In 2011, the Obama Administration created the idea of sequestration, which it brought to Congress and subsequently signed into law. Last year, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the 2011 debt ceiling discussions consisted of America’s economy being “held hostage…to the whims of an ideological agenda.”
Ignoring the irony in Carney’s statement – President Obama’s addiction to overspending is heavily ideological; Beltway-driven addiction is why the debt ceiling continues to go up. Compounding the problem, the use of incendiary language by this Administration to cow opposition has become routine. Joining many media pundits in the gutter, senior advisor Dan Pfieffer told Jake Tapper that the President is “not negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest.”
“Hostage” is defined as “a person taken by force to secure the taker’s demands,” and “terrorism” is defined as “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” Clearly, the Obama Administration considers any changes to public policy as taking hostages and engaging in terrorism.
Or not. From Thursday’s White House Press Briefing, after Carney said the President refused to pay “ransom to any party in Congress”:
[ABC’s Jon Karl] The President — in this agreement, is there a little bit of ransom paid? I mean, there is a provision in here that requires verification for recipients of subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
MR. CARNEY: The income verification provision to which you refer was negotiated by Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans and is a modest adjustment to the existing Affordable Care Act law. We have always said we are willing to make improvements and adjustments to the law. Ransom would be a wholly different thing and –
[Karl] Well, it’s a little bit of ransom because it’s something that was done with a gun on the table or the atomic bomb or –
MR. CARNEY: No, not if both sides agree to it and we support it. We’re fine with it.
This White House has quite the reputation for changing its mind on a whim, but this particular switch by Carney is beyond the limits of civilized rhetoric. Last year, the 2011 negotiations as presented by the White House were the result of political standoffs. Just days ago, any effort to link the Continuing Resolution or debt ceiling to any public policy changes were terrorist acts. Now, because the White House supports income verification – even though it unilaterally delayed its own regulations enforcing this provision over the summer – everyone is getting along.
Let’s hope whiplash is covered under Obamacare.