President Obama took an hour out of his undoubtedly busy day for a news conference this afternoon in which he once again called on Republicans to stop holding the government hostage. “Let’s lift these threats from our families and our businesses, and let’s get down to work,” he practically begged, although the hour-long appearance sounded more lethargic than spirited or angry. Obama insisted he is willing to talk to House Speaker John Boehner “about anything,” but only once the GOP ends its “threats.”
Our own Jonathan Chait argues, “Obama seems to be placing a lot of faith in the political media’s ability to process complex positions on a wide array of issues,” and encourages the president to simplify. But Obama did deploy a few basic analogies for the issues at hand:
Think about it this way, the American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs. You don’t get a chance to call your bank and say I’m not going to pay my mortgage this month unless you throw in a new car and an Xbox. If you’re in negotiations around buying somebody’s house, you don’t get to say, well, let’s talk about the price I’m going to pay, and if you don’t give the price then I’m going to burn down your house. That’s not how negotiations work. That’s not how it happens in business. That’s not how it happens in private life.
Obama also warned of the “lasting damage” and economic calamities that could result if the debt ceiling is not raised. “To actually permit default,” he said, “according to many CEOs and economists, would be — and I’m quoting here — ‘insane, catastrophic, chaos.’ These are some of the more polite words.”
“I’ve shown myself willing to go more than halfway in these conversations, and if reasonable Republicans want to talk about these things again, I’m ready to head up to the Hill and try,” said Obama. “I’ll even spring for dinner again.”