If Americans who tuned in to President Obama's televised address Monday night were hoping for a breakthrough in the budget crisis, they were sorely disappointed.
What we got instead was a political campaign speech, aimed at the Democrats' diehard political base, rehashing his tax increase proposals for the umpteenth time as the only way to break the debt-ceiling impasse that has pushed our fragile economy to the edge of another recession.
No olive branch proposal was extended to conservatives who control the House and exert de facto control in the Senate. Instead, his speech repeated the same tiresome, class warfare rhetoric he has used in numerous negotiating sessions, press conferences and White House statements.
As the House and Senate battles over two competing plans to break the deadlock, Obama is still desperately clinging to his job-killing plan to raise taxes on corporations, businesses and upper-income taxpayers.
Even some of his most ardent defenders were shocked by the transparently partisan campaign speech at a time that cried out for bold leadership, dangerously close to the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling deadline that could trigger global repercussions.
"The president should not have gone on national television to give a political address," veteran Democratic point man Chris Matthews complained Monday night on MSNBC.
What we have here, in the words of a famous line from a movie, is "a failure to communicate," or at least, in Obama's case, a failure to accept that he lost the tax battle last year when he extended the Bush tax cuts for another two years. If anything has come out of this titanic struggle to stop runaway spending, lower the deficits and reduce a mountain of debt, it is that Obama and the Democrats are not going to do it by raising the country's tax burden -- especially in a weak economy that is getting progressively weaker.
Is Obama, or are his ivory tower speechwriters, at all familiar with the Republican and Democrat proposals that are now facing votes in Congress?
Neither call for raising taxes. Nor do they immediately demand entitlement benefit cuts, turning that job over to a special 12-member House and Senate committee to come up with a bipartisan plan to reform Social Security and Medicare that can pass Congress in December.
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