Monday, March 9, 2009

New York Times Asks Obama, "Are you a socialist?"

The New York Times released the transcript of an interview in which the reporter asks the president, "Are you a socialist?" Obama appears to have some trouble forming a coherent answer to the pretty straight-forward question.

Q. The first six weeks have given people a glimpse of your spending priorities. Are you a socialist as some people have suggested?

A. You know, let’s take a look at the budget – the answer would be no.

Q. Is there anything wrong with saying yes?

A. Let’s just take a look at what we’ve done. We’ve essentially said that, number one, we’re going to reduce non-defense discretionary spending to the lowest levels in decades. So that part of the budget that doesn’t include entitlements and doesn’t include defense – that we have the most control over – we’re actually setting on a downward trajectory in terms of percentage of G.D.P. So we’re making more tough choices in terms of eliminating programs and cutting back on spending than any administration has done in a very long time. We’re making some very tough choices.

What we have done is in a couple of critical areas that we have put off action for a very long time, decided that now is the time to ask. One is on health care. As you heard in the health care summit yesterday, there is uniform belief that the status quo is broken and if we don’t do anything, we will be in a much worse place, both fiscally as well as in terms of what’s happening to families and businesses than if we did something.

The second area is on energy, which we’ve been talking about for decades. Now, in each of those cases, what we’ve said is, on our watch, we’re going to solve problems that have weakened this economy for a generation. And it’s going to be hard and it’s going to require some costs. But if you look on the revenue side what we’re proposing, what we’re looking at is essentially to go back to the tax rates that existed during the 1990s when, as I recall, rich people were doing very well. In fact everybody was doing very well. We have proposed a cap and trade system, which could create some additional costs, but the vast majority of that we want to give back in the form of tax breaks to the 95 percent of working families.

So if you look at our budget, what you have is a very disciplined, fiscally responsible budget, along with an effort to deal with some very serious problems that have been put off for a very long time. And that I think is exactly what I proposed during the campaign. We are following through on every commitment that we’ve made, and that’s what I think is ultimately going to get our economy back on track.

The fact that this is even a legitimate question that one of the most Obama-friendly question would ask is frightening.

But it makes me wonder if Obama is going to cut off access to the New York Times.

That's what happened when a reporter, Barbara West, from WFTV asked then Vice Presidential hopeful, Joe Biden, "Is Barack Obama a marxist?" and asked if Obama would lead the U.S. to become "a socialist country much like Sweden."

Then campaign's response then was to cut off WFTV from all subsequent interviews. "This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election," wrote Laura K. McGinnis, Central Florida communications director for the Obama campaign.

Somehow I doubt Obama will cut off access for the New York Times like he did with WFTV.

Cutting off the New York Times would be like purposely tripping the last place kid in a Special Olympics footrace.

After all, The Atlantic discussed the demise of the print New York Times by 2010.


  1. Maybe ask him if he's a communist and you would get a more straightforward "yes!"....let's see, we are already talking about silencing the media, slamming anyone who is financially successful in just about every media appearance, and saving our economy with nonexistent funds...will they come from tax dollars or will we print them?

    Let's quit missing the forest for the trees. It is starting to seem like a load of propaganda, at the least.

  2. His whole answer was a lie. He promised to cut back on spending, but he's spent more money (that we don't have yet) than any other administration in history in his first six weeks. He has NOT cut down on discretionary spending - Congress is having a field day granting each other's most desired wish list. Nasty Peelosi is acting like a freakin' fairy godmother!

    As far as his little schpiel about energy, he's going to ruin the country. He wants higher taxes on electricity. He wants higher taxes on gas - remember, he's the one who said $4/gallon gas was GOOD for the country? He wants to bankrupt coal companies. He presents it all as if he's just sticking it to the rich. I'm not sure if he's that stupid or if he thinks WE are that stupid, but when the "rich" who own the companies that provide goods and services to everyone - including the poor - get stuck with higher taxes or outrageous energy prices, they pass it on to the consumer.

    And another thing, he keeps comparing his policies to those of Clinton. His policies are nowhere near the same as Clinton's. I don't remember Clinton taxing people out the wazoo for electricity or gasoline or coal like he's planning on doing. As far as I can tell, his policies resemble those of Chavez or Castro more than Clinton.

  3. Mia, you make several good points about his answer being less-than-truthful. As for the Clinton comparison, I think he wants to be compared to anyone other than the Barack Obama who ran a presidential campaign the last 2 years because this new Barack doesn't resemble the campaign Barack. I would expect that to begin to change as we near the 2010 midterms and the 2012 presidential campaigns start ramping up again.

    Elaine, Obama's administration will be one long campaign for 2012, so this shouldn't surprise us. But I do think the willingness to comply from the media is beginning to show some cracks. One can only hope.

  4. i love how the stump speech comes out mixed with a bunch of gobbledygook to cover up the fact that he's not giving a straight answer.

    the answer should be "hell no, i'm an american. next question." Funny, to think that we have a President who wouldn't ever utter those words.

    Instead what I hear isn't just overly pragmatic like his usual, it's frantic and searching.

    In his answer I hear, "Why are you asking me if i am a socialist? I know that's a bad clearly the answer SHOULD be no, i'm not.....but I haven't gotten the poll data back yet on whether I should BE one?!?! Crap. let me get back to you on that once I check in with my handlers. Meanwhile....BUZZWORDS! Healthcare. Energy. Free lunches for everyone!"

    real assuring mr president.

    but i guess i should stop complaining and get used to it. People wanted a candidate who could fill stadiums and give speeches. and they got it.
    meanwhile the predictions are that this slide of the stock market won't stop until we hit somewhere around 4000. wake up. we can't afford national healthcare.

    sigh. i'm so over it.

  5. Yeah Biden actually handles the question better than Obama did with, "Are you joking?"

    When Obama doesn't know how to answer something he tries to remember the last few sentences he saw on his teleprompter and spits those out.

    With the addition of a few "um"s and "uh"s, of course!