Video: Bowles explains what the obstacle was for Simpson-Bowles plan

posted at 12:01 pm on August 15, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Hint: It wasn’t extremism from Paul Ryan.  Our friend Morgen Richmond goes back to the videotape of the September 2011 talk by Erskine Bowles at the University of North Carolina and finds a direct question from the floor about why the Simpson-Bowles plan went nowhere.  After joking that he’d prefer not to answer, Bowles says, “I’ll just tell you the truth.” And the truth is that, despite delivering and even exceeding what Barack Obama and his economic team said they wanted from the President’s own bipartisan advisory commission on deficit reduction and budget reform, Obama refused to champion it:

I got a question here from…not one I particularly want to answer but I will. In your view, what was the primary reason why the deficit commission’s plan was not adopted. It’s a great question, I’ll just tell you the truth.

I didn’t know President Obama as well as I knew President Clinton. And one of the primary things in the business world which you learn is: know your client. And so I spent a lot of time with the President and his economic team trying to make sure we defined success. That was really important to me, I had to know what we had to do in order to get something done. And I had a very firm idea of that, and I can tell you the plan we came forward with not only met the criteria he outlined but it exceeded it in many different ways.

So I expected him, you know, to grab hold of it and say: “Wow – this is great!”. That’s what Clinton would have done. He would have said he made it up. And Al would have said he invented it.

But look, you know, I’ve got empirical data that my political antennae are not that great. And since that  time the President has come out and said he likes our plan, he thinks it’s good and he’s for it. And hopefully we’ll end up at the right place that we’ll get at least $4 trillion of deficit reduction. And that’s really the key, you know, it’s not when you get it, or if we get it all at once. It’s…to get it. And what we got to do is bring these two parties together. We got to put the politics aside and we got to do what is right. And what is right is to put our fiscal house in order for these kids.

By September 2011, Bowles thought that Obama had come around on his plan and supported it.  Yet the actual budget proposal for FY2013 entirely ignored the Simpson-Bowles recommendations a second time, which led to Paul Ryan’s memorable showdown with Tim Geithner this past February.

Bowles was surprised by this turn of events, and his assumption of what Bill Clinton and Al Gore would have done with their budget is both very amusing and probably very true.  Clinton would have not hesitated a moment to use the recommendations to seize the high road in the debate over escalating budget deficits.  In fact, Clinton did precisely that, seizing credit for a budget-balancing effort that was much more the result of a GOP-controlled Congress than any initiative on Clinton’s part.

Why didn’t Obama seize that initiative?  Clearly, deficit control didn’t interest Obama then, and hasn’t since, either.  Obama thought he could seize the issue from the Tea Party with the Simpson-Bowles commission and avoid a disastrous outcome in the midterm elections.  Once the disaster occurred, though, Obama dropped deficit control as a talking point and instead began shifting back to a class-warfare strategy, blaming the wealthy for the skyrocketing deficits of his own term.

This is what passes for leadership in the Obama era.

Bear this in mind when Obama talks about budget reform and deficit control in this election.  In fact, bear this in mind when Obama refuses to seriously discuss budget reform and deficit control in this election.


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…Oh Oh!

KOOLAID2 on August 15, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Clinton was a President. Obama is a tyrant.

Curtiss on August 15, 2012 at 12:07 PM

By September 2011, Bowles thought that Obama had come around on his plan and supported it.

…JugEars thought it was “bowels”!

KOOLAID2 on August 15, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Mitt’s ad writers, pick up Line 1 please.

hillsoftx on August 15, 2012 at 12:07 PM

The obstacle was Obama and Team socialism.

farsighted on August 15, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Even though I’ve always thought he has an unfortunate name (Read as “Irksome Bowels” which sounds like some form of IBS)
At least the man seems honest in this instance.
and this should be shouted from the rooftops to the sattelite dishes everywhere: OBAMA DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THE ECONOMY”!!!!!!

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on August 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM

The Obstacle was Captain ATM wanting the national credit card for a shopping spree…..

Harry Reid has not passed a budget in 4 years now

harlekwin15 on August 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM

OT but from Drudge…shooting at the Family Research Council

http://washingtonexaminer.com/shooting-at-family-research-council-office-in-dc/article/2504989#.UCvJwqllQbI

CW on August 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Erskine Bowles should be hearing from the Obama Truth Team about now.

Curtiss on August 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM

And this is why Democrats wrote a letter to the debate commission demanding questions about Erskine-Bowles not be asked. They know Obama can’t answer them in any way shape or form that is coherent.

KateNE on August 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM

So I expected him, you know, to grab hold of it and say: “Wow – this is great!”. That’s what Clinton would have done. He would have said he made it up. And Al would have said he invented it.

That is because at the ned of the day both Tree Boy and Billy Jeff had been on the stage long enough to show they were flexible, AND political realists….

Bark….well he is an idealist

harlekwin15 on August 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Simpson-Bowles, I meant

KateNE on August 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM

OT but from Drudge…shooting at the Family Research Council

http://washingtonexaminer.com/shooting-at-family-research-council-office-in-dc/article/2504989#.UCvJwqllQbI

CW on August 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A security guard for a conservative Christian lobbying group has been shot in the arm.

