Sunday, March 1, 2009

Award: Best Question Dodging

I give Rahm Emanuel the award of the day: Politician Showing the Most Skill at Evading a Question.

Emanuel appeared on Face the Nation this morning. Bob Schieffer's first question out of the gate was whether or not Obama would sign the Omnibus bill that came out of Congress this week - the one with almost 9,000 earmarks. Schieffer said:

"The Senate is going to act on that bill this week, will send it to the president for his signature. It looks like most of those earmarks are going to stay in.

Is the president going to sign this bill?"

That's a pretty clear question, I think. Emanual never answered yes or no. He said that Obama has already passed two bills without earmarks. Then he spent a few minutes talking about why transparency is important, which, while true, did not answer the question of whether or not Obama would sign the bill.

Schieffer pressed the issue through a couple of more questions before finally pinning Rahm down to this:

"But it sounds to me like what you’re -- what he’s about to do, here, is say, well I don’t like this but I’m going to go ahead and sign it, but I’m going to warn you, don’t ever do it again. Is that what’s about to happen here?

EMANUEL: In not so many words, yes."

Schieffer then moved on to the issue of the budget and the tax cuts.

"SCHIEFFER: What the Republicans also say, it raises taxes on everybody. I think everybody expected that taxes on upper-income people were going to go up. Barack Obama said during the campaign that that’s what he planned to do. But Newt Gingrich and some of the other Republicans say when people find out that when you’re talking about these things you’re talking about on the energy front, it’s going to be a new tax on everybody that uses electricity, who drives a car, and there’s going to be tax increases in myriad other ways."

Emanuel talked around that question as well, basically calling this "scare tactics." But he did not deny that these policies would make things like energy costs much more expensive. Emanuel pointed out that taxes would not go up for two more years "when we are out of this recession." I'm not sure this recession arrived with an expiration date, but Emanuel seems to know when it will end. He went on to say

"So there will be these scare tactics of trying to talk about the fact that everybody is going to see increases. And the president couldn’t have been clearer Tuesday night that working, middle-class families will get a tax cut.

In addition to that, more and more will get assistance so they can go to college in a society and a time economically where you earn what you learn, we’re going to help more people go to college and have the most educated workforce."

But that tax cut, that $13 a week, is not what Schieffer asked. He asked about the energy cuts. And where does this "get assistance" thing come in? Schieffer didn't ask about college; is Rahm saying we'll HAVE to have assistance to send kids to college now because our other cost of living costs will be so high? What's the connection?

Schieffer then pressed the issue, abandoning the energy question and asking about the elimination of charitable contributions deduction. Rahm's response? Reagan did it.

Rahm Emanuel isn't doing anything different than any politician does - the double-speak, I mean. The evasive responses. They all do it.

I wish we had politicians that were honest and just answered the tough questions rather than dancing all around them. As voters and American citizens we should demand that!

No comments: