So while Obama says the Republicans won't bend, it is he who has not shown any willingness to move on taxes or entitlements. But those aren't the only issues on which he's set in stone. He has now become just as inflexible in resisting any short-term deal. He has said he will not sign a deal that does not raise the debt ceiling enough ($2.4 trillion) to get him past the 2012 election. Obviously, he doesn't want this nagging, inconvenient debt issue and wrangling with Congress to diminish his re-election prospects. Ever the statesman, he is placing his political fortunes above the interests of the nation.
In all honesty, I'm not convinced that Obama is particularly worried about the debt even today. He seems more concerned with high-speed rail, new "green" projects and other programs he and fellow statists believe are good for the people -- even if they don't.
During the Friday presser, he gave a shout-out to his like-minded progressives, telling them they should join him in getting the fiscal house in order because it would allow them to focus on their federal goody bag, "like infrastructure, like rebuilding our roads and our bridges (and) airports, like investing more in college education, like making sure that we're focused on the kinds of research and technology that's going to help us win the future."
In Obama's world, everything centers on the government, not the private sector. It was telling that in his presser, he didn't mention private-sector unemployed, only the government workers who would lose their jobs if the debt ceiling is not increased.
I was initially opposed to a short-term deal, because I thought it would be just another device to kick the can down the road and defer real spending and entitlement reform. But it is clear that given his mindset, this president cannot be entrusted with an increase in the debt ceiling that would empower him to ignore further fiscal reform until after the election.
While we fret over spooking the markets each time a budget deadline approaches, a short-term deal would keep these issues on the front burner until the election, where they need to be. It would keep the ruling class on the hot seat and enforce some degree of discipline.
Through his unreasonableness and dogmatism, Obama has isolated himself and is trying to bully Congress into having everything his way. He is holding the budget deal hostage to his redistributionist demands and his perceived political interests -- anything but addressing the existential threat facing this nation. Pray the congressional leadership can continue to keep the heat on instead of throwing him more rope to fiscally strangle the nation.
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