We are in the midst of a national crisis that makes gun violence inconsequential by comparison, no matter how tragic or heart-rending the consequences. The over $16 trillion national debt is a catastrophe so massive that it will sink this country as surely as the dialogue over controlling firearms will be used to distract us from what lawmakers and our president are failing to do: deal with spending and the federal deficit as they face another debt ceiling showdown.
The Obama leadership strategy when the Democratic agenda is threatened is to resort to threats, blame, and recrimination. Leaders with experience and vision know how to bridge gaps and negotiate favorable outcomes. Making your case by laying blame and misrepresenting the truth only gets you so far. The real lie of Obama leadership is the utter rejection of the bipartisanship our president talks about whenever he wants something. Mr. Obama has fomented an absolute division between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, creating a collapse of partisanship so destructive that our nation’s progress has ground to a halt.
Is Illinois Obama’s model for fixing the national debt and slashing the federal deficit?
Like Governor Pat Quinn’s inability to negotiate a fix for public pensions because his party believes that ruining Illinois and political longevity go hand in hand (see: Say No to Illinois Debt and Politics: Leave While You Can), President Obama seems to believe that pushing spending cuts into the future will give his deficit-widening fiscal policy a chance to work its magic. He got the tax hikes he pushed for, but still doesn’t want to talk about spending cuts serious enough to put a sizeable dent in the federal deficit.
Is there no plan in place to deal with the enormity of the national debt? Have the president’s speechwriters decided that fabrication is the best strategy, or is the White House convinced that Americans are so taken with Barack Obama that they don’t notice his appalling failure of leadership?
Is leadership by falsehood the Obama solution?
Americans have a bad habit. When they put their faith in a politician they tend to believe what they think they hear. Still, one wonders how anyone can believe the nonsense coming from the Oval Office. Does the Obama leadership style render our president incapable of telling the truth to his supporters about what he has done to their incomes?
The president threatened us with a New Year’s tax increase in lieu of congressional action:
In 10 days, under current law, tax rates are scheduled to rise on most Americans. And even though Democrats and Republicans are arguing about whether those rates should go up for the wealthiest individuals, all of us — every single one of us — agrees that tax rates shouldn’t go up for the other 98 percent of Americans, which includes 97 percent of small businesses.¹
Congress acted, and ten days later everyone got a tax increase that hit the middle class harder than the president’s 2% (see: Great Reasons to Hit Middle Income America With Tax Increases).
Whining to the American people is not presidential leadership, either.
When debt ceiling negotiations went bad in 2011, the president went to the American people to whine about partisanship and the Republican Speaker of the House:
I just got a call about a half hour ago from Speaker Boehner who indicated that he was going to be walking away from the negotiations that we’ve been engaged in here at the White House for a big deficit reduction and debt reduction package.²
If there had been a big plan for reducing the federal deficit that did not involve raising tax revenue, Republicans would have been all in. We are still waiting for that national debt and deficit plan and remain confused why raising taxes and revenue are necessary to cut spending.
The president was jubilant at the start of the New Year about successfully raising taxes on the wealthy and saving the middle class:
For the first time in two decades, we raised taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans in a bipartisan way, while preventing a middle-class tax hike that could have thrown our economy back into recession.³
We won’t waste time exploring the falsehood in that remark. The party line is still being repeated after Social Security payroll taxes went up. Instead, we can ponder how long falsehoods, deferred decisions, and divisive partisanship can pass for leadership.
The president has voiced his concern about John Boehner’s leadership skills, asking:
And so then the question becomes, where’s the leadership?4
We have asked the same question of Mr. Obama since 2009.
Obama leadership vs. real leadership.
Real leadership brings opposing sides together. Obama leadership has created a collapse of partisanship in Congress that is irreconcilable.
Real leadership speaks to a higher vision. Obama leadership speaks to falsehoods and the politics of the gutter brought to Washington from Illinois.
Obama leadership is a falsehood in itself. There is no such thing. Not only do we have the absence of leadership in the White House, we have no leader.