John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Ray’s Hell Burger

Posted on July 29, 2009
Ray’s Hell Burger and the President’s Agenda

Earlier this year, President Obama traveled to a burger joint out in Northern Virginia, a place called Ray’s Hell Burger, to show that he was a man of the people who can eat like the common man.

I have never been to Ray’s, but it seems like a pretty cool place to eat a hamburger. They have a wide variety of interesting takes on the traditional cheeseburger, including one called the Big Punisher, which includes a roasted jalapenos and Cajun spices, the Fat Joe, which includes seared foie gras, the Let’s Get it On, which includes bacon and mushrooms soaked in cognac and sherry, the New Jack Zing, which is a blackened burger and the Soul Burger Number One, which seems to have a little of everything.

President Obama’s legislative agenda reminds me of the menu at Ray’s Hell Burger. It would have been good had the President ordered one of the burgers and been done with it. Plenty for the Congress to chew on, the cost would have been about right, and he could have come back in the next session to order another one.

But the Obama team rushed into Congress with their eyes bigger than their stomachs. Instead of ordering one burger, they ordered their whole menu.

The stimulus, the takeover of General Motors, a plan to reorganize the banking sector, followed by a tough vote on Cap and Trade, and now health care; all of these menu items are too much for the Congress to digest at one time.

The Obama equivalent to the Fat Joe, of course, is the stimulus package. Talk about sending a message that there is no need to worry about fat in the budget! There is not evidence that adding more government fat is a healthy way to grow the economy, but there the Obama Team was, munching furiously on a big fat spending bonanza.

The Big Punisher for the Democrats was the cap and trade vote. The Blue Dogs still have intense indigestion over that vote, and that discomfort is making it harder for Democrats to move on health care reform.

The President may say to the Democrats that it is now time for them to eat the “Let’s Get in On” burger, but it seems that too many of them are not ready to take that next step. They are already full of the Obama spending agenda.

At the end of the day, the Congress can’t digest every thing at once. The President made a big mistake by ordering everything on the menu, and now it looks like his allies on Capitol Hill are going to be left picking up the tab.