The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

"Sacrificing Left and Right"

I missed president Obama’s press conference. Probably because it took place during the 2.5 hours of family time we have (including dinner) before the kids go to bed, and because afterwards I was either too busy catching up on reading and/or writing, or too tired to remember to turn it on. (To give you an idea how busy, it took a full 24 hours or more to get from the idea for this post to actually writing it.)

Thankfully, the blogosphere brought me up to speed this morning, so I know what I missed. And, thanks to Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, I know I missed a moment that would surely have had me yelling, “Are you kidding me!?” at the television screen.

The strangest question from President Obama’s press conference last night came by way of NBC News’ Chuck Todd. Twelve hours later, I’m still not sure what he was thinking.

“Some have compared this financial crisis to a war, and in times of war, past presidents have called for some form of sacrifice. […]

“Why, given this new era of responsibility that you’re asking for, why haven’t you asked for something specific that the public should be sacrificing to participate in this economic recovery?”

When the president responded by pointing all of the many ways in which Americans are alreadysacrificing in the midst of an economic crisis, Todd wasn’t satisfied. In a follow up, the NBC White House correspondent asked why Obama has called on “specific” sacrifices from Americans. And again, the president explained, “[T]he American people are making a host of sacrifices in their individual lives.”

The transcript doesn’t quite do it justice, though. Let’s go to video. shall we?


And there you have reason #1,674,395 why I could never be president of the United States. Because my initial response to that question would be, “You’re kidding me, right?” That would be my external response. My internal response would be “What the fuck is the matter with you?”

I know of no other appropriate response to anyone who doesn’t know, or has managed not to know, how many different ways Americans are sacrificing in this economy, in ways both large and small.

That’s just a sampling of American “sacrifice,” culled from headlines going all the way back to January 2009. A more comprehensive complication would require reaching all the way back into 2008 and possibly 2007.

And, yes, to be fair, the rich have sacrificed too. Millionaires have seen their assets shrink, leaving them pretty pissed off at their financial advisors. Even Forbes’ “rich list” reveals the world has lost a few hundred billionaires. Even the guy at the top of the new heap, Bill Gates, is worth a mere $40 billion, down $18 billion. And Warren Buffet, number two on the “rich list” is down $25 billion, to just $37 billion.

So, sacrifices have been made all around, though the sacrifices listed above were made by people without hundreds of billions to fall back on. Plus they were made even in the midst of a bank bailout costing over $4 trillion, and bonuses paid to 80% of Wall Street.

Oh, and one more thing.


Like I said. I can’t think of a more appropriate response than “Are you fucking kidding me? But that’s one of many, many, many reasons why Obama is president and I’m not.

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