…and the House Republicans shouldn’t even bother trying.
Their opening position should no longer be $61 billion in cuts. It should be $3.7 trillion in cuts. Or at least $1.6 trillion in cuts. The opening position should be a balanced budget.
It’s clear it was a mistake not to grab for the brass ring. They were negotiating based on an attempt to govern responsibly, but that only put them in the position of Charlie Brown attempting to kick the football and Obama and his stooges in the Senate in the position of Lucy getting ready to pull it from his foot. Which is what happened when they brought out $61 billion in cuts, which irritated the Tea Party and probably the majority of the country along with them, who don’t feel like the GOP is a serious player in budget sanity, and got a counterproposal of $4 billion.
President Obama’s press conference just ended, but it’s very obvious that he has nothing to offer. Nothing to offer on the budget, nothing to offer on energy, nothing to offer on foreign policy. He is thoroughly unserious, detached from reality, completely dishonest and arrogant to the extreme.
Obama made the asinine argument that oil production in the Gulf was at an all-time high last year. While that might technically be true, the fact is that production peaked in May and went into a relatively steep decline since then – to such an extent that current production is off by 250,000 barrels a day.
And it’s even worse than that. Oil production today is a result of oil exploration yesterday. Obama won’t issue permits for deepwater drilling, he’s stalling on permits for shallow-water drilling and we’re not leasing offshore rights for 2011 at all – making this the first year since 1967 no lease sales will be held.
For him to pretend like he’s not riding the brakes on energy just shows the level of contempt he has for the industry, his political opponents and the public at large. You can’t negotiate with a man who refuses to even sit at the table. Refuses to acknowledge the table even exists.
On the budget, while he spouts platitudes about how he’s on board with cutting the budget he opposes any cuts. What’s worse, he won’t even acknowledge the seriousness of the issue. He takes a look at the GOP’s proposed cuts and screams that you can’t cut Pell Grants because they’re an “investment in our future” – as though an $800 cut to your Pell Grant is worse than having to spend your entire life working to pay off trillions of dollars in federal debt he’s running up. Then he looks at the superfluous low-hanging fruit in the GOP cuts and says it’s a “political statement.” As if it matters whether dumping subsidies for Planned Parenthood and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are a political statement or not – we’ve got a $1.6 trillion budget deficit; you can’t remedy that without getting rid of ALL of the debatable programs as a mere appetizer.
Then there’s his description of the earthquake in Japan as “potentially catastrophic.” No, really? Potentially? Thanks for that bold verbiage, Mr. President. It’s the fifth-strongest earthquake in modern history; you could say it’s actually catastrophic. That ranks up there with his description of Warren Buffet as an “economist” – which might shed some light on some of these claims he makes that all reputable economists agree with him. Buffet doesn’t fit the same definition of economist that actual economists do, but that’s no hill for a stepper when you can just accuse your critics of being racists.
Obama doesn’t inhabit the same planet the rest of us do. He denies the reality the rest of us recognize. Dealing with this man is impossible.
Stop trying to deal with him. Just shut the government down. Deliver to him a dose of reality, and watch him squeal in pain.
The lesson of Wisconsin is that attempting to deliberate and negotiate with the Hard Left will only create a circus. It requires decisive action to deal with them. Cut deep. Stop Obama by shutting down the government, and make him come to terms. Anything less than that will result in victory for the president and his stooges in the Democrat Party as they collapse our system in order to remake the country as something else.
UPDATE: The Offshore Marine Services Association’s president Jim Adams was as put out as we were by Obama’s performance today…
“President Obama’s rhetoric will not bring down the price of gas,will not make us less reliant on unstable regimes and will not generate new jobs in the energy sector. The only immediate solution to the administration’s self-imposed energy crisis is to lift the de facto moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Jim Adams, president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA).
“This administration continues to deceive hard working Americans with false assurances of today’s production output,” continued Adams. “There has been no exploration off the continental shelf for nearly a year—that means future production will drop precipitously.”
According to Tuesday’s “Short-Term Energy Outlook” (published monthly by the U.S. Energy Information Administration), “Domestic crude oil production, which increased by 150,000 bbl/d in 2010 to 5.51 million bbl/d, declines by 110,000 bbl/d in 2011 and by a further 130,000 bbl/d in 2012 (U.S. Crude Oil Production Chart).”
