December 16, 2010

"Obama is telling members of Congress that failure to pass the tax-cut legislation could result in the end of his presidency..."

Or so says Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio.

The White House denies it: "The president hasn’t said anything remotely like that and has never spoken with Mr. DeFazio about the issue." Denies even speaking to DeFazio?

There's a discrepancy. Maybe both are lying, but both can't be telling the truth.

The quote from the White House has internal indicia of dishonesty. The spokesman (Tommy Vietor) is asserting, with respect to another person (the President), that things have never happened. Vieter makes 2 extreme statements in rapid succession: 1. "The president hasn’t said anything remotely like that," and 2. The President hasn't even "spoken with DeFazio about the issue." How can a person who cares about the truth make such expansive statements?

That doesn't mean DeFazio is honest. He goes on TV — the Eliot Spitzer show — and portrays Barack Obama as a big drama queen: "The White House is putting on tremendous pressure, making phone calls, the president is making phone calls saying this is the end of his presidency if he doesn't get this bad deal." DeFazio is against the tax deal, and he's trying to sink it by acting like Obama's desperately and selfishly obsessed with his own interest in prestige and reelection.

What's the truth here?
Obama is pleading to save his Presidency, and DeFazio exaggerates to kill the deal.
Obama calls for support are unremarkable. DeFazio is swinging wildly.
Obama is selfish and desperate. DeFazio dares to tell the truth.
Obama hasn't even spoken with Mr. DeFazio about the issue.
  
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53 comments:

AllenS said...

Strange. Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) (from the article). Does DeFazio belong to a political party? Would it be too much to say which one?

traditionalguy said...

That is a ray of hope to start the day with. Thanks DeFazio.

Original Mike said...

Yeah, I had the same problem, Allen. I had to look elsewhere. I guess they figure if you're reading The Hill, you already know.

MayBee said...

Obama made a similar comment about the health care bill(s), no? So DeFazio's charge doesn't seem out of character for O.

DaveW said...

As childish as Obama is this seems entirely plausible. I'm mildly surprised he hasn't said that anyone that opposes the bill is racist. Yet.

Mark said...

If Obama is taking this line, he's foolishly oblivious that for a lot of Democrats this is going to look less like a bug than a feature.

peter hoh said...

Allen and Mike, DeFazio is identified as a Democrat in the first sentence in the article.

HDHouse said...

Honest to God Ann some days i think you have lost your mind.

The White House denies it. No one else is telling the story first hand and you give it the "well could be" crap.

What part of "no" don't you get? Is your urge for red meat to your new readership base that strong?

peter hoh said...

In the article, and on the accompanying video clip, DeFazio doesn't assert that he spoke with Obama or anyone else from the White House.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

"Obama is selfish and desperate" doesn't even begin to scratch the surface.

Roman said...

So much for: "no drama Obama".

Does this mean "His Worship" will abdicate?

Work verification today: chunkho?

Hoosier Daddy said...

The White House denies it. No one else is telling the story first hand and you give it the "well could be" crap.

Good point. It's highly likely that this particular Democrat congressman is lying through his teeth.

Not sure why this is any implication tha the Professor is losing her mind or do you just object that she has the audacity to point out dissention within the Democratic ranks?

Lincolntf said...

Why the option of "Obama never even spoke to him..."?
DeFazio never makes that claim.

When the spokesperson denies they ever spoke, it's most likely because he can't deny the substance of what DeFazio really said.

traditionalguy said...

H D... After the beat downs that Obama has received at polls, he may be trying out the "Poor me, I am the victim here trick." It has worked for Palin. Why fear its use by Obama? DeFazio is wikileaking this secret play. So what.

edutcher said...

Since most people don't believe that small c (or large C) communism still works, it's entirely possible that someone in the Administration heard from somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody that raising taxes in a recession (or even a Depression) is a really bad idea and might just sink the economy for good. So The Zero is finally beginning to understand the Waygu steak will end on 2013 unless these cuts are extended.

HDHouse said...

Honest to God Ann some days i think you have lost your mind.

The White House denies it. No one else is telling the story first hand and you give it the "well could be" crap.


The Zero lie? Gibbs and Company tell an untruth? Of course not!!!!

Just like, "you can keep you plan" and "your medical costs won't go up".

Original Mike said...

Peter - I don't think that was the version I read, but maybe I just missed it.

Ann Althouse said...

"What part of "no" don't you get?"

