Republicans in the House should take Charles Krauthammer’s advice; immediately pass a short term debt ceiling increase and a dollar for dollar set of cuts in the neighborhood of $500 billion. Buy five months to engage a more serious set of proposals absent a looming deadline. Put the final decision to “avoid Armageddon” firmly on the Senate and the President. Do it now!!! It’s not perfect, it’s not even desirable but as Republicans seem incapable of coming up with proper messaging or the ability to unify the caucus, buying time is a reasonable option. The President agreed in his press conference saying that “running out of time” was his major concern.
Senator McConnell is, unfortunately correct, a permanent solution to spending and debt will not occur during an Obama Presidency nor will it occur in the context of a Democrat controlled Senate. Fault finding has descended to the rhetorical level you’d expect in a 2nd Grade schoolyard argument. Fact is both parties have participated in this spending and debt debacle; however a solution that includes both parties is clearly not in the cards at the moment.
We cannot ignore the facts surrounding the current hissy fit. The President’s budget proposal not only maintained spending, debt and deficit levels but increased them. Democrats and Republicans alike in the Senate rejected the President’s plan. If he’s the “adult in the room” and he submitted what he believed to be an “adult budget” we’ve got serious problems with the definition of adult. Democrats have not passed or approved a budget proposal in two years; “adult” approach?
The Ryan Budget proposal, the only serious budget proposal we’ve seen in two years, is “economic terrorism” according to opponents who did not even engage the attempt at a budget proposal. The President’s Debt Commission proposals have been praised even by those who did not vote to approve the final report. The typical response being “there are good ideas in the Commissions work”; they were ignored by the President who empowered the commission. Adult in the room you say?
When “economic Armageddon” is trumped by a demand that the timing associated with a solution clear the way for the President’s re-election campaign doubt is cast on motivation. For some reason, lately, every time I hear him say “the American people” what I hear is “my re-election”.
One point of Presidential consistency prevails; public opinion matters not. 76% of Americans (CBS poll) do not want the debt ceiling raised. The President dismisses the numbers and by extension the people; “people aren’t paying attention to the ins and outs”. Gallup disagrees; their polling of folks paying “very close attention” says that 53% are against a debt ceiling increase. So far major policy initiatives by the President have paid no heed to public opinion and there is little to argue he will engage an epiphany; American people indeed! The President, today, wants it both ways; he praised the common sense of the American People as a source of his hope and optimism, but continues to ignore the opinions that are the result of that common sense.
Another point of Presidential consistency based on today’s press conference; it’s Bush’s fault. Enough already! Having passed a series of ideologically based legislation and generated an avalanche of ideologically based regulation the President castigated ideologically based political positions. Enough already! Again, facts; 30% of the current long term deficit has occurred in just the past two and a half years.
The President says he has “reams of paper and spreadsheets on his desk”, he contends that “we know how to make a big deal”. Great Mr. President, make a proposal, do it in public. There has been no public proposal from the President or his Democratic colleagues. Enough already! In an intellectually honest world criticism is followed by an alternative.
Seriously, enough already