Well, it’s now official: "Hope and change" has become “eat your peas.” President Barack Obama’s petulant, partisan performance Monday night completed his evolution from the transcendent figure of 2008 to “my way or the highway.”
He pledged to veto any deficit reduction plan that didn’t raise taxes. This from the same president who agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts while Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.
The news that the Congressional Budget Office found John Boehner’s proposed deficit reduction plan yielded $150 billion less in savings than earlier estimates is just the latest setback in achieving a debt-ceiling deal.
Boehner has gone back to the drawing board, and most likely will come up with the additional savings to pass his plan in the House, which would then presumably be the basis of negotiation with the Harry Reid plan in the Senate.
The Wall Street Journal
has urged Republicans to support Boehner’s plan as the best way out of a bad situation — cutting spending and avoiding default.
But tea party freshmen are being dragged kicking and screaming to what they believe is a wholly insufficient response by Washington to a fiscal crisis. They are right, of course. But defaulting on our nation’s debt could do great damage to financial markets in an already fragile economy.
Republicans are painfully learning what they discovered in 1995-1996 after they took the House and Senate under Bill Clinton: The presidency is an enormously consequential office. All the high legislative hopes of the Gingrich brigades initially met with Clinton’s veto pen: tax cuts, the budget, welfare reform, the ban on partial birth abortion.
Clinton ultimately agreed to welfare reform and signed a budget only after a government shutdown that badly damaged the GOP. Without Obama’s signature, nothing the GOP House passes becomes law, and so default looms. This is Civics 101.
The Democrats also discovered this under Bush 43. They controlled Congress, but Bush refused to sign any tax increase, so the budgets passed by Pelosi and Reid didn’t include new taxes and didn’t begin the runaway spending spree until Obama took office.
The biggest failure of leadership has been Obama. He promised to hold unemployment below 8 percent; it is now 9.2 percent. He pledged to restore the American dream for many who had lost hope; today, 45 million Americans are on food stamps. So much for hope and change.
He pledged to eliminate waste in the federal government. Instead, he’s piled up 3.7 TRILLION in debt since he took office. His budget failed in a Senate controlled by his own party 0-97.
He had agreement on the outlines of a potential deal with Speaker Boehner last week and then blew it up when he insisted at the final hour that $400 billion in new taxes be added beyond the $800 billion in closed loopholes and tax reform already agreed upon.
Obama owns the economy. The only remaining question is who owns default if it were to happen. One hopes it can be avoided.
The painful reality is we will see no solution to the fiscal crisis facing America until Barack Obama is replaced by a new president who will sign the legislation that conservatives in Congress pass.
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