Obama got a little testy with Rep. Jeb Hensarling at the House Republican retreat in Baltimore, last Friday, calling his question a “talking point for running a campaign”:
Quin Hillyer at the The American Spectator found the President’s demeanor in answering the question to be arrogant, offensive and obnoxious:
The Washington Post has the whole exchange here. It captures some of the nature of the president’s supercilious attitude towards Hensarling, but you had to see it live to see how peeved, how thin-skinned, how arrogant, and how insulting his demeanor towards Hensarling was — an attitude that, if you watched, was SO different from Hensarling’s question, which while pointed and a bit long-winded, was in both words and demeanor respectful toward the president as a person — a respect Obama did NOT return. Not only that, but Obama had no business acting as if Hensarling was obnoxiously filibustering (actually, Hensarling specifically had just said he was about to actually ask the question when Obama cut him off), when Obama himself spoke at much much much greater length than most of his Republican questioners. He himself spoke longer than Hensarling in “answering” Hensarling.
“I am happy to have any independent fact-checker out there take a look at your presentation versus mine in terms of the accuracy of what I just said.” That is what Obama said while lecturing Hensarling. Again, I’ll put the Hensarling link here and invite the president to refute Hensarling’s facts. He can’t. Hensarling’s facts are accurate.
I think that this is why — this demeanor of his — is one big reason why he has been so polarizing. His attitude almost always is: If you are not with me, you are either stupid or ill-motivated.
I think Quin may have inadvertently discovered the Obama Doctrine.
In the War on Terror, President Bush declared a Bush Doctrine, which emphasized the notion that “If you are not with us, you are against us”.
In Obama’s War on Prosperity, his Doctrine is, “If you are not with me, you are either stupid or ill-motivated”.
Nice, that should help close the partisan divide.
Here are the facts from Hensarling’s press release:
Assertion: “The Republicans proposed a (Fiscal Year 2010) budget that ensured that government did not grow beyond the historical standard of 20% of GDP.”
FACT: Under the budget proposal put forward by House Republicans, spending as a percent of GDP is 20.7% of GDP in 2015, and in 10 years is at 20.7% of GDP. Source: House Budget Committee Republicans “The Path to American Prosperity” Budget Alternative, Table S-1 http://www.house.gov/budget_republicans/press/2007/pr20090401_gopbudget.pdf. Historical standard is 20.7% of GDP. Source: Heritage Foundation http://s3.amazonaws.com/thf_media/2010/pdf/wm_2780.pdf
Assertion: “It was a budget that actually froze immediately nondefense, discretionary spending.”
FACT: The House Republican budget froze non-defense/non-veteran spending for 5 years (FY2010-14). Source: House Budget Committee Republicans “The Path to American Prosperity” Budget Alternative, Page 39 http://www.house.gov/budget_republicans/press/2007/pr20090401_gopbudget.pdf
Assertion: “It spent $5 trillion less than what was ultimately enacted into law.”
FACT: The House Republican budget called for $36.913 trillion in spending over 10 years, whereas CBO estimated in March that the President’s budget would spend $41.726 trillion over 10 years. This is a difference of $4.813 trillion over a 10 year period.
Source: House Budget Committee Republicans “The Path to American Prosperity” Budget Alternative, Table S-1 http://www.house.gov/budget_republicans/press/2007/pr20090401_gopbudget.pdf and CBO’s Baseline and Estimate of the President’s Budget, June 2009 http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/102xx/doc10296/06-16-AnalysisPresBudget_forWeb.pdf
Assertion: “What were the old annual deficits under Republicans have now become the monthly deficits under Democrats.”
FACT: According to CBO’s September 2009 Monthly Budget Review http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/105xx/doc10552/09-08-mbr.htm, July 2009’s deficit was $181 billion. According to CBO’s December 2009 Monthly Budget Review http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc10825/12-4-09MBR.htm, October 2009’s deficit was $176 billion. Comparatively, according to OMB’s Historical Tables (Table 1.1) http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/, Republicans’ last annual deficit was $160.7 billion in FY2007.
Even Republicans worst annual deficit – $412.7 billion in FY2004 according to OMB’s Historical Tables (Table 1.1) http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/ – pales in comparison to Democratic deficits. According to CBO’s January Monthly Budget Review http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc10869/December2009MBR.pdf, in the first 3 months of FY2010 (October-December 2009) alone, Democrats have run up a deficit of about $390 billion – $22.7 billion shy of the GOP’s worst annual deficit.
Assertion: “The national debt has increased 30%.”
FACT: According to CBO’s January 2010 Budget and Economic Update (Table F-1) http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc10871/AppendixF.shtml#1096834, the debt held by the public at the end of FY2008 was $5.803 trillion, and at the end of FY2009 was $7.544 trillion. This is an increase of 30%.
Assertion: “Your administration proposed a budget that would triple the national debt over the next 10 years.”
FACT: According to CBO’s June 2009 estimate of the President’s Budget http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/102xx/doc10296/06-16-AnalysisPresBudget_forWeb.pdf, debt held by the public would rise from its 2008 level of $5.803 trillion to $17.126 trillion in 2019, which is 2.95 times larger than the 2008 level.
Assertion: “Will that new budget, like your old budget, triple the national debt and continue to take us down a path of increasing the cost of government to almost 25% of our economy?”
FACT: According to the President’s FY2010 budget (Table S-1) http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2010/assets/summary.pdf, debt held by the public is set to rise from $5.803 trillion in FY2008 to $16.027 trillion in FY2019, which is 2.76% times larger. Also, the President’s budget shows spending as a percentage of GDP at 24.4% for FY2010. CBO’s June 2009 estimate http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/102xx/doc10296/06-16-AnalysisPresBudget_forWeb.pdf of the President’s budget also shows federal outlays at 24.5% of GDP in 2019.
Hensarling updates with this post:
President Obama Finally Answers Hensarling’s Budget Question:
Upon the release today of his record breaking $3.8 trillion fiscal year 2011 budget, President Barack Obama finally answered the question posed to him by Congressman Jeb Hensarling, a question the President declined to answer during the Friday, January 29 House Republican retreat: “Mr. President, will that new budget, like your old budget, triple the national debt and continue to take us down the path of increasing the cost of government to almost 25 percent of our economy?” To view budget documents go to http://www.house.gov/budget_republicans/
Hensarling said, “Although it came 72 hours after I posed this very important question to the President, the American taxpayers and I finally have an answer to the simple question I asked him on Friday. The answer is YES. The president released a 10-year budget today that will triple the national debt, and keep government spending on a path that equals as much as 25% of the entire U.S. economy. This budget sends a clear signal to American taxpayers who are tired of the spending, deficits and bailouts – and who recognize that they are not working – that the President is taking the policies they have rejected to a new high. This is clear evidence that the President is ignoring the will of the American taxpayers who want Washington to go on a diet.”
Pence Response to President Obama’s Speech At the GOP Retreat