Stephen Kokx is a ConservativeHome College Columnist winner. He studied Business Administration at Aquinas College and received a MA in Social Justice and Community Development from Loyola University Chicago.
Before assuming office, Barack Obama was labeled the country’s first post-partisan President. There was, of course, no real evidence of this. It was simply inferred by the mainstream media after a dazzling display of oratorical gift on the campaign trail.
And, as expected, in the hopes of proving to voters that he is still seeking the greater good, the President decided to address the nation on Monday about the debt ceiling.
Yet, instead of being honest with the American public and admitting his own party deserves some of the blame – at least, in large part due to the fact that Harry Reid decided not to raise the debt ceiling while Democrats were still in office – or that he voted against a debt ceiling increase in 2006, the President rolled out the usual excuses for our nation’s fiscal crisis. None of which are his own doing, of course.
High unemployment? Not enough taxes on millionaires and billionaires. Record deficits? Blame the Bush tax cuts and two unfunded wars. Why hasn’t there been a compromise? Look no further than the radical Tea Party.
Although the deal between the President and Congress regarding the debt ceiling is yet to be fully written, the President has successfully sidestepped the fact that his “recovery summer” was a bust and that he has put forth no real substantive deficit plan himself – of course, if you consider annual presidential budgets a deficit plan, then Obama has indeed put forth a plan of his own. But it’s one that triples the national debt over the next 10 year and was voted down in the Senate 97-0.
It is this type of duplicitous behavior that prompted Charles Krauthammer to recently say “This is Obama at his most sanctimonious, demagogic, self-righteous and arrogant.” Later pointing out that “the Republicans have offered a detailed plan… [while] the President has offered nothing” and “has never once spoken about real cuts.”
The lack of leadership exhibited by the White House is truly stunning and is starting to hurt the President both in the polls and among his base. Even Senator Bernie Sanders is calling for a primary challenger to the President.
Amidst of all this, however, he may still receive a temporary bump in favorability after a deal is reached. But what next? He still has an entire year left in his Presidency. And with the economy remaining sluggish and his political capital having long been spent, what will one of the most inexperienced Presidents ever seek to accomplish? Instead of fixing the economy, it looks as though he will launch into full on campaign mode.
As Fred Barnes has pointed out in The Weekly Standard, the President has actually been in campaign mode since being elected in 2008:
When a president seeking reelection appears at a party fundraiser or a campaign rally, he plays a partisan role, both as a candidate and as the leader of his party…[B]ut the distinction between the presidential and the partisan in the Obama White House has not simply become fuzzy. It has vanished altogether.
Barnes concludes that:
[T]he line between a president’s official and his partisan roles is not always bright. The roles sometimes come together. But never as they have with President Obama.
Just days ago, the President – in an attempt to shore up his Hispanic base – spoke at the National Council of La Raza. The speech, filled with allusions to the DREAM Act and immigration policy, fell short, though. La Raza President Janet Murguía denounced Obama by saying “we’re not satisfied the president has kept his promise.”
Though Murguia may feel slighted, at least she got to hear Obama admit that “the Democrats and your President are with you.”
It must be nice to hear the truth for once.