Q And if I can, one more. Can you respond to Wisconsin, the vote in Wisconsin yesterday?
MR. CARNEY: Look, the President has said that we all need to come together at the federal level and the state level to deal with the budget issues we face. He’s very mindful of that fact that states have some serious budget problems and they need to address them. And in that process, he thinks everyone needs to share in the sacrifice, and that would include public sector employees as well as others. He also believes that it is wrong to use those budget problems to denigrate or vilify public sector employees. And he believes that the actions last night taken in Wisconsin violate the principles that he laid out about coming together and addressing these issues together, rather than pursuing partisan goals. And that’s his view on that.
Q Does the President still view the Wisconsin legislation as a assault on unions? And would he concede that Scott Walker is trying to make sure people in Wisconsin still have jobs and that state employees still have jobs in the same way that he’s trying do nationally? Would he concede this is a good faith effort to try to keep state employees hired?
MR. CARNEY: I would say — I would point to my first answer on this question, which the President absolutely believes that it is not helpful to make the tough decisions that states face, as we face in Washington, on their budgets, to turn that process into an assault on public sector employees.
To repeat a point made earlier today, Wisconsin public employees still have more collective bargaining rights than federal employees under Obama do, notwithstanding the fact that Democrats recently had control of both chambers of Congress and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. If scaling back CB on the benefits side for PEUs makes Walker guilty of assault, what’s Obama guilty of by not moving more forcefully on bargaining rights for federal workers? Criminally negligent homicide?
Now, riddle me this: In what meaningful way has this guy attempted to “come together” with Republicans to address “serious budget problems”? He had his chance to do that last month when he unveiled his budget plan for the rest of the year. The result was so cynical and catastrophic that Andrew Sullivan momentarily reverted to 2001 form and ripped him as he would any spendthrift liberal. Boehner’s said publicly that if Obama is serious about entitlement reform, he’ll lock arms with him and give him all the bipartisan cover he needs to start pressing the issue. And yet, as usual, The One does … nothing. He’s too worried about pursuing his own partisan goals — namely, not jeopardizing his reelection chances by alienating seniors — to do anything about the sucking chest wound in America’s budget. That’s how serious he is about “coming together” to find meaningful solutions. What a fraud.