Via RCP, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Who needs false piety from the White House at this point? One of the hallmarks of O’s approach to policy is sticking to his agenda even when major events try to intrude. That’s why he’s had to pivot to jobs 75 times in the past five years: It may be the public’s top priority but it’s sufficiently second-tier to him that he tends to return to it only when he’s momentarily finished with another, more important concern. He passed the stimulus in 2009, then spent more than a year pushing ObamaCare through even though the public was still frantic for economic help. Four years and a Republican House majority later, he’s still paying the price. He and Chuck Schumer decided that his second term was ripe for a big immigration push, even though the persistently weak recovery and the damage being done by O-Care to full-time employment make this a … sub-optimal time economically to sell amnesty. Even when he’s been opportunistic in shifting priorities due to an unforeseen crisis, it’s right in line with the left’s evergreen policy wishlist. He probably wouldn’t have pursued gun control to start his second term if not for Sandy Hook, but once that happened, the liberal dream of new federal gun regs seemed less quixotic than it normally is. Thus it came to be that a guy who got reelected running as a champion of middle-class economic interests decided to crap a few months away mumbling about background checks.
I think this is also why he seems less perturbed accepting Putin’s sham “compromise” on Syria than the rest of America. Ridding Assad of his WMD was never on his agenda; it was something he stumbled into with his “red line” comment and then felt obliged to stand firm-ish on to keep up appearances. All things considered, he’d much rather be talking about amnesty or assault weapons or whatever. When Assad embarrassed him with a major gas attack, he thought briefly of following through with a strike but then probably realized that if he did something, Syria would eat up even more of his agenda than it already had. So he went to Congress to stall, and then when that didn’t work out, he took Putin’s dumb deal. Look at it this way: How much does the guy really care if he’s out on the links at a moment when his staff was frantically dialing members of Congress on the Hill to round up support before the big Syria vote? He had an agenda — golfing — and no big vote on Assad’s WMD was going to interrupt that. Likewise, he had an agenda today — beating up on Republicans over the financial crisis — and no mass shooting was going to interrupt that. Be thankful he finally decided (just within the past few hours) to cancel the big Latin music festival at the White House tonight. I’m sure it wasn’t done without some reluctance.
Exit quotation via Weasel Zippers:
REPORTER: Very quickly — and I think Ed alluded to this, but I just want to be clear — was there any consideration by the White House, given that there was an active manhunt, like, four miles away, to cancel today’s economic remarks?
MR. CARNEY: No.