Remember the saying that “the more things change, the more they stay the same”? It appears the president had it in mind on Thursday morning, when Barack Obama held a press conference in which he said: “All of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio.”
It's interesting to note that back on Jan. 23, 2009, the new Democratic occupant of the White House admonished the Republicans in Congress: “You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.”
On Thursday, the president took advantage of the government reopening and the temporary solution to the debt-ceiling crisis to demand that members of Congress move away from one “manufactured crisis” to another.
“Let’s be clear,” Obama said. “There are no winners” regarding the shutdown of 17 percent of the federal government for 16 days and the partial response to the approaching deadline to raise the debt ceiling.
“We don’t know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst believe it slowed our growth,” the president said of the shutdown, which he claimed had diminished consumer spending, new home buying and the hiring of new workers.
Some members of Congress who pushed for the shutdown said “they were doing it to save the American economy,” he stated, “but nothing has done more to undermine our economy these past three years” than the constant barrage of crises.
All my friends in Congress understand that how business is done in this town has to change because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people, and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust.
“All of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio, and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do -- and that is grow this economy.” Obama continued.
He also stated that the rhetoric between members of both the Democratic Party and the GOP has been getting worse every year, and the president asked that members of Congress focus on points of agreement as part of a “balanced approach” to the process of preparing the federal budget.
Obama then attacked the Republicans, though not by name:
Had one side not decided to pursue a strategy of brinkmanship, each side could have gotten together and figured out how do we shape a budget that provides certainty to businesses and people who rely on government?
As NewsBusters reported on Jan. 24, 2009, Obama told the Republicans in Congress during a Friday meeting that they should “go along and get along, and stop listening to Rush Limbaugh.”
Obama's tactic amused Brian Maloney, talk-radio guru for the Radio Equalizer website, who said:
Beyond the absurdity of a Democrat barking orders at his political opposition, he's especially foolish to air his fear of Limbaugh and talk radio in a public setting. Now, what was long suspected by conservatives has been verified by the man himself.
Limbaugh quickly responded to Obama's comment, noting:
One prong of the Great Unifier's plan is to isolate elected Republicans from their voters and supporters by making the argument about me and not about his plan.
“If I can be made to serve as a distraction,” Limbaugh continued, “then there is that much less time debating the merits of the trillion-dollar debacle” of Obama's “stimulus” program.
He then stated:
Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at re-establishing "eternal" power for the Democrat Party rather than stimulating the economy because anyone with a brain knows this is NOT how you stimulate the economy.
While Limbaugh didn't refer to Obama's new remarks during his Thursday afternoon program, a number of bloggers quickly responded to the president.
@RBPundit asked: “Obama slammed bloggers? About what?” @BiasedGirl replied: “Free speech mostly.”
“Hats off to the bloggers Obama called out in his speech today,” @SuzanneSF posted. “Blog on, y'all!”
The situation got even nastier because Obama said: “You don’t like a particular policy, or a particular president, then argue for your position and win an election."
Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com had a sarcastic comeback: “Didn't you know Obama won the only election held in the United States? He's dictator now, so shut up, Congress.”
Obama went into office in 2009 pledging to “change the way things are done in Washington.” Since that hasn't happened in nearly five years, how can we believe “the Great Unifier” now that he got almost everything he wanted out of the government shutdown while refusing to negotiate?
Limbaugh will certainly respond to Obama's comment, so check back here on NewsBusters for an update when he does.