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I’d been rooting for Barack Obama to crib this line of Ronald Reagan‘s, delivered at the 1984 Gridiron Dinner in response to a campaign led by Pete Peterson and Alice Rivlin to reduce the deficit, to brush off Peterson’s considerably more highly-capitalized/intellectually dishonest billion dollar campaign to do the same today. Times change, of course, and today a much richer Pete Peterson has pledged to plunk a billion (untaxed) dollars into pursuing deficit reduction via such counterintuitive means as cutting taxes for Pete Peterson and plutocrats like him. And as times have changed, so has the willingness of American presidents to display their readiness to “compromise with” or put another way “allow the country to be fiscally ass-raped by” plutocrats like Pete Peterson, and so the above quotation, as appropriate as it might seem to this particular moment in history, no longer really works for me. Because back in 1984, the president could still joke about big shit like the deficit with the air of someone who was in “control” of things, in part because the regulatory infrastructure and the tax regime and the threat of social upheaval and communist revolution were all still sufficiently robust that even an airhead like Reagan could front like he was Dick Cheney.Obama is so far from being in that kind of control that the deficit would be cracking the same joke about him, if he weren’t so fucking skinny.