To the Editor:
During President Barack Obama’s first two years in office, with Congress under Democratic control, he could do what he wanted. He forced through Obamacare and the massive Stimulus Plan with almost no Republican input or support. It seemed inadvisable, considering the significance of the legislation, but he pressed forward.
When the GOP took the House of Representatives in 2010, because of Obama’s “my way or the highway” approach to Obamacare, it appeared that critical issues like exploding deficits, slow economic growth, chronically high unemployment and financially doomed entitlement programs would require bipartisan leadership. But Obama continued in an adversarial campaign mode.
He turned his back on spending cuts and tax reform measures recommended by his own Simpson-Bowles Commission and last summer abandoned a “Grand Bargain” with the House leader, John Boehner, designed to reduce long-term debt and reform entitlement. These actions seemed strange; why would the nation’s leader walk away from exceptional opportunities to solve our country’s biggest problems?
Even after winning a second term, he continues to turn his back on bipartisanship. His Inaugural and State of the Union addresses were declarations of war, not invitations to cooperate.
Recently, after announcing immigration reform was a top priority – and having been told that bipartisan efforts were under way in both the Senate and House to address the issue – he did exactly what he was asked not to do. Both Democrats and Republicans working on this difficult issue warned Obama that his premature involvement could poison the process. But the White House leaked an Obama plan with predictable negative reaction.
Obama has gone out of his way to pick a fight with his political opponents. Attempting to postpone last summer’s debt ceiling crisis, Obama proposed and signed sequestration spending reductions into law. He even threatened to veto efforts to “get rid of those automatic spending cuts.” These cuts were effective Friday, March 1.
The GOP put two alternate plans on the table that Obama rejected. Instead of offering his own cuts, he proposed even more tax increases. He then hypocritically and aggressively attacked Republicans, claiming that they will somehow be responsible for an endless list of reduced government service horrors caused by the plan he designed.
If the president’s goal is making progress on critical issues, he wouldn’t do what he does: lash out at the partners he needs to make progress.
President Obama’s repeated sabotage of cooperation has been a mystery. But his actions are finally starting to make sense. In truth, Obama really doesn’t want to govern. He doesn’t want to compromise to find solutions. The former community organizer wants a constant fight.
Making concessions to develop bipartisan solutions would force Obama off his soap box. It would eliminate his ability to constantly rail against the injustices of his political villains. Solutions would remove the oratorical advantage of scapegoats and straw men. Solutions would force confrontation with reality. Solutions would require governing to build political coalitions. Ultimately, solutions would make Obama accountable for consequences.
Blessed with tremendous communication skills and the support of an efficient political machine, this non-governing approach appears to be working for Obama. Even though he has accomplished almost nothing, he has convinced large numbers of Americans they are victims and that he is constantly fighting for them.
Obama, the perpetual outsider, is free to blame others for the nation’s ills because he hasn’t taken ownership of any solutions. He is aided and abetted by a lapdog media who refuse to apply the scrutiny they would to a Republican president.
It appears President Obama plans to continue his confrontational do-nothing strategy. He is hoping his never-ending campaign will help Democrats retake the House in 2014 and give him cart blanche to enact his core agenda of income redistribution, entitlement expansion and intrusive regulation.
In the meantime, our most challenging national problems are ignored. This is a dangerous gamble by Obama. The problems he is failing to face seriously threaten our economic future.