With meager resources at our disposal, The Curmudgeonly Punctilio dispatched its cub reporter, Bartholomew Yelverton Spebbington, to cover the White House press conference following the historic defeat of Democrats in the 2014 midterms.
The World’s Most Dangerous Community Organizer’s penchant for arrogance and tone-deafness, prompted us to hire a world-famous sign language interpreter to assist our reporter in covering this story.
Julie Pace of AP began with the question, “You said during this election that while your name wasn’t on the ballot, your policies were. And despite the optimism that you’re expressing here, last night was a devastating night for your party. Given that, do you feel any responsibility to recalibrate your agenda for the next two years, and what changes do you need to make in your White House and in your dealings with Republicans in order to address the concerns that voters expressed with your administration?”
Jeff Mason with Reuters inquired, “In 2010, you called the results of the midterm election a ‘shellacking.’ What do you call this? And can you give us an update on your feelings about the immigration executive order and the result in the aftermath of this election? Does the election affect your plans to release it? Will it still—is it likely to come out before the lame duck session is over? And have you reduced its scope to just a couple million people?
NBC’s Chris Jansing was called on next and her question for TWMDCO was, “I want to follow up on a couple of things, and start with immigration. And are you concerned that if you sign an executive order on immigration before the end of the year, it will scuttle whatever chances there may be for there to be some sort of compromise on the issues that you talked about. And I wonder that given this unhappy electorate, clearly, and they seem to be disappointed with both sides pretty much, why they punish the Democrats more than the Republicans by far?”
The next reporter chosen by The Insufferable Airhorn was Jonathan Karl of ABC. Jon queried, “Mitch McConnell’s been the Republican leader for six years, as long as you’ve been president. But his office tells me that he’s only met with you one-on-one once or twice during that entire six-year period. So I’m wondering, as somebody who came to Washington promising to end the hyper-partisanship that was here long before you became president, but it’s gotten worse since you got here, was it a mistake for you to do so little to develop relationships with Republicans in Congress?”
Going down his prepared list of names to call on, Phil Mattingly of Bloomberg was next up. Phil asked, “Another deadline coming up is on your negotiators by November 24th. Have to figure out if they’re going to reach a deal with Iran on a nuclear area—or nuclear agreement. I’m interested what your current perspective is on how those negotiations are going. Also, if it is your feeling that you have the power to implement any type of agreement that’s reached without any action from Congress. And then also just wanted to quickly touch on the AUMF that you mentioned earlier. Is that going to be more of a codification of the limits that you’ve put in place for the mission up to this point? Or what—what should we be looking for on that when you send it to the Hill?”
TWMDCO: Blah, blah, blah, ba, blah, blah, blah.
Fox News’ Ed Henry opened up the fireworks with, “Thank you, Mr. President. I haven’t heard you—I haven’t heard you say a specific thing during this news conference that you would do differently. You’ve been asked it a few different ways. I understand you’re going to reach out, but you’ve talked about doing that before. It’s almost like you’re doubling down on the same policies and approach you’ve had for six years. And so, my question is, why not pull a page from the Clinton playbook and admit you have to make a much more dramatic shift in course for these last two years?”
“And on ISIS, there was a pretty dramatic setback in the last few days, with it appearing that the Syrian rebels were routed, there are some Gitmo detainees who have rejoined the battlefield, helping ISIS and other terror groups. So my question is, are we winning?”
TWMDCO: Blah-de-blah-de-blah-blah-blah. Let me answer the question.
ED HENRY: (inaudible) your leadership—there’s something about your leadership (inaudible).
TWMDCO: Ed—what I—what I’d like to do is to hear from the Republicans to find out what it is that they would like to see happen. And what I’m committing to is making sure that I am open to working with them on the issues that—where they think that there’s going to be cooperation.
After some verbal gymnastics about Obamacare, Major Garrett of CBS, stirred the pot with this doozy, “Let me go back to immigration. Moments before you walked out here, sir, Mitch McConnell said, and I quote, that ‘if you, in fact, use your executive authority to legalize a certain number of millions of undocumented workers, it would poison the well,’ direct quote, and it would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull.”
“Do you not believe that is the considered opinion of the new Republican majority in the House and the Senate? And do you also not believe what they have said in the aftermath of last night’s results; the verdict rendered by voters should stop you or should prevent you from taking this action because it was a subtext in many of the campaigns?”
“Let me ask you a couple of specifics. Republicans haven’t made a mystery about some of the things they intend to say…
TWMDCO: Do I have to write all these down, Major?
GARRETT: “No, you’re very well familiar with these. These will not be mysteries to you. Keystone XL pipeline, they will send you legislation on that. They will ask you to repeal the medical device tax as a part of a funding mechanism of the Affordable Care Act. And they have said they would like to repatriate some maybe $2 trillion of offshore revenue at the corporate level by reforming the corporate tax code without touching the individual tax code. To use your words, Mr. President, are any of those three lines you cannot cross? And also deal with what you perceive to be Republican attitudes about immigration?”
The final question of the 73-minute exercise in tedium went to Scott Horsley of NPR: “You mentioned that where your policies actually were on the ballot, they often did better than members of your party? Does that signal some shortcoming on your part or on the party’s part in framing this election and communicating to the American people what it is that Democrats stand for?
This is a president who believes that he doesn’t have to heed the verdict of the voters if it goes against him and his allies. With that in mind our cub reporter, in concert with our world-famous sign language interpreter, asked this:
”If you heard the people who voted on Tuesday as well as the two-thirds who chose not to participate, can you please repeat what they said?"
A note from our attorneys: This transcript has been slightly modified to make a point.