March Madness tips off tonight, and to my knowledge, President Obama has yet to share his 2013 projections with an anxious nation. If our Commander-in-Chief doesn't release his picks before the play-in games begin -- let alone in an ESPN televised special, as in previous years -- it will be the first time in his presidency that he's missed the deadline. His respect for budgetary deadlines, by contrast, has been consistently elastic. Since 1921, every president has been required by law to submit his plan for funding the the federal government no later than the first Monday in February. Various presidents have missed a deadline or two along the way; Obama has bricked 80 percent of his. This year Congress initiated the federal budget process, the first time any president has failed to beat the legislative branch to the punch since the law requiring him to do so was implemented nearly a century ago. Obama's delinquency is unprecedented. House Republicans have produced a web video highlighting the president's misaligned priorities:
The dichotomy is actually pretty forceful in its simplicity:
The president’s history of submitting NCAA brackets:
2009 – On Time
2010 – On Time
2011 – On Time
2012 – On Time
President Obama’s history of submitting budgets:
2009 – Late
2010 – On Time
2011 – Late
2012 – Late
2013 – Late
As a political strategy, Obama's annual bracket hoopla is a master stroke. He's reached low propensity voters, flashed his college basketball acumen, and cemented his cool image. And unlike budgeting, Obama is exceptionally good at picking basketball games. How could casual viewers really dislike a politician with the ability to intelligently break down which mid-major program is most likely to don the glass slipper down the stretch? It's almost enough to make you forget that he's neglecting core governing responsibilities. This year, Obama has not only blown by his statutory budget due date, he's also airballed his subsequent self-imposed one. It now appears that we won't see a FY 2014 presidential budget for at least another three weeks. White House spokesman Jay Carney scolded reporters for worrying their pretty little heads over "the law" and "calendars" last month, urging them to consider "substance over deadlines." The deadline question is already settled. On substance, we have a fairly good idea of what to expect. After all, the White House has already applauded Senate Democrats' pitiful offering, which massively increases taxes, fakes much of its deficit reduction, increases net spending, and never approaches balance. That might sound great to Obama, but even the liberal Washington Post editorial board is aghast:
Partisan in tone and complacent in substance, it scores points against the Republicans and reassures the party’s liberal base — but deepens these senators’ commitment to an unsustainable policy agenda. . . . It is on the issue of entitlements that the Democrats’ document really disappoints. . . In short, this document gives voters no reason to believe that Democrats have a viable plan for — or even a responsible public assessment of — the country’s long-term fiscal predicament.
I'll leave you with a flashback to Townhall's 2011 montage on this subject. Two years later, it all still applies:
Team Frivolous Political Exercise has once again defeated Team Basic Governance in a blowout. Does this even qualify as an upset anymore?
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography