For one brief moment on Sequester Day – March 1, 2013 A.D., a day that will live in insolvency – President Barack Obama let down his guard. In one of his rare real press conferences, he accepted questions, and soon wished he hadn’t. Asked a very softball question – whether there was anything he might have done differently, or might do differently in the future, to break the gridlock and make progress on the government’s budget – Obama snapped back “Well, Julie, give me an example of what I might do!”
Simply incredible. All over the nation, people stared at their televisions, radios, and computer screens, and began to shout. This was more than just a moment of truth, in which he acknowledged how far he was out of his depth in this office, how unprepared he was for the job a gullible nation had twice granted him.
This was a virtual plea for captions, a straight line begging for a punchline.
I have not interviewed millions of people for this piece. In fact, I didn’t interview anyone; I didn’t need to. Because I know exactly what thousands of people replied, in their heads or out loud, in exasperation and anger:
“Well, Mr. President, you might stop golfing all the time and spend some time in the office.”
President George W. Bush, an avid golfer, quietly gave up the sport after Sept 11, just eight months into his presidency, out of respect for our armed forces. A president certainly can live without golf. He may not want to, but what a message it would send to the public, to show that he respects and understands their plight. And on that matter…
“Well, Mr. President, you might lay off the million-dollar vacations, or at least, when you do, travel along with the rest of your family so you don’t need two planes every time.”
Honestly, it may seem inconvenient, but millions of Americans take cheap vacations with our families. A normal father actually wants to take vacations with his own family. This president’s fondness for sending his wife and daughters on expensive vacations at massive taxpayer cost, while traveling somewhere else himself, strikes real Americans as not only criminally extravagant, but also incredibly peculiar.
“Well, Mr. President, you might lead by example, and cut your own staff a bit, encouraging Congress to do the same.”
It is well known that the Obama administration has padded the executive branch more than any previous administration. The White House staff alone is about 500 full time employees, over a quarter of them earning well into the six figures (and no, this does not count cabinet secretaries, whose salaries are reported within their respective departments). The first lady has a whole huge staff of her own, at an unprecedented size; this administration has been a veritable jobs program for the Chicago Machine. Many Congressmen and Senators have cut their own staffs by five to fifteen percent; surely the president could do the same, and show that he recognizes the need to reduce the unaffordable burden of this bloated government.
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