King of sarcasm and Commander-in-Chief President Barack Obama (pictured) dismissed questions over his struggles to pass select components of his second-term agenda by telling a reporter at a press conference earlier today, ”Maybe I should just pack up and go home. Golly.”
Of all the people that need to leave Capitol Hill, it’s definitely not President Obama.
For starters, the petulant children on the other side of the political aisle responsible for said failures to pass key legislation should proceed to the nearest trap door. As for the journalist who asked the question, release the hounds. The same can be said of their colleagues.
The questions asked during this morning’s press conference were wide-ranging. As for how he’s feeling on future legislative goals, including comprehensive immigration reform, Obama quipped, ”Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated” — evidently, he listened to Beyoncé’s “Bow Down” before entering the room full of soundbite-seeking vultures.
On Obamacare, the President says his administration is setting up a pool for those still uninsured ”so that they can all pool together and get a better deal from insurance companies. … That’s it. … That’s all that’s left to implement.”
When the issue of Syria and the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad came up, Obama explained that “what we have now is evidence that chemical weapons have been used” though it’s still not definite “how they were used, when they were used, [or] who used them.”
As for the Boston Marathon bombing, Obama has reportedly requested a review in to “the U.S. government’s handling of intelligence information leading up to the Boston Marathon bombings.” President Obama noted that it is “standard procedure. … When an event like this happens, we want to go back and review every step that was taken.”
Additionally, the hunger strike by 100 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay was addressed, with the President saying, ”It is not a surprise to me that we’ve got problems at Guantanamo.” And after saying “I don’t want these individuals to die,” he revealed that he plans to close the detention center.
What’s the hold up? Congress: Democrats and Republicans alike.
The President was even asked about the coming out of NBA vet Jason Collins, to which the President replied, ”I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him. … The LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality.”
What wasn’t asked, though, is what makes the entire conference problematic.
Not once was President Obama asked about the jobs crisis. The job of Congress, although, was addressed, with Obama making clear: ”Members of Congress are elected in order to do what’s right for their constituencies and the American people.”
One thing they’re not doing, however, is tackling the jobs crisis.
I suppose I can’t blame the President and Congress if the people who are supposed to keep them in line aren’t bothering to bring it up either.
Last Thursday, there was a hearing on long-term unemployment held before the 19-member Joint Economic Committee. Unfortunately, as the Huffington Post reported, only a single lawmaker was in attendance. The result was panelists testifying on the problem and its potential solutions solely to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the committee’s vice-chair.
After a while, others bothered to trickle in albeit late.
The all-but-complete absence of congressional interest was first documented by National Journal reporter Niraj Chokshi, who tweeted a photo of the hearing. Shortly after the photo was posted, several other lawmakers did trickle in to participate. Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) arrived eight minutes into the hearing. Once the hearing had been under way for 35 minutes, Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) was also in attendance, according to Chokshi. Eventually Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) also joined, bringing the crowd to four.
Meanwhile, nearly 5 million Americans have been unemployed for at least week 27 weeks per the latest job figures. That’s higher than at any point since World War II and doesn’t even include the people who have stopped bothering to look for work — which makes their struggle to ultimately find a new job all the more harder.
There are some political figures discussing the problem on a local level, like, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R), who is blaming the unemployed for their own problems.
The other area is, there are many employers that say we’re looking for people but we can’t find anybody that has passed a drug test, a lot of them. And that’s a concern for me because we’re having a serious problem with that.
So not only are Republicans blocking job initiatives on a national level, they’re even being given free reign to come out with the kookiest rationale to explain their own bad behavior on the state level.
And yet, the press didn’t even bother to touch on any of this in today’s presser. Golly indeed, Mr. President.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick