you. Which headline will you use? 'Obama plays the race card?' 'Obama may not seek second term?' I don't think it is unrealistically cynical to think that at least three-quarters of you will use one or the other - or perhaps both. However, if you want to wait around a few more minutes, I can give you something that may actually be meaningful. Here it is.

   "According to the news, yesterday happened because I and my Administration have been unable to turn the economy around in our first 22 months. According to the news, none of our 'stimulus' programs have done any good, most or all have done harm, and everything we might propose is likely to make the situation worse. So be it. I won't abdicate my role as chief executive officer until I get fired, but here's what I will do. There has been a lot of talk about the Democrats trying to force a lot of unpopular legislation through the system during this two-month 'lame duck' session. Because all the new Republicans were reportedly elected because they have definite ideas about how to turn the economy around and put the nation back to work, I don't want anything in my economic agenda to get in their way. For the last two months of this session and the first month of the 2011 session, I won't sign any economic legislation except that which is legally mandated. I don't want to interfere with the legitimate business of the Legislative Branch, but I will encourage them to devote their time to significant issues that do not have large price tags or major revenue-based consequences. Apparently the Republicans have their proposals well formulated, and in three months time should be able to prepare a clear economic strategy for at least the next two years. I encourage across-the-aisle participation in getting together a strategy, but perhaps the Republicans want a chance to present their own clear, uncompromised package first. In any event, whatever package is given to me around the first of February 2011, my Administration will do all we can to make sure that the the American public has every opportunity to view the proposals in their fully described, uncut format. Whatever happens from that point on is, of course, in the hands of Congress."

   "I will not take the blame for not solving all the Nation's ills in 22 months on the job. The fault is clearly with the last Administration. I would like to have seen our programs be more effective, but with absolutely no Republican involvement in the processes, we did the best we could - better, in fact, than we might have expected. Unfortunately, progress so far has shown up in the health of 'The Economy,' but not yet significantly for the individuals. The new Republicans apparently have the plan to keep the healing going. We all fervently hope so."


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