Obamateurism of the Day

I actually hit this one yesterday, but it bears adding to the OOTD canon. After losing a midterm election on spending and having to deal with a hostile House over a budget his own party failed to pass while holding complete power in DC, one might think that Barack Obama would want to look engaged in the spending debate.  Instead, it took John Boehner’s public criticism of Obama as disinterested in dealing with the budget crisis just to get any contact from the President on the issue.  And what form did that take?  A phone callafter Boehner and the House had scheduled a vote on a 14-day continuing resolution:


Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested Tuesday that a lack of White House engagement on a stopgap federal spending bill is preventing Congress from extending government funding for more than two weeks. …

Aides to the Speaker said Boehner met Monday night with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to discuss the short-term spending measure, and a source confirmed that Boehner rebuffed a proposal from Reid for a 30-day extension. “The White House hasn’t been engaged,” a Boehner aide said.

That finally got Obama’s attention:

President Barack Obama telephoned Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday to talk about budget issues, White House spokesman JayCarney said, and they had “a good phone call.”

In a new development, even Obama’s own Democratic colleagues are wondering when the President will stop voting “present” on the budget, including Harry Reid:

Democratic senators are frustrated with the low-profile President Barack Obama has kept during the rancorous spending debate dominating Capitol Hill, urging him Tuesday to take an assertive role or risk strengthening the Republicans’ hand in the next round of negotiations.

“Well, I think they should be involved more, and I think they will be,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday, when asked about the White House.

At a closed-door session on the budget, nine Democratic senators spent parts of the 30-minute meeting whacking the White House for not being more engaged, according to people who were present.


As I wrote yesterday, the timing showed the commitment of the President in dealing with one of the highest priorities of the electorate in last year’s elections:

So merely 120 days after the midterm elections handed Boehner the majority in Congress, 152 days after the FY2011 budget was due, and 56 days since the 112th Session of the House of Representatives began, Obama found some time in his schedule to talk to the Speaker of the House about the budget.  That’s what I call leadership.

Actually, that’s what I call phoning it in.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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