One thing seemed foremost in Barack Obama's mind during his speech to the nation Monday night: How can I work this whole crisis to my electoral advantage?
As others have noted, he used the term "balanced approach" seven times. It was clearly a re-election speech aimed at winning back wayward independents who are abandoning this president in droves for his failed policies.
"Obviously," The Washington Post's Andrew Malcolm writes about the transparent "balanced approach" refrain, the president's handlers "have been polling phrases for use in this ongoing debt duel, which is more about 2012 now than 2011."
For those of us concerned about the direction and future of this nation, it was sickening.
For Washington politics, it was either irrelevant or counterproductive: Well before the president spent nearly 20 minutes waging class warfare and pressing for higher taxes on national television Monday night, Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill had pretty much agreed to raise the federal debt limit without raising taxes.
The message seemed to be "You can't do this without me and my vespers to higher taxes!"
It seems punishing "millionaires and billionaires" -- oddly enough, starting with those earning $250,000 or more -- is more important to this president than averting a debt crisis or stabilizing and then growing the economy. Why would anyone be surprised? He said as a candidate that he'd raise tax rates even if they brought in less money.
Ironically, in desperately seeking relevance Monday night, the president helped set his own feet in quick-dry irrelevance.