Obama's oddly-timed speech

I won't address most of the content of President Obama's speech, because it was essentially a rehash of the themes that we've covered here before — his blaming the nation's problems on President Bush rather than taking any responsibility, his attacks on wealthier Americans, his calls for higher taxes cloaked in euphemisms about a need for “shared sacrifice” and a “balanced approach,” and his empty calls for compromise. But what struck me as particularly odd was the timing. I understand his political need to make his case to Americans who may not be following the debt limit talks all that closely. But while the speech he gave tonight might have theoretically made sense several weeks ago, I have a hard time understanding what it does now. At this point, I see no point in re-fighting the taxes vs. spending cuts debate when we've already moved beyond that. Both proposals on the table right now accept that tax increases cannot be a part of the debt limit deal. We are way beyond the arguments about the two approaches to governing. It's a matter of whether Congress can just cut any deal to raise the debt ceiling in the next week. Nothing Obama said last night makes that any more likely, nor can I see what kind of political benefit he derives from it.


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