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As I write this column, the partial government shutdown is still dragging on and the deadline to raise the federal debt ceiling is looming. Subscribers receive the Bedford Bulletin by mail on Thursday, so, by the time you read this Congress will have either reached an agreement or the United States will be on the brink of sailing into uncharted waters — a first-ever default on our sovereign debt.
While there is plenty of blame to go around, I believe the buck stops on President Barack Obama’s desk. Throughout this mess President Obama has failed to provide any leadership. He’s done nothing but run his mouth, about the only thing he seems to be good at doing.
Part of the problem is that Barack Obama in an inflexible, left-wing ideologue. He constantly demonstrated that characteristic throughout his first term in office. To him, the idea of compromise is that Republicans do all the compromising while he doesn’t budge an inch. This is why ObamaCare passed on a party-line vote when “Democrats” could do that because they controlled both houses of Congress. It’s also the reason why Republicans get criticized for not offering any healthcare reform alternatives. They didn’t offer any because they weren’t given any chance to do so. The only choice they were given was to get on the “Democrats’” bandwagon, or vote against ObamaCare. They chose to let the “Democrats” own this monstrosity.
Another of President Obama’s problems is that he was out of his depth when he was elected president in 2008. He had no executive experience and a very brief stint in the Illinois’ state senate followed by another very brief stint in the United States Senate. He’s never had executive experience, either. President Ronald Reagan was a two-term governor of California before he was elected president. He was able to deal effectively with a Congress in which Democrats controlled both houses. Ronald Reagan was willing to compromise. He would stake out a position and then engage in horse trading with Congress. Barack Obama won’t do this, and I doubt that he even knows how.
I think President Obama is also in a badly weakened position. His administration has been rocked by scandals over the last 12 months. His handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack, and his administration’s efforts to try to convince us all that it wasn’t an Islamic terrorist attack because the Great and Mighty Obama had already defeated al Qaeda. There was the scandal over the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups. Finally, there was the scandal over the extent to which President Obama’s NSA is spying on all of us. He can’t blame it on Bush because he has been president since 2009 the NSA operates under the executive branch.
Most recently there was the debacle over President Obama’s redline concerning Basher Assad’s use of poison gas on his own people. President Obama was unable to rally international support for his proposal to launch limited missile strikes. Then, he tried to involve Congress only to discover that most of Congress, including members of his own party, would probably have rejected his request for authorization to use military force.
This is a weak, wounded president who doesn’t have the strength to lead, even if he knew how. He certainly doesn’t have the political capital to be able to stand up to the left-wing extremists that dominate his party.
I suspect that some sort of resolution will be achieved before we actually default on our sovereign debt. And I think there could be a positive side to this whole mess. The political brawling could continue, because President Obama doesn’t have the strength to stop this and that could leave most of his second term left-wing agenda dead in the water, limiting the harm he can do before we are finally rid of him in 2017.
That would be good indeed!