Please respond specifically to the indicia of unreliability I cited.

I know you're not being sarcastic, because you knee-jerk defend everything even close to Obama. Could you attempt a little subtlety? The indicia of reliability in your statements are terrible.

peter hoh said...

It's a game of telephone.

Obama calls a handful of Representatives. These Representatives paraphrase their conversations when talking with their colleagues, who in turn relate these conversations to other Representatives. Somewhere along the line, we get DeFazio, who puts it into his words, to serve his purposes.

garage mahal said...

In the article, and on the accompanying video clip, DeFazio doesn't assert that he spoke with Obama or anyone else from the White House.

Sssshhhh.

peter hoh said...

Mike, I don;t know what you read, but Althouse's link goes to an article headlined:

Obama tells lawmakers not passing tax deal could end presidency, Dem says

First two lines of the story:

In urging lawmakers to vote for his tax deal, President Obama is using one of his go-to lines from the healthcare debate, according to a Democratic lawmaker.

Obama is telling members of Congress that failure to pass the tax-cut legislation could result in the end of his presidency, Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) said.

TWM said...

Everyone seems to be missing the obvious - his presidency is already at an end and Bill Clinton was there when it happened (symbolically anyway).

Oh yeah, he'll limp along and do no telling how much damage as he does, but he is destined to be the worst president ever. Jimmy Carter might keep the Worst Ex-President title though

Big Mike said...

Speaking of politics, I see that the Wisconsin State Senate has gotten into an interesting situation.

The times, they are a changin'

Scott M said...

@Big Mike

Yes, and the accusation of "whore" was leveled at the guy. I'm sure NOW will be up in arms about it, right? Right?

LarsPorsena said...

"Speaking of politics, I see that the Wisconsin State Senate has gotten into an interesting situation.

The times, they are a changin'"

I saw that too.

I can hardly wait for the reaction of some AA's regulars

peter hoh said...

Mike, is this regarding the state worker contracts? Unless I'm missing something, it hardly seems like something that will get my undies in a bunch.

Big Mike said...

@peter, yes and I don't care whether it gets your undies in a bunch. It suggests to me that at least one Democrat got the message from the last election, and that comes under the heading A Good Thing.

Big Mike said...

@Scott, don't bet on it.

traditionalguy said...

Does Wisconsin also face shutting down State Employee Contracts? The US Government says it faces shutting down itself unless Reid gets his way on Porkulus III. That sounds to me like the kid in college who would threatened his parents that he would drop out and become a bum if they did not agree to some new luxury he had his sights on; or like a suicide threat to kill oneself if one isn't given all demands. Hmmm.

Skyler said...

I'm not following why you think the statements by the white house can't be true?

JAL said...

It is possible the President has not even spoken to DeFazio about this. From what I read DeFazio did not say he did ... he was more describing it in a passive voice ... the President was calling others.

So that is probably true.

It may be the language was not precisely as DeFazio describes.

My experience with certain kinds of personalities is that unless you use precisely the words they have used, they have completely lie detector proof plausible deniablility.

That being said, for the spokesperson to say "The president hasn’t said anything remotely like that" --- I would think that there is no way the spokesperson could make that statement and it be true, as he has no idea what the President has said to everybody he has talked to. Evah.

May be DeFazio is puffing it some, but the WH spokesperson has more fanny to cover.

former law student said...

There is another possibility -- I was thinking along Peter Hoh's lines: Obama is calling Congressmen, who are freely interpreting his message and passing their interpretation along. By the time it got to DeFazio it's way distorted.

former law student said...

The US Government says it faces shutting down itself unless Reid gets his way on Porkulus III.

Next year's Federal budget is not a stimulus package. The 2001 budget was similarly passed in December, 2000, at the height of Bush v. Gore. It contained the poison pill that prohibited the regulation of credit default swaps. (Thanks, Phil Gramm!) But some kind of budget had to have been passed to keep the government running.

peter hoh said...

Sorry, Mike. The "undies in a bunch" part was not directed at you. It was Lars who assumes that this story is going to make some Althouse regulars get upset. I'm having a hard time imagining that lefties or righties are going to have a problem with a Democrat changing his vote on this kind of matter.

Fen said...

/yes I had to look it up:

Indicia
1: distinctive marks, indications
2: postal markings often imprinted on mail or on labels to be affixed to mail

Jay said...

From the Wisconsin state house:

Stunned Democrats stripped Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker of his leadership position after he abruptly turned on them and voted against new contracts for state workers.

