At or near the top of his agenda is working a deal with Republicans on Capitol Hill to keep the country from going off the “fiscal cliff.”
As Obama sees it there are two options. The first is to do nothing and see taxes go up on Americans and small businesses that make less than $250,000 a year. The other option, the one he campaigned on, is to let the Bush tax cuts expire for all but the wealthiest Americans. That’s even though doing such a thing wouldn’t come remotely close to closing the budget gap. It’s class warfare, pure and simple.
Trying as usual to sound like the soul of reason, he said, “As I’ve said before, I’m open to compromise and I’m open to new ideas.” Maybe down the road Obama is, but not to avert the impending fiscal crisis. Before and during the conference, he shot down such Republicans proposals as a cap on deductions, closing unspecified loopholes, and “dynamic scoring,” a bookkeeping device that assumes, often mistakenly, that tax cuts more than make up for revenue losses.
Republicans, being no strangers to this kind of fiscal brinksmanship, can see they are being set up to take the fall if there is no tax and spending deal before mid-January.
The Benghazi scandal also came up at the press conference, and perhaps because he’s newly re-elected and feeling his oats, Obama showed unaccustomed fire. He blasted moderate GOP Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham for their criticisms of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who’ll you recall was trotted out by the administration to argue — based, Obama noted at the conference, on the intelligence she was given — that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left our ambassador and three other brave Americans dead was prompted by Muslim anger over an obscure YouTube video.
Obama, having perhaps unwittingly conceded just moments earlier that he had “set up” Rice with false information — said the attempt by the two Republicans “to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”
Really? What’s truly outrageous is a president who would send a U.N. ambassador out to lie to the public on his behalf. What’s outrageous is a president who would duck and dodge and prevaricate about his role in the Benghazi debacle like this one has.
McCain and Graham have vowed to block Rice from ever being Secretary of State. And we would encourage Georgia Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss to oppose the nomination of Rice as well, should it come to that.
Obama shot back in his press conference that if he thought Rice would be the best person to serve in that capacity “then I will nominate her.”
In that case, we would urge Obama to do so. That’s because televised confirmation hearings would provide a silver lining of sorts — i.e., a forum at which Obama’s duplicity and mendacity on the subject might finally be aired, and in such a way that the mainstream media would finally have to pay attention to after months of essentially ignoring it.