The President infamous for his relatively sparse press conferences, took to the podium today and provided us a rough draft of the rhetoric we expect to see out of him over the coming debt ceiling fight:
Some choice phrases and analogies in there.
- “Allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to” — Not only is this an accurate description of the debt ceiling, but it puts the blame on Congress and Congress alone. While it takes two to tango in spending and former presidents had to agree to our current spending, it’s a headlong assault on the Republican premise that raising the debt ceiling somehow gives Obama “free license” to spend when all it actually does is allow the Treasury to issue bonds to pay for the low-tax, high-spending habits the Bush era Congress. And blaming Congress is not a bad move when their popularity is right around that of oral surgery.
- “A self-inflicted wound on the economy” — This should frighten Americans into pushing against the House Republicans, but if it doesn’t, this language helps cover Obama’s bases if the government really defaults on its debt and the economy goes into a tailspin. There will be no other catalyst to blame than the self-inflicted wound of the Republicans. This sound byte will glare at the GOP through the 2014 elections. The “turn” (to use debate speak) of pointing out that a debt default would ultimately increase the debt was icing on the cake.
- You don’t go out to eat…and leave without paying the check” — This was a little clumsily delivered, but I appreciate the Democratic effort to find some response to the inaccurate but seductively appealing conservative analogy of a household budget addressing deficits with racking up more debt.
- “Deadbeat nation” — A strong phrase, naturally linking blowing through the debt ceiling with the vilified sub-culture of “deadbeat dads.” Expect to hear this lingo a lot over the next few weeks.