Last night I listened to Barack Obama beg right-wing fanatics to accept his proposed solution to the debt ceiling standoff. He may as well have said, “Come on guys, I’m giving away the store plus all the land around the store.”
If Obama were a leader, he’d be fighting to create jobs programs, not proposing to make life more difficult for the poor in return for Republican cooperation on the debt ceiling, which has been raised dozens of times under previous administrations. I thought of how far the Democratic Party has strayed from the simple principle spelled out by Franklin Roosevelt:
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
Obama’s speech was almost as noxious as the response to it from the double-talking hack John Boehner. Obama said Americans “are fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word.” Not true. What Americans are fed up with is a president who can’t tell, or pretends he can’t tell, the difference between compromise and surrender.
At some point last night Obama apparently got behind Harry Reid’s alternative plan for raising the debt ceiling. However, his spin doctors didn’t mention the Reid plan contains no provisions for raising revenue and is, in some respects, as much a cave-in as what Obama proposed prior to it.
Obama likes Reid’s plan because it would get him through the 2012 election without another fight over debt, and would delay but not prevent the cuts to the Big Three — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — that Obama was ready to make before Reid stepped in. Congressional Dems like the Reid plan because it would allow them to say they didn’t break their promise of no cuts to the Big Three. But this is a dodge — sooner or later they must choose between policies that generate more revenue or cutting back on the bedrock programs of the Democratic Party.
All in all, more proof that politicians who belong to a party headed by a jellyfish are unlikely to get their backs up in defense of the people they were elected to serve. They’d rather swim away from controversy until a leader with more spine comes along.