[Senators] have to lead, because this president is too weak, too cautious, too beholden to politics over policy to lead. In this budget, in his refusal to do anything concrete to tackle the looming entitlement debt, in his failure to address the generational injustice, in his blithe indifference to the increasing danger of default, he has betrayed those of us who took him to be a serious president prepared to put the good of the country before his short term political interests. Like his State of the Union, this budget is good short term politics but such a massive pile of fiscal bullshit it makes it perfectly clear that Obama is kicking this vital issue down the road.
To all those under 30 who worked so hard to get this man elected, know this: he just screwed you over. He thinks you’re fools. Either the US will go into default because of Obama’s cowardice, or you will be paying far far more for far far less because this president has no courage when it counts. He let you down. On the critical issue of America’s fiscal crisis, he represents no hope and no change. Just the same old Washington politics he once promised to end.
That’s Andrew Sullivan, formerly Obama fan numero uno in the blogosphere, now coping for the second time in eight years with crushing disappointment from a president he ardently supported. Ed’s already written a bunch about the budget today so I won’t belabor it, but have a look at Andrew Stiles’s bullet-point list of the lowlights if you missed it. $26.3 trillion in new debt — repeat, new debt — alone over the next decade. Says Jake Tapper, summing things up in a single harrowing line, “At no point in the president’s 10-year projection would the U.S. government spend less than it’s taking in.”
I’m preaching to the choir but let’s make sure we all understand the magnitude of what we’re seeing here: On the seminal issue of his time, the long-term fiscal sustainability of the United States, this guy has completely abdicated. In fact, I’m tempted to say that this, not ObamaCare, will be the cornerstone of his legacy, but that’s really a false choice. They’re two sides of the same coin: He has a policy agenda but we don’t have the money to pay for it, and so one or the other must yield. Guess which one he thinks it should be. Remember too that O once famously said he’d rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-termer. Today’s budget exposes that canard for the total fraud that it is. He could have dealt with Social Security and Medicare here but seniors won’t stand for that, and, well, there’s an election coming up and we all know how high turnout is among seniors…
It is, as Yuval Levin says, “an appalling failure of leadership,” one which forces the GOP to lead on entitlements. Think they have the guts to do it? I don’t, and evidently neither does NRO’s Dan Foster. Read his post in full, please, because I keep seeing conservatives high-fiving over last week’s tea-party insurrection in the House over budget cuts and I can’t understand why. It’s a cosmetic win. It means next to nothing. But here’s the difference between Obama and the GOP: Even though there’s an election next year, congressional Republicans would, I think, be willing to tackle entitlements if Obama went all-in with them, simply because they’ve invested so much of their brand in fiscal responsibility to woo tea partiers that they couldn’t risk walking away. They need some bipartisan cover on it, though; they can’t make enemies of seniors all alone right before a presidential contest. The linchpin, then, is Obama. He could provide that bipartisan cover by making an impassioned push to deal with this issue now, together, and would probably impress a lot of independents in the process. But seniors’ reaction would be unpredictable and his base would despise him for trimming the “social safety net” instead of propping it up with more Monopoly money, so he’s walking away to get elected. Devastating. Thanks to Breitbart for the clip.