“EIA expects production from the Federal Gulf of Mexico (GOM) to fall by 240,000 bbl/d in 2011 and by a further200,000 bbl/d in 2012.”
“For nearly a year, the Obama administration has instituted a de facto moratorium on drilling in the Gulf. Administration officials say they’re worried about safety, but that makes no sense,” said Adams.
“After six decades of safe drilling, there’s no reason for a de facto moratorium. A federal judge agrees and has held the Obama administration in contempt of court for not processing permits in a reasonable amount of time. Last week, the administration’s Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar,appealed the injunction stating that he needed an extension. If Secretary Salazar is insinuating that he needs nearly a year to process drilling permits,$4/gallon gas will be the least of this country’s problem.”
OMSA represents the owners and operators of U.S. flag offshore service vessels and the shipyards and other businesses that support that industry.
UPDATE #2: And now, Louisiana’s Congressional delegation has begun sharpening the knives…
“Someone should tell the President that April Fool’s Day is still weeks away. Today’s conference is another example of the President misleading the American people regarding his energy policy. While the President touts the highest level of domestic oil and gas production, he fails to mention that his energy policy is causing a decline in production. Each and every day he refuses to – at a minimum – release the 32 permits on hold for almost a year is a day the American people are forced to deal with the price spikes. In addition to domestic oil and gas, the President should focus on responsible and affordable alternative energy sources like nuclear, natural gas, and clean coal…”
That was Jeff Landry.
“The president was correct in his statement, ‘Rising oil prices affect everyone.’ However, I cannot understand why—given the fact that we have the capabilities to produce energy at home— we still rely on other nations to help meet our energy needs. The situation in Libya has exposed our energy dependence on foreign sources as gas prices have sharply increased yet again. We can strengthen America’s energy security by tapping domestic energy sources that are readily available in the Gulf Coast. Not pursuing this option is irresponsible, and Americans will continue to feel the financial pain at the pumps.”
That was Rodney Alexander.
UPDATE #3: And here’s Sen. David Vitter’s response:
“The gap continues to widen between what President Obama claims to be true about domestic energy production and what Louisianians know is true,” said Vitter. “With prices at the pump climbing toward $4.00 per gallon, the president is asking us to believe that his administration supports expanded drilling off the Gulf Coast. I guess that’s true only if you don’t actually need a permit.”
UPDATE #4: And now Rep. John Fleming:
“Not only is the President deliberately attacking and choking the flow of domestically produced oil with only one belated token deepwater drilling permit, his EPA is attacking hydrofracking necessary for shale natural gas drilling which is further contributing to the high cost of energy in this country. He has a DOE Secretary that says, ‘somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,’ and a DOI Secretary that, when in the Senate, objected to an amendment opening up off-shore areas to new oil and natural gas drilling when the price of gas reached $10 per-gallon. It’s hard to take President Obama serious about anything he says regarding our energy access.”
- “We can’t escape the fact that we control only 2% of the world’s oil.” This is a common refrain among anti-drilling Democrats and environmentalists, and it’s repeated enough that many people accept it as true. In reality, it’s 100% false. The number comes from a highly conservative estimate from the Energy Information Administration totaling America’s proven reserves where we are already drilling. It does not include the 10 billion barrels available in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It does not include most of the 86 billion barrels available offshore in the Outer Continental Shelf, most of which President Obama has placed under an executive drilling ban. And it does not include the 800 billion barrels of oil we have locked in shale in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Those shale resources alone are actually three times larger than the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia, so the claim that the U.S. only has 2% of the world’s oil is clearly false.
- “Industry holds leases on tens of millions of acres both offshore and on land where they aren’t producing a thing.” President Obama adds to this whopper by saying he wants to “encourage companies to produce [on] the leases they hold.” While this sounds like a common sense fix, it’s actually just blind rhetoric reserved only for people with a shocking ignorance of drilling. You can read more about this here and here, but it basically boils down to this: A lease is for exploration and production, not just production, and because oil is not equally distributed across the globe, one parcel of leased acreage may not hold any oil. Moreover, due to the circuitous and needlessly complicated permitting process, it can take years for companies who own a lease to complete their exploration activities. To get to the production phase, it could take as long as ten years. Ironically, President Obama wants to tax companies for not producing on their leases, even if the federal government’s refusal to grant permits is the reason why those companies are not drilling.
