Darn that economy. Why won't it behave? Doesn't it realize that Barack Obama has more important things to do than worry about its health and well-being?
That's the tone I get from a story headline at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, about how "ECONOMIC JITTERS COMPETE WITH OBAMA AGENDA." The poor guy; he has to pay attention to something he must have thought he could keep at bay with continued but consistent tepid job and economic growth. Trouble is, yesterday's report from the government indicated that the economy contracted at an annualized rate of 0.1% during the fourth quarter of last year. The underlying writeup by the AP's Jim Kuhnhenn also treats the economy as an annoying distraction or possibly even a threat to his gun contral and immigration de facto amnesty efforts (bolds are mine):
Just as President Barack Obama is pushing new initiatives on gun control and immigration, the gloomy old problem of a sluggish economy is elbowing its way back into prominence. Consumer confidence is falling, the economy is contracting and large automatic spending cuts are threatening to hit the Pentagon and other programs, with uncertain consequences.
These troubles arise as Obama's public approval is improving and as he begins to use his sway to promote the key features of his second-term agenda. The White House, the Federal Reserve and independent economists attributed the shrinkage in gross domestic product and the drop in consumer confidence to one-time events and said underlying economic factors were still showing encouraging signs.
But in politics, power resides in the moment. Any immediate economic setback - or the perception of one - could weaken Obama's clout or at least distract him as he carefully tries to put his imprint on initiatives dealing with immigration and gun violence.
At the White House, there was no evidence of a course alteration. And White House officials expressed confidence in consumption and investment trends that showed evidence of strength.
... the White House insists the only alternative to those cuts is a mix of savings and new tax revenue. Republicans say the $600 billion in revenue they already gave Obama as part of the New Year's fiscal cliff deal is enough. They insist that if he wants different spending cuts than those due to start on March 1, he should submit a new plan. (The nerve of them. -- Ed.)
Obama has vowed to use his bully pulpit to build public support for his new agenda. Defending his economic stewardship was not supposed to be part of the playbook.
Where's the world's smallest violin when you need it?
Well, at least Kuhnhenn revealed something the press has mostly concealed since the fiscal cliff negotiations a month ago, namely that Obama and Congressional Democrats aren't done trying to raise taxes.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.