Living in Tomorrowland
On Sunday's 'Meet the Press,' the White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley was tap dancing around host David Gregory's every question as fast and adroitly as if he were auditioning for 'Dancing With the Stars.'
One thing struck me about his dance steps. All of them pushed answers and solutions out to 2015, 2020, or even 20 years down the road. From deficit reduction to budget dangers, Daley's every answer cited some far future on the calendar.
Drivers are currently faced with $4 a gallon gas, and maybe the prospect of $5 a gallon gas. What does that mean for people just getting back to work and for the economy as a whole? Daley answered by citing the president's imposition of new fuel economy standards on automakers, imagined to save bazillions of barrels of oil over some long extended period of years, defined only as 'the term of the agreement' with the automakers.
If his mouthpiece is to be believed, it seems that the president is living fancifully in a distant future. Unfortunately, you and I can't join him there. We are standing at the $4 a gallon pump now.
It's fun to live in a fanciful future. There, we'll have flying cars fueled by little hearing aid batteries, the manufacture of which will create millions of good-paying jobs. (Let's not mention the robots who might take those jobs.) The budget will be balanced by epic savings mysteriously produced by the takeover of the American health care system by Obamacare, which contains yet unknown but obviously epic new and added costs and taxes. Our children will be at the top of the world rankings in math and science and financial literacy thanks to salad bars. Water fountains in the public parks will spurt delicious chocolate and giant flowers will bloom even in midst of arctic winter.
Since the present is the president's responsibility and principally of his making, you can't blame the fellow for day-dreaming about a fantasy-land. It is even more understandable, given his persistent belief that his saying something is so makes it so. As example, his assertions that he has restored America's respect and influence in the world, despite plenty of factual evidence to the contrary. As allies and enemies alike disparage and defy us, American hostages are held in multiple countries, pirates - yes, pirates - capture Americans at sea, and we seem feckless everywhere from our own southern border to our relationship with the government of Afghanistan. That the President prefers his imaginings to such realities is understandable.
It could be a bit surprising that a hardened, pragmatic pol like Daley would be willing to support the president's flights of fancy, let alone go on national television to attempt selling such Willy Wonka foolishness. But, then, Daley as salesman can only sell what's on his pushcart.
But, back to the present. We stand on a thinnest-of-ice, fragile as cobweb in wind, fledgling economic recovery. We stare at rising inflation in everyday commodities, like gas and food. We have a president held hostage to union special interests, evermore obviously a privileged, protected class in brewing civil war with all other taxpayers and private sector employees and many job-creators. We live in present moment reality. We can't join the president in future fantasy because we have bills to pay and there is a law against us printing our own money. We can't blather to our creditors or, in business, to our vendors about imagined money to come 20 years down the road.
The moment the president must return to our present day reality is not 20 years away. It is only 2 years away. Then he can leave and sit in his own house and day-dream, instead of doing it in our House at our expense. Should the Republicans founder and the voters foolishly agree to extend President Obama's lease, the present is prologue; we'll suffer four more years of fevered imaginings.