Obama and the debt ceiling
I was gobsmacked by this quote in a POLITICO story about Obama’s walkout from a debt ceiling negotiation:
On exiting the room, Obama said that “this confirms the totality of what the American people already believe” about Washington, according to a Democratic official familiar with the negotiations, and that officials are “too focused on positioning and political posturing” to make difficult choices.
That line could be the summary of the Obama presidency to this point. Think Afghanistan for instance. Remember this:
The withdrawal has created deep divisions in Washington. The defence secretary, Robert Gates, argued for a modest reduction – at one point as low as 2,000 – citing the advice of US commanders in Afghanistan that they need to protect gains made during the winter against the Taliban.
But senior White House staff, conscious that the president has an election to fight next year, argued in favour of a reduction that would send a signal to the US public that an end to the war is in sight.
The “difficult choice” would have been to keep the troops in place and reinforce the success they’ve been having. Instead, we got the “positioning and political posturing” decision made to hopefully enhance Obama’s re-election chances.
Certainly, there is political posturing going on all over the place by both parties, but when the GOP actually sticks to its guns (no new tax increases) while playing hardball, how does that “confirms the totality of what the American people already believe?” I don’t think he understands which side of that statement he’s actually on.
Ed Morrissey makes another point:
One of the easiest ways to identify an amateurish negotiator is the issuance of obviously empty threats. Yesterday, Barack Obama issued one of the emptiest political threat in modern American history when he stomped out of the debt-ceiling negotiations yesterday in a fit of pique:
“Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people with this.”
Really? Then Obama will be in for a very rude awakening when he finally meets the American people:
The people have been taking it to Barack Obama since the midterm elections. Maybe he should do less stomping and a lot more listening.
But listening isn’t one of his forte’s. Instead he likes to play games like this. I’m sure some sycophant will soon call what he did “gutsy”. Bottom line, the GOP has to hope he actually follows thorough on his threat because he is obviously not at all tuned into the American people who, as the links point out, have been stating their opinion for quite some time.
Obviously Obama thinks he can pull his campaign trail wool over the American public’s eyes one more time. But my reading is that public is in no mood for his oratorical mendacity. The swooning crowds of yore are no more. For 2 plus years Americans have been able to watch and assess this guy based on his actions, not his words. And if the “generic Republican” poll is any indication, they’re wanting change as badly now as they did when Obama was swept into office.
So – hang tough GOP, the polls say the American people are with you. Don’t fall for the political theater and cave to non-existent pressure. He’s the one the with problem. Make sure you remember that.