Gregg Easterbrook writes a weekly column for Reuters.com. The views expressed are his own.
Speaking at the White House today, President Barack Obama said, “The federal budget has become an accounting swindle little different from Enron. We are showering money on interest groups while passing unconscionable levels of debt to future generations. I apologize for my role in this: I have talked fiscal responsibility while borrowing to spend without restraint. Social Security benefits simply are going to have to be cut – it’s the only way out of the mess both parties have made of Washington. The time has come to state this honestly.”
Speaking on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader John Boehner apologized for his fist-shaking speech calling the health care bill a “disgrace” that represents “the last straw for the American people.” Boehner said, “My behavior has been petty partisanship at its worst. The country cannot move forward when lawmakers like me act like spoiled children. I’ve been encouraging destructive politics and I was wrong.”
Also speaking on Capitol Hill, prominent Democratic representative Barney Frank expressed contrition for calling opponents of the health care bill “clowns.” Frank said, “I am no-one to talk, considering how many billions of dollars my mistakes about Fannie Mae have cost the country. Rather than ridicule political rivals, people like me should be seeking common ground. I’ve been engaging in gutter politics and I was wrong.”
Speaking in Texas, former Vice President Dick Cheney said, “For me to question the patriotism and honesty of Barack Obama’s government has been completely wrong. Imagine how angry I would have become if former officials from the administration before mine had said about me and President George W. Bush the sorts of things I am now saying about the current administration. I’ve been a horse’s rear end, and I apologize.”