Police say the shooting happened Wednesday morning at the headquarters of the Family Research Council and that one person has been taken into custody. The FBI is also responding. The motive of the shooting was unclear.

The guard is conscious and breathing.

Flora Duh on August 15, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Bowles must have picked up an infection from Joe Lieberman. The one that suppresses the natural liberal inclination to spin and obfuscate, leaving the sufferer actually capable of telling the truth. Let’s hope it’s a virus capable of airborne distribution.

Freelancer on August 15, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I’ll go out on a limb and say it was the evil congress, right?

Wait, I’m totally wrong and it was PBHO?

huh, go figure.

Can’t wait to see that on this evening’s news.
/

LtGenRob on August 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM

People like to compare the Obama presidency to the Titanic. For you have seen the movie “Titanic”. Do you remember how it was somewhat of an orderly panic until the ship split in half and then everything was out of control until it totally sank? I think we are seeing the Obama presidency split in half. Things are about to get ugly.

behiker on August 15, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Bowles said: “We got to put the politics aside and we got to do what is right. And what is right is to put our fiscal house in order for these kids.”

But Obama and the Children of the Left (and they are children — see OWS, MMM) think that was is right is free-healthcare/food/fuel/housing/education/transportation-for-everybody-yay! No matter what the cost. So we’ll just have to figure out a way to make it all happen after the almighty and benevolent Big Government decrees it so (see Obamacare).

To all you Libbies out there: You deserve the “looney” moniker.

RobertMN on August 15, 2012 at 12:19 PM

I’m really starting to enjoy this!

Naturally Curly on August 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Erskine Bowles should be hearing from the Obama Truth Team about now.

Curtiss on August 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Upcoming “hostage video” from Irksome?

LtGenRob on August 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Clinton was a President. Obama is a tyrant.

Curtiss on August 15, 2012 at 12:07 PM

I wonder if Michael Medved has seen this article. There were so many times I had to turn off his show because I got tired of him saying Obama’s just another politician. He wasn’t and still isnt’. A real politician does what Clinton did, a tyrant does what Obama does. Paging Mr. Medved; are you listening?

Nutstuyu on August 15, 2012 at 12:25 PM

The Obama Administration has no intention whatsover of fixing the deficit problem, just as they have no intention of addressing meaningful financial, energy, business, and social program reforms. It’s wishful thinking to pretend he’s simply an incompetent who’s in over his head. He is implementing the Cloward-Piven strategy almost to a tee.

RobertE on August 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

I was waiting for this. Ohhhh, boy:

Former Obama campaign co-chair to stump for Romney

A former four-term Democratic congressman from Alabama and one time strong supporter of President Barack Obama will campaign for Mitt Romney Wednesday.

A Romney campaign aide confirms to CNN that Artur Davis will stump for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in the battleground state of Virginia.

This is on Drudge. Can’t post the CNN link. They seem to disappear.

Cody1991 on August 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Between this and Obama’s theft of $716B from Medicare for Obamacare features like the contraception mandate (“Medicare Cuts for Sluts”), if we had an honest media, by the end of the two conventions, polling would stand at Romney-Ryan 62, Obama-Biden 38.

BuckeyeSam on August 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I think it’d be constructive to look at the areas where Obama did nothing when he should have acted and contrast them to the unilateral actions he took when he should have done nothing.

The truth of the matter is that he is a talented campaigner but a lousy leader. When he’s campaigning he gets to make empty promises and accusations and then move on. He doesn’t like the grind of politics because he has to talk to people he’d rather not be in the same room as. He rarely talks ‘to’ people…it’s always ‘at’.

CitizenEgg on August 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Smoke. Meet. Mirrors.

UnderstandingisPower on August 15, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Cody1991 on August 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM

I’m glad to hear it, but am not surprised. Mr. Davis found his reason a year or two back and turned “R”.

MJBrutus on August 15, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Erskine Bowles should be hearing from the Obama Truth Team about now.

Curtiss on August 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Upcoming “hostage video” from Irksome?

LtGenRob on August 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I don’t think they can touch Erskine, but…

What lovely grandchildren you have Erskine. You must love them very much.

And so on and so forth.

farsighted on August 15, 2012 at 12:35 PM

The truth of the matter is that he is a talented campaigner but a lousy leader. When he’s campaigning he gets to make empty promises and accusations and then move on.

What’s the definition of a troll again?

Tenwheeler on August 15, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Why didn’t Obama seize that initiative? Clearly, deficit control didn’t interest Obama then, and hasn’t since, either.

This, in a nutshell, is the election of 2012.

HoosierStateofMind on August 15, 2012 at 12:40 PM

What’s the definition of a troll again?

Tenwheeler on August 15, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Heh. Obama as a concern troll…hadn’t thought of it that way, but it fits.

