Obama’s Press Conference

At today’s press conference, Barack Obama introduced his environmental team. He then took some questions. The only news that has come out of the event was Obama’s exchange with a reporter who asked him whether Rahm Emanuel was in contact with Governor Blagojevich. Obama preferred not to answer the question, instead assuring those present that his own investigation has shown that he did nothing improper:

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) on behalf of my Chicago colleagues and others here, I’m — I’m curious. Your office put out a statement earlier today saying that there were no inappropriate contacts between your office and the governor of Illinois. And I’m wondering if you could address reports that your incoming chief of staff did speak with the — the staff of Governor Blagojevich?

OBAMA: Well, as I said in a press conference last week, I had no contact with the governor’s office, and I had no contact with anybody in the governor’s office.

And what I indicated last week is that there was nothing that my office did that was in any way inappropriate or related to the charges that have been brought.

Now, beyond that, as we said in the statement today, we were prepared to release the findings of the review that had been done, which are thorough and comprehensive. The U.S. attorney’s office asked us to hold off releasing those for a week.

So I would ask for your patience, because I do not want to interfere with an ongoing investigation.

But there is nothing in the review that was presented to me that in any way contradicted my earlier statements that this appalling set of circumstances that we’ve seen arise had nothing to do with my office and that, you know, those facts will be forthcoming to all of you in due course. We just want to make sure that we’re not interfering with an ongoing and active investigation.

Obama’s answer has been greeted with considerable skepticism. Michael Ramirez caricatures the Chicago roots that are now catching up with the President-elect; click to enlarge:


The American people share Ramirez’s skepticism: Rasmussen finds that “Forty five percent (45%) of U.S. voters say it is likely President-elect Obama or one of his top campaign aides was involved in the unfolding Blagojevich scandal in Illinois….Just 11% say it is not at all likely.” That depends, I think, on what the meaning of “involved” is.

Speaking for myself, though, I’m a lot less alarmed by anything Emanuel did than by Barack Obama’s utter ignorance of economics, a subject that was raised again at today’s press conference. It’s an interesting question whether we’ve ever had a President who understands less how our economy works than Obama. There is some pretty stiff competition, but Obama has never had a job in the business world, has never studied economics, and, as far as the public record shows, has never made any effort to understand the vast and diverse economy that he proposes to regulate and transform.

I find this scary, and it gets scarier every time Obama talks about how the federal government is going to create “green jobs” having to do with wind power, etc. It’s possible that the federal government could have a role in helping to facilitate development of an infrastructure that would enable alternative energy technologies, and if Obama made a coherent argument along those lines I’d be receptive to it. But he’s never done so. As far as I can tell, and as far as his press conference today reveals, Obama suffers from the misconception that the government can create wealth and jobs by subsidizing the inefficient production of energy. If he really is that dumb, we are all in big trouble.

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