Human Events Blog

Obama uses hurricane, school shootings to push his tax agenda

In one of the most amazing and utterly despicable public orations ever delivered by an American president, on Wednesday afternoon Barack Obama actually used the Newtown school shootings, along with Hurricane Sandy, as leverage to push for Republican submission to his tax agenda:

So, I’m going to continue to talk to the speaker and the other leaders up in Congress, but ultimately they’ve got to do their job. Right now, their job is to make sure that middle-class taxes do not go up and that we have a balanced, responsible package of deficit reduction. It is there for all to see. It is a deal that can get done, but it is not going to be – it cannot be done if every side wants 100 percent.  And part of what voters were looking for is some compromise up here.  That’s what – that’s what folks want.

They understand that they’re not going to get 100 percent of what they want. And for some reason, that message has not yet taken up on Capitol Hill. And when you think about what we’ve gone through over the last couple of months — a devastating hurricane, and now one of the worst tragedies in our memory, the country deserves folks to be willing to compromise on behalf of the greater good and not tangle themselves up in a whole bunch of ideological positions that don’t make much sense.

If you’ve never played the “What If a Republican Had Said It?” game with Obama, this is a great place to start.  The media would be questioning the man’s mental fitness to hold office, if he belonged to the other party.  It would take every ounce of self-control possessed by media anchors to avoid screaming “How dare he!” as they replayed the clip five thousand times.

This is not substantially different from questioning the patriotism of political opponents.  Obama is questioning the very humanity of those who oppose his political agenda.  And it wasn’t just an unfortunate slip of the tongue, because he repeated his effort to use the Newtown outrage as political leverage later in the same appearance, during his response to a question from a reporter:

I’m often reminded when I speak to the Republican leadership that the majority of their caucus’s membership come from districts that I lost. And so, sometimes they may not see an incentive in cooperating with me in part because they’re more concerned about challenges from a tea party candidate or challenges from the right. And, you know, cooperating with me may make them vulnerable.

You know, I recognize that. But, goodness, if — if this past week has done anything, it should just give us some perspective. If there’s one thing we should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what’s important.

And, you know, I would like to think that members of that — that caucus would say to themselves, “You know what? We disagree with the president on a whole bunch of things. We wish the other guy had won. We’re going to fight him on a whole range of issues over the next four years. We think his philosophy is all screwed up.”

But, right now what the country needs is for us to compromise, get a deficit reduction deal in place, make sure middle class taxes don’t go up, make sure that we’re laying the foundations for growth, give certainty to businesses large and small, not put ourselves through some sort of self-inflicted crisis every six months. Allow ourselves time to focus on things like preventing the tragedy in Newtown from happening again. Focus on issues like energy, and immigration reform and, you know, all the things that will really make a determination as to whether or not our country grows over — over the next four years, 10 years, 40 years.

And — and, if you just pull back from the immediate, you know, political battles, if you kind of peel off the partisan war paint, then we should be able to get something done.

“Partisan war paint?”  This vicious, bitterly divisive President has painted himself with the blood of murdered children.  The idea that he’s the only sensible, non-partisan player in the “fiscal cliff” drama was laughable before he delivered this speech; now it’s a sick joke.

Leaving his disgusting use of the dead as political props aside, the thrust of Obama’s new political narrative is that Americans are incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time.  They can only focus their tiny little heads on one issue, and right now it’s school shootings and the new push for gun control, so the enormous questions of fiscal solvency and irresponsible government spending we’ve been grappling with for years must be set aside.  Everyone should just give Obama his tax increases and unlimited debt authority so we can stop quibbling about his meaningless, entirely symbolic fiscal proposals and listen to his meaningless, entirely symbolic gun control ideas.

The implication is that resistance to the  perpetual growth of government – higher taxes, more regulations, more spending – is a childish tantrum that has run its course, and we should all settle down and learn to love Big Brother.  We can’t be trusted with our right to self-defense any more, so we’ll throw it on the pile along with our atrophied rights to make voluntary investments, keep the profits of our labor, and make our own health-care decisions.  The dissolution of freedom is the inevitable tide of history, against which only war-painted partisans paddle their canoes.  That’s why Obama clearly regards people who remind him of his “$3 in spending cuts to ever $1 of tax increases” campaign promises as more than a little daft.  You didn’t actually believe that garbage, did you?  And how can you still be dwelling on all the responsible-sounding noises Obama made a whole month ago, when your spirit should have been broken by the hurricanes and murders?

Update: The Washington Examiner carries another example of this revolting behavior today, in which President Obama uses the Newtown shootings to push… global warming.

President Obama may have a gun control agenda in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, but it’s not distracting him entirely from his other policy ambitions, such as climate change negotiations.

Obama thanked the Diplomatic Corps for the support offered by their home nations after the Sandy Hook shooting, before rallying the ambassadors to unite against other struggles, such as climate change.

“[W]hen you think about the last few days, you’re reminded that there’s a fundamental human response that transcends cultures and transcends borders,” Obama said last night.  “And that’s what is represented in this room,” he added recalling the foreign policy efforts of his first term.

“At the same time, we’re mindful that we’ve got so much more work to do together,” the president continued, noting ongoing threats from terrorists, among other issues. “And all of us have to be concerned about a changing climate that could have a profound impact on every single country here.”

So remember, whatever resistance to government power and collective action you might have been offering, the Newtown shooting obliges you to set it aside.  Adam Lanza has become the avatar of illegitimate dissent and disobedience.  And all resistance to expanding government power is now tantamount to “violence against children.”

Update: Not to be outdone in the darkly comical Democrat scramble to use the dead of Newtown as leverage for their entire policy wish list, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas exploits the murders to protect… food stamps.

Mr. Speaker, when I mention the words Hurricane Sandy and the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, many would wonder what do they have in common? Enormous gun tragedy of the loss of 26 lives, and Americans suffering from a devastating storm.  Certainly our hearts go out for those babies that were lost.

But it really speaks to is Americans in need.  And I guess that’s why I’m so troubled to be on the floor today. Because the framework that we have says to America that when you are in need – we will not, as this congress and as this government, be prepared to help you.

I think what is disappointing and I know for the Speaker it is probably the same case as I’m speaking because just about three days ago we thought there was a deal between the White House and the framework that was offered and the leadership of this house. It’s disappointing that in the course of a couple of days we’ve come to a situation where this plan, “Plan B” raises only about 300 billion from high income households and the centers for budget priorities suggest that millionaires will get 108 thousand five thousand dollars per million over a million dollars in tax cuts, but what will the middle class get?

Plan B allows the pre-Bush or Bush tax cuts to continue the itemize deductions for the rich, given them more opportunity to keep their money. In fact we will lose 400 billion in high income revenues. Disappointing.

[...] Without this plan, what we leave in place with “Plan B” which really troubles me coming from the Texas medical center, meeting with the hospital before I left Houston, it cuts re-imbursement for doctors seeing Medicare patients by 27%. 50 million Americans will then have their healthcare in jeopardy. It cuts nutrition plans, food stamps, there is no plan.

[...] My quiet comment, Mr. Speaker, as I close it is in disappointment. It is not in shrill debate, it is simply in disappointment because we have Americans who are looking to us to work with the President, to work with the Speaker to go forward with the plan that was offered on Monday. And to find a way to be able to respond when people like those in Hurricane Sandy and Newtown, Connecticut call on us, that’s all I’m asking… to work with us.

Do the voters who elected this woman to Congress have even the tiniest shred of self-respect?

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