CitizenEgg on August 15, 2012 at 12:42 PM

I respect the guy, but was he really naive enough to think that this budget super committee was anything other than a poltical ploy? I can understand someone agreeing to be a part of it so you can say “We did it, he ignored it”. But to really believe Obama was going to give a damn?

michaelthomas on August 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Plus he was hedging his bet that the economy would soon begin to rebound, completely ignoring the fact that his policies were an impediment to that outcome.

Deano1952 on August 15, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Clearly, deficit control didn’t interest Obama then, and hasn’t since, either.

It’s hard to worry about deficits when you’re even more interested in buying votes. Hey, it’s not like it’s Barry’s money we’re talking about.

GarandFan on August 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Anyone with two brain cells could see this coming once the jerk was elected. How many times do I have to shout out to the libbies and paulturds that occupy my breathing space that Obama hates America. He has purpously wrecked the economy. We tried to tell them before the election. Erskine Bowles and Paul Ryan are telling them now.

skeeterbite on August 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM

michaelthomas on August 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM

My guess is that he was rooting for a deadlock with nothing coming out of the committee and he could just blame them.

MJBrutus on August 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Why didn’t Obama seize that initiative?

Because Obama wants to turn this country into a third world hellhole.

Next question.

SirGawain on August 15, 2012 at 1:14 PM

It was politically naive of Obama. Simpson-Bowles gave him political cover even if he delayed its implementation. Now he is exposed and vulnerable.

John the Libertarian on August 15, 2012 at 1:14 PM

I wonder if Michael Medved has seen this article. There were so many times I had to turn off his show because I got tired of him saying Obama’s just another politician. He wasn’t and still isnt’. A real politician does what Clinton did, a tyrant does what Obama does. Paging Mr. Medved; are you listening?

Nutstuyu on August 15, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Wow, ladies and gentlemen, we found a Medved listener!

SirGawain on August 15, 2012 at 1:18 PM

This is on Drudge. Can’t post the CNN link. They seem to disappear.

Cody1991 on August 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM

CNN is not a reliable news source, so HA blocks links to them.

slickwillie2001 on August 15, 2012 at 1:25 PM

behiker on August 15, 2012 at 12:19 PM

That, is a great analogy. May I steal it?

hawkdriver on August 15, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Never thought I’d live to see the day when the anti-christ of the 90′s Bill Clinton is now a republican hero compared to Obama today.

obsessedinga on August 15, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Q: What do the 2006, 2008, and 2010 elections all have in common?

A: They were each won by the party that was PERCEIVED to be the more Fiscally Conservative party.

============

2006: The Republicans in Congress had been fiscally irresponsible, and Nancy Pelosi painted the Democratic Party as the more fiscally conservative party in her 31 page PDF: A New Direction For America

============

2008: Even though Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, and had created huge deficits in less than two years in power, a large part of the electorate placed the blame (thanks to the MSM) on President Bush and the Republicans. TARP was the straw that broket the camel’s back. People wanted a return to fiscal sanity. Obama talked like a fiscal conservative and promised “CHANGE”. Voters fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.

Once the Democrat[ic Socialist]s took control of the Presidency, larger margins in the House, and a filibuster proof margin in the Senate, Americans saw what the true face of the Democrat[ic Socialist] Party looks like:
Hundreds of Billions of “Stimulus” dollars sent to Friends of Democrats.
Unemployment that rose, not fell, as a result.
Government take-overs of major parts of major industries like automotive, banking, housing, student loans, healthcare, etc.

============

2010: Fiscal conservatives returned to the Republican Party (and are now demanding more fiscal accountability from Republicans) and a massive 749 seats changed from Democrat to Republican at the Federal and State levels across the country.

———–

There may be legitimate debate about how far right of center the country is as a whole when it comes to Social Conservative issues.

But there can be no mistake that when it comes to Fiscal Conservative issues, the country is VERY Right of Center.

The curtain has been pulled back, and the Wizard of Oz O has been revealed. Democrats can no longer pretend to be fiscally conservative.

And I believe it will be at least a decade, if not more, before the country trusts Democrats enough to give them the majority of seats in ANY election.

Here’s what I think will happen in 2012:
Republicans will win the Presidency and the Senate, and keep the House. And if Republicans don’t win a 60 seat majority in the Senate in 2012, they will in 2014.

ITguy on August 15, 2012 at 1:38 PM

hawkdriver on August 15, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Yes, please do so. I’d be honored!

behiker on August 15, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Bowles explains what the obstacle was for Simpson-Bowles plan

Starts with an “O”. Ends with an “A”. And has a big “BAM” in the middle?

besser tot als rot on August 15, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Erskine Bowles at the University of North Carolina

Is this the same excuse Erskine will use on why he couldn’t find cuts in the University of North Carolina System? Tuition and fees keep going up, but they can’t find anywhere to cut.

LoganSix on August 15, 2012 at 2:49 PM

-Why didn’t Obama seize that initiative? Clearly, deficit control didn’t interest Obama then, and hasn’t since, either.

Interest him? he has done the opposite of anyone who was concerned about responsible spending and debt.

There are those of us who believe that he deliberately is trying to take down the nation. So far, everything he’s done could fit into that assumption.

Don L on August 15, 2012 at 2:54 PM