The Washington Post reports, per “one source,” that President Obama “appear[s] to be frustrated by the public perception that the recovery bill was becoming laden with partisan pet projects.” According to “two Democratic sources,” Obama “took a blunt tone with [Democratic] lawmakers, urging them to drop whatever needs to be cut from the bill to gain bipartisan support and to pass Congress soon.”
I have no doubt that Obama is frustrated by any public perception that might undercut his popularity. But I doubt that Obama is serious about cutting “partisan pet projects,” or that Obama believes the Democrats will cut them appreciably.
In all likelihood, the president is simply trying to get it on the record that he doesn’t really approve of the way the congressional Democrats are behaving because he understands that this is the view of most the country.
Obama operates this way. For example, when John McCain and other Republicans proposed legislation a few years ago to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Obama (who received substantial contributions from these outfits) refused to come on board. Instead, shortly after announcing his presidential candidacy he wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Paulson warning of problems in the subprime market. In short, he took no action but rather was content to “go on the record” to cover himself.
Change has come to Washington. For eight years, we had a president who said what he meant and meant what he said. Now, it appears, we don’t.
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