Mark Thoma, in Barack Obama Fail Department, highlights Brad DeLong's justified rant against Obama's (and his handlers') deafness about the real issues and the position he should be taken to fight the right-wing's attack on the entire New Deal.
Obama spent part of his press conference pushing the case of the wingnuts that want to decimate the social welfare programs and that are threatening to derail the country with a default on its debt just so they can get their way. Those wingnuts don't care what happens to the country and the vast majority of people who can't afford to buy financial insurance that will pay if the US defaults. They just want "victory" for their no-tax, pro-corporatist ideology (that masquerades as an interest in personal freedom), at whatever cost. yet there Obama was, saying:
Of course, one of the most important and urgent things we can do for the economy is something that both parties are working on right now, and that's reducing our nation's deficit...
Brad DeLong appropriately upbraided Obama for his betrayal of ordinary Americans in pushing the right-wing agenda forward!
Absolutely the last thing, the last thing, the country needs is to cut federal spending or raise taxes in fiscal 2011, 2012, and it is now looking like fiscal 2013 as well.
And then of course, Obama continued with his foolish belief that bipartisanship is a worthy goal or that one should always keep reaching out to opponents even when they have shown themselves to be wacko artists who don't give a damn about the future of the country. He should be using the full force of presidential rhetoric to hack them apart. Instead, he bobs and curtseys and makes nice.
[B]ecause of the work that's been done, I think we can actually bridge our differences. ... Nobody wants to put the creditworthiness of the United States in jeopardy. Nobody wants to see the United States default. ...
In fact, the extremists on the right who now occupy the House are eager for a default to bring ruination so that they can blame Obama, get control of the White House, and then really go to town with the deregulation, militarization, privatization, and tax cut regime that is their Bible. As Mark Thoma puts it:
We have Republicans threatening to default on the debt and blow up the economy if they aren't allowed to put the economy at risk in another way -- through immediate deficit reduction -- and a president selling the demands from the other side as a jobs package. To make it worse, some Republicans seem eager for default to happen based upon the false belief that they'll somehow gain political advantage for wrecking the economy. No wonder the economic outlook is so grim.