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Tuesday morning while at the gym, on one of the TV sets was the financial news channel. It keeps track of stocks and bonds, blah, blah, blah. It doesn't matter much to me what's on because I am usually plugged into my iPod and it's just something for my eyes to do for an hour. I sometimes read the subtitles though if it looks interesting. Anyways, about a half hour into my workout I see President Obama come on stage surrounded by what looks like firefighters, apparently it was a press conference. He is talking about the looming sequester that he said during the election would never happen. For me to get everything he is saying I had to read the subtitles and since I quickly realized that he was mostly saying it's all the republicans fault I stopped reading and focused on something else, but my eyes needed something to do and so they watched him speak, without sound.
Usually when I see the President speak his body language is all about confidence, he is smug, arrogant, he holds his head high and his nose up. He speaks as if he is a king and like all the little people are hanging on his every word, he is the master of all the universe. The interesting part about what I noticed on Tuesday is that much of his confidence was gone from his face. I generally can judge a persons emotions, and temperament pretty quickly, and there was something off with the Presidents presentation. I couldn't help but think that he was somehow desperate, and the feeling didn't go away. The more he spoke, the more I felt as if he knew something he wasn't telling us, that this speech wasn't to embarrass republicans, or shame them into negotiating, like it was later reported on most news stations. Without sound and just by looking at the Presidents facial features and how he spoke it felt more like a speech begging for republicans to act, an interesting observation I know, but that's how I perceived it then, without sound just watching him speak.
Last year, just a mere month and a half ago, during the fiscal cliff talks we saw House Speaker John Boehner all the time, on TV, in the print media, online talking about how the talks were going etc. Now we don't see him at all, Congress is on vacation this week, they aren't doing anything to avoid the sequester. Maybe it's because they can do it next week, or maybe the speaker plans on doing nothing. Despite what President Obama says, even if the sequester takes effect on March 1, 2013 the cuts don't take effect immediately, they are phased in over time. Don't get me wrong they are real but once they start to happen Congress can act to start funding things they want to pay for any things they don't, but will John Boehner do anything? Did the President over play his hand in the fiscal cliff talks? I think maybe he did.
House Speaker Boehner said at the beginning of the year that more tax increases and negotiations with President Obama were over, but politicians say crazy things all the time and it's usually just talk, it's just talk, isn't it? Maybe not, new ideas to prevent gun violence? Let's see what the Senate can pass, Boehner says, then we'll take a look. Immigration reform? Boehner says it's best left to bipartisan working groups in both the House and Senate. And the litany of new initiatives unveiled by Obama in the State of the Union address? "If he's got such good ideas, his party in the Senate could pass it," Boehner told The Associated Press in an interview in his Capitol office. "Then we'd be happy to take a look at it." In other words Speaker Boehner is taking the House out of the process and reacting only to legislation that is presented to it, instead of participating in the process and creating it.
It's an interesting approach and I support the sequester 100%. Government has become a bloated pig that eats too much borrowed food. It doesn't make sense to me to borrow money from China to have jobs here in the United States. Plus, the Congress has the power to fund anything they choose to, if the FBI runs out of money, they can write up a bill fully funding the FBI. If the Navy needs more money, they can write up a bill funding the Navy. Are jobs going to be lost, absolutely. Are they jobs worth having? Depends on if it's your job or not I suppose. One thing is certain, this is probably the only chance in the history of my lifetime that the Government can shrink, like it or not, good or bad for the economy, and I don't think it's an opportunity any conservative minded person can pass up. That is why the President looked like he was desperate, he wrote and signed the sequester into law and now it's got him backed into a corner that could define his presidency and how he is judged by history.
I think Speaker John Boehner has in no uncertain terms put all the responsibility on the President and Democrats to fix any problems they perceive while he sits back and watches. The President can have all the press conferences he wants, but nothing is going to move first in the House of Representatives. Think about it, in two years from now at the mid term elections will anyone remember who did what? I doubt it. Based on the limited number of laws Obama himself has written and the success of those laws, if I was President Obama, I would be panicked...
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