Every speaker knows there will be critics. Perhaps you’ve heard of the guy who gave his first speech in a public speaking class. His teacher said, “The speech has three major problems. 1. You read your speech. 2. You didn’t read it well. And number 3: It wasn’t worth reading.”
That teacher’s critique is probably similar to what most conservatives would say about President Obama’s deficit speech he gave on Wednesday afternoon. But what about the Left? Last week the Left came unglued when Obama made the 2011 budget deal with congressional Republicans that cut spending $38 billion. They feared Obama was moving to the middle like Clinton did before his reelection campaign in 1996.
Obama’s speech relieved some of the fears of so-called liberals, but there was still a lot they weren’t happy about.
Before we hit the things the Left hated about the speech we should first admit there is one big thing in it that the tax and spenders loved: Massive tax increases.
Rachel Maddow spoke for some on the Left when she kicked off her Wednesday show with gushing joy over Obama’s tax hikes on the wealthy. Maddow’s past worrisome whining about Obama going moderate melted away into celebration that Obama will stay on the wealth redistribution course. She ended her comments with guarded optimism by saying:
Today…if this is how Obama is gonna run for reelection…then, as a liberal, I am less worried then I was.
But aside from the tax increases, the angry Left did find many other problems with Obama’s speech. Here are the five biggest ones that keep them worrying about Obama.
5. The debt fail-safe trigger is dumb.
One of the odder parts of Obama’s plan was his push for some unexplained fail-safe debt trigger.
Just to hold Washington – and me – accountable and make sure that the debt burden continues to decline, my plan includes a debt fail-safe. If, by 2014, our debt is not projected to fall as a share of the economy – or if Congress has failed to act – my plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code.
Basically Obama is saying I promise that if we don’t do what we promise now, we’ll make sure we do it in the future. Of course that means he’s kind of promising to do nothing. The president has given himself an out. Moreover, he can’t possibly hold future congresses accountable in 2014. Hopefully he won’t even be president in 2014.
Some on the Left caught how empty and clueless this part of Obama’s plan was.
This debt failsafe is pretty silly…You can’t bind future Congresses. But the idea that you should is pretty stupid. You can’t talk about 2014 and forced spending cuts unless you know what the economy looks like in 2014. – David Dayden, firedoglake
Another blogger simply pointed out: “It’s all just so ridiculous.”
The Washington Post editorial staff found the debt-fail idea “intriguing” but then said,
the president threatens to undermine the effectiveness of his own trigger by exempting Medicare and Social Security from any cuts. The history of such enterprises suggests that the more holes are carved out, the less effective the trigger becomes.
Basically Obama threw out an idea only the uninformed believes has any real value. It gives the facade that the President is holding himself accountable, which of course, he really isn’t. At least a few on the Left were smart enough to call him out on it.