Sunday, August 7, 2011

What Does "A Failure of Leadership" Mean in August 2011?

In the aftermath of President Obama's capitulation to a debt ceiling deal that did not include tax hikes, he is being widely criticized for a failure of leadership. That makes me wonder what effective presidential leadership is supposed to look like when a divided congress disagrees fundamentally about the right approach on, well everything.

What does a solid independent middle bloc of Americans support when it comes to bringing our deficit under control?
• Reforming SS and medicare to include things like means testing? Yup.
• Closing corporate tax loopholes while lowering the rates, to broaden the tax base? Yup.
• Making serious attempts to cut discretionary spending broadly by level funding at federal agencies across the board?  Yup.
• Saving money on the big military budget by winding down our commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq while also making cuts and consolidations in all service branches? Yup?
• Ending the tax break for top bracket income earning and restoring the previous top bracket rate? Yup.
OK. Add up all those positions. Who has supported most of them. Congressional Republicans? Congressional Democrats? Or Obama? Noiw, if you believe that OBama has failed yo lead, describe to me the Oval Office Critter that could, in this climate, forge a legitmate consensus? because I can't envision it.

This is not a crisis of leadership. This is a crisis of inflexible, cowardly, politically self-interested followers. There are good reasons why there's no such thing as a successful cat herder. Obama tried anyway, because he is in the very small group of national politicians who BOTH has the entire nation's interests at heart and understands that politics is the art of the possible. Until we have a congress that gets the latter, the DC farce of 2011 will endure.

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