The deals looked all but dead after Decker's about-face late Wednesday night. Senate Democrats planned to reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, but they can't approve the contracts without the Weston Democrat's support.

Democrats and union leaders said Decker never hinted he wasn't with them.

Wisconsin State Employees Union executive director Marty Beil lashed out at Decker, calling him "a whore" for siding with Republicans who opposed the contracts.


Ha!

AllenS said...

Reading the first two paragraphs, you have create your own indicia, because there is no distinctive marks, indications that tie the Democrat mentioned in the first paragraph to DeFazio. The first paragraph could mean any Democrat.

Nihimon said...

Defazio never claimed Obama spoke to him directly. And it's easy to imagine another congressman to whom Obama did speak relating to Defazio something very much along the lines of what Defazio then said to Spitzer.

dbp said...

What is suspicious about the White House claims, is that they forcefully deny something that was never claimed: DeFazio never claimed Obama spoke to him, still Vietor says Obama never spoke with DeFazio.

It is the White House spokesman that comes across as being untruthful. If you deny stuff that hasn't been claimed, it seems like you will just deny anything.

Geoff Matthews said...

It could have been the Office of the President, rather than the President, which made the call, and the claim.
In which case, both could be telling the truth.

Jay said...

Good VDH today:

There is little presidential stature left. When Barack Obama addresses Sen. Minority leader “Mike” McConnell or claims the U.S. motto is e pluribus unum rather than “In God We Trust” this is by now a non-news story—not after “57 states” or “corpse-men” or Austrian-speaking Austrians. Proclaiming that at some point individuals have made enough money raises no eyebrows either—not after ‘spread the wealth’, ‘redistributive change’, and claiming that the purpose of capital gains tax hikes was not to increase federal revenue but to ensure “fairness.” If the president were to go on another riff about “fat cat bankers”, limb-lopping surgeons, or Vegas junkets, eyes would roll—in the manner that today’s students start text messaging when their aging 60’s hold-over professors keep ranting about Halliburton. Martha’s Vineyard and Costa del Sol helped see to that.


Obama is already a lame-duck...

Methadras said...

Well then, the answer is simple. Don't pass this steaming pile of shit law. How hard is that?

MadisonMan said...

Re: The WI Senate, I'll be interested to see what happens the next time the party in power changes -- I'll guess in 2 years -- or when a new Gov comes in. Will the party in power, or the outgoing Governor, stop trying to legislate between November and January? (I'm guessing No).

Hoosier Daddy said...

Proclaiming that at some point individuals have made enough money raises no eyebrows either...

You have to wonder at anyone who honestly believes such a thing. I would like to know if anyone after thier annual review and told they were getting a X% raise said to thier boss "Oh no I couldn't possibly...I make enough."

The problem with the Bernie Sanders of the world is that they fail to realize is that the 'rich' can lose it a helluva lot easier than they earned it. Same goes for the rest of us.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If there was ever an argument against the redistribution of wealth at least in terms of being 'fair' consider the number of state lottery winners who quite often, end up in bankruptcy within a few years of receiving thier windfall.

madAsHell said...

This reminds me of Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upvZdVK913I

Christy said...

I have a hard time believing President Obama is capable of imagining the end of his presidency. My first thought was that President Clinton sat him down last week and explained, convincingly, that failure to pass would be the end of his presidency. Thus discombobulating Obama so much that he fumbled the press conference. Then some variation of that presidential discussion got passed around and interpreted. JMHO

Juba Doobai! said...

Obama has a history of saying this sort of stuff. Remember, it's always about Teh O.

Juba Doobai! said...

Gosh, I love it when you throw down the vocab, Althouse! Yum!

Roger J. said...

Pete DeFazio is an interesting guy--tends to be progressive but with a very independent streak--represents one of Oregon's most liberal districts--from what I know of deFazio and the current occupants of the white house, from the president down, I go with deFazio if its an issue of honesty. Dont like deFazio's politics, but if its a question of his word against Obama's its no contest--Obama is a proven liar.

hombre said...

Here in Oregon, rational people know DeFazio as a moonbat, elected by the other moonbats in Eugene, who is best known for proposing the impeachment of CJ Roberts because of Citizens United.

Sixty Grit said...

Did it just end?

Trooper York said...

Hey is Rep. DeFazio related to Laverne?

Sixty Grit said...

Shirley you jest.