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At press conference a “blasé” Obama “acknowledged no fault or error and expressed no contrition or regret”

by | Nov 6, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the East Room of the White House on November 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Mandel N(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the East Room of the White House on November 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Mandel N(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Reporters and opinion writers do not necessarily agree on what might appear to be even the obviously straightforward items. That helps to explains why David Nakamura and Juliet Eilperin can write that at his Wednesday press conference President Obama said he “heard” the voice of the electorate and would “forge compromises with newly empowered congressional Republicans” while (among others) Dana Milbank can write the voters’ “message went in one presidential ear and out the other. “

No one who has watched President Obama’s six years in office, not to mention his preceding years in the United States Senate or his time as an Illinois state senator would or should be surprised by Mr. Obama’s above-it-all performance. Nothing seemingly affects him, not the crushing defeat his fellow Democrats suffered in the Senate races Tuesday (they could easily wind up losing nine seats), or the loss of 13 more seats in the House of Representatives, or the loss of governorships or the loss of control of state legislative bodies.

You have to actually watch him to catch the magnitude of his indifference to what happened or the latest example of how he denigrates Republicans who now control both the House and the Senate. Take his very first answer.

A reporter asked him if he “felt a responsibility to recalibrate your agenda for the next two years, and what changes do you need to make in your White House and in your dealings with Republicans in order to address the concerns that voters expressed with your administration?”

In the middle of the first of a series of meandering, vague, non-specific answers, he said, “I’m the guy who’s elected by everybody, not just from a particular state or a particular district.” Take that, you insignificant peons.

That his approval rating among “everyone” is in the high 30s and low 40s and that those dismal numbers were like an 800 pound anchor around his party’s already vulnerable candidates didn’t seem to have occurred to the President.

As many have observed, some of the President’s remarks were (to put the best face on it) odd. After the obligatory “I’m listening” comment, Mr. Obama intoned

“To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you too.”

Kudos to Gary Bauer who reminded his readers that even MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who carries entire drums-full of water for Mr. Obama, was puzzled, even a tad angry. Matthew’s said:

“What I heard him do right now was, ‘I was right. We had the wrong electorate last night. I’d prefer a different electorate. I’d like the two-thirds of the people who didn’t vote to go vote.’ Well they didn’t vote. They didn’t show up.”

But that “it’s the electorate who is to blame” is not actually new; it’s just a variation on a theme. As he did at his press conference, Mr. Obama keeps implying that all is well—that if the public actually understood (aka, that whatever problems there are, it’s the Republicans’ fault), Democrats would have cruised Tuesday night.

Just before the elections, Mr. Obama was complaining about how difficult the math was for Democrats, because so many senators were up for re-election. To state the obvious, many were up for re-election because of the strength of his presidential coattails in 2008. Now that “hope and change” had up and gone, the president’s impact was just the opposite in 2014.

One other quick additional thought. Nakamura and Eilperin correctly described Tuesday’s drubbing as a “stinging rebuke.” They (and everybody else on the planet) may have reached that conclusion, but not the President. As Milbank wrote

The Republican victory was a political earthquake, giving the opposition party control of the Senate, expanding its House majority to a level not seen in generations and burying Democratic gubernatorial candidates.

Yet when Obama fielded questions for an hour Wednesday afternoon, he spoke as if Tuesday had been but a minor irritation. He announced no changes in staff or policy, acknowledged no fault or error and expressed no contrition or regret. Though he had called Democrats’ 2010 losses a “shellacking,” he declined even to label Tuesday’s results.

What a guy.

Categories: Obama
Tags: Obama