- “Last year…our oil production reached its highest level in 7 years.” This is pure spin. President Obama is deliberately trying to take credit for actions unrelated to his policies. The increased level of production is due to the actions of previous administrations and production in the Dakotas where most drilling is occurring on private land. By contrast, the Energy Information Administration projects that there will be a decline in production of 220,000 barrels of domestic oil per day in 2011, and in 2012 America will produce 150 million fewer barrels in the Gulf of Mexico, all because of President Obama’s policies to discourage or ban domestic drilling. In addition, President Obama’s drilling moratorium (and subsequent refusal to issue drilling permits) has forced at least 7 rigs to leave the Gulf and sign contracts in other countries, taking much needed jobs and revenue with them.
Again – how are you supposed to negotiate in good faith with a guy who isn’t willing to tell the truth about anything? It’s one thing if your opponent is talking about the same reality you are but has a different set of solutions or objectives he’s pursuing than you are. With Obama, you aren’t just fighting the solutions and objectives, you’re dealing with a competing reality altogether. He comes from a land where up is down, black is white and 2+2=5 because he can get the New York Times to say so.
The only way to handle somebody like this? Walk away from the table. Let him burn. Obama, as an opponent in negotiations, is not particularly different than the lunatics who run Iran – he operates on a totally different reality than you do, and in his reality what you see as a problem isn’t a problem at all. Obama might say he wants to get serious about deficits, but that’s a throwaway line he thinks he can get the Washington Post and NBC News to spew out for him so the people who barely pay attention to current events think he’s in the game. In reality, he’s perfectly happy to hold firm to the current deficit as long as possible – because when it collapses the answer will be confiscatory taxes on the rich and nationalization of as many productive industries as possible. Seizing 401K’s has been discussed before, and probably will be again.
The American people won’t stand for that, of course. But if Obama cared what the American people want there would have been no Obamacare. Obama is on the wrong side of virtually every consensus issue there is, but he thinks his buddies in the media will save him and he thinks he can bullshit his way to reelection regardless of that.
So the deficit isn’t his problem. The deficit, to the extent it’s a problem, is the Republicans’ problem. Because they’re the ones who ran on fixing it last year, and they won the House. In Obama’s way of thinking, if they can’t actually fix it they’ll get killed in 2012, not him. And Obama also thinks that a reprise of the 1995 government shutdown would destroy the Republicans politically; his buddies in the media have pushed that narrative until they’ve gone blue in the face and pretty much the entire political calculus about budgets and shutdowns the White House has established is based on that perception.
Except this isn’t 1995. Back then the budget deficit was considered an annoying disgrace, but fixable. Now it literally threatens the future of America as an independent nation and a functioning economy. People know this. They may not understand exactly what the deficit is made up of – entitlement programs are 60 percent of the budget and defense is another 20 percent, and that’s something the folks seem pretty much clueless about – but they know the budget needs to be brought into balance, NOW. And they’re willing to sacrifice to make it happen, so long as there is real leadership forging a direction that makes sense.
Which Obama won’t provide, because his perception of the national interest isn’t the same as the rest of the country’s. He’s about getting his agenda passed, and he’s OK with breaking a bunch of eggs to make that omelet. He’s trying to break the Republicans.
What’s needed now is a Shut It Down Caucus in the House and Senate. What’s needed is a group on Capitol Hill which forces the GOP leadership to say “OK, Barry, that $61 billion in cuts your people in the Senate voted down? Guess what. That’s the best plan you’ll get from us. Either get the Cowboy Poet clown in the Senate to bring it up again and jawbone your people into passing it so you can sign it by March 15, or our next temporary continuing resolution will be that $61 billion for a month of running the government – and the one which funds it for the rest of the fiscal year will cut $400 billion beyond that.
“And if you don’t like that plan, then we can show you what’s behind Curtain No. 2 – which is that we walk. We’re done feeding you budget resolutions. Now you can feed us some. And you’d better make ’em damn good, because you’re not going to have much of a government to run for a long time until you do.
“This is something you can’t vote ‘present’ on, Barry. Now you’re going to have to do your job for once in your life. It’s going to be tough on you, but you’re going to finally learn that there’s something out there bigger than you are.”
Such a caucus is going to have to have nerves of steel and skin even tougher. But in the end, it’s the only possible solution. Obama can’t be coexisted with, he has to be broken. When he won’t even accept the reality everybody else lives in, it’s impossible for him to lead.