Michelle Obama, R-IL
President Obama continually gets fleeced by the GOP, sometimes seeming to enjoy it a little too much. He may be simply a terrible negotiator- giving up half the loaf practically before he gets started- or might actually prefer governing from the center right.
This past week, the former view got a boost from the President's bus tour of the Midwest. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd reports that in Cannon Falls, Minnesota Obama stated
In my house, if I said, "You know, Michelle, honey, we got to cut back, so we're going to have you stop shopping completely, You can't but shoes, you can't buy dresses, but I'm keeping my golf clubs." You know, that wouldn't go over so well.
In Decorah, Iowa, he elaborated
Everybody cannot get 100 percent of what they want. Now, for those of you who are married, there is an analogy here. I basically let Michelle have 90 percent of what she wants. But, at a certain point, I have to draw the line and say "Give me my little 10 percent."
Poor, little Barack, having to settle for 10 percent when he is by far the most powerful political figure in the most powerful nation on earth. A real victim who has to put his foot down to get ten percent.
No one cares whether Barack gets his way or Michelle gets everything, a domestic issue that is theirs and theirs alone. And it's even acceptable if in President Obama's world, every husband plays golf and every wife is a clothes horse. If you were the first black President, beset by opponents who only grudgingly concede that you were born in this country and are a Christian, and attack you for a tenuous connection to the big, bad urban machine in Chicago, you, too, would remind everyone that you prefer golf to basketball.
But really..... a President of the United States has to be satisfied with 10%? Why would he even admit he is so pitiful?
The analogy to the nation's business is not weak, but non-existent. Presumably, Michelle loves Barack and wants the best- if not for him personally, at least for the family. While the GOP's primary objective is to bring down President Obama, it's secondary objective is not the betterment of the country. Or its tertiary objective. Nor its quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, or denary objective. Conceding to Michelle might advance the cause of the Obama family; conceding to the GOP would.... well, we see what it has done.
The Obama statements, moreover, reflect a disquieting tendency on the part of the President, what Paul Krugman terms "the false government-family equivalence." "Government has to start living within its means," Obama remarked on July 2, "just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford...." That's because families, apparently, never ever go into debt and just hate to borrow when those interest rates are low.
Next up for the Administration? The President promises a jobs program in September when, no doubt, he again can settle for 10%, then declare victory. He really knows where to draw the line.