There is always a tendency to blame the person at the top for every problem in an organization whether it is the corporate world or a government agency. It is natural for human beings to find fault with a single person because they have one target instead of many; especially when the “many” represent members of your own fraternity. The debt ceiling crisis and proposed deal between Democrats, Republicans, and the White House is a perfect example where the professional left and many liberal individuals are busy hurling accusations and insults at President Obama for averting a catastrophic default on America’s debt.
Before any critic starts in, the proposed spending cuts and debt ceiling increase is not good and will not solve the problem of increased revenue. Now that is out of the way, the appropriate question is; just what was President Obama supposed to do? Although the deal is less than ideal, it averts a disaster of epic proportions that would cripple this nation’s economy to the point that America may well have never recovered. However, that is not really the issue, but since the nay-sayers are throwing words like sellout and President Obama caves again, it is worth a brief perusal of exactly who is at fault.
There seems to be a twisted notion of the powers many on the left think the president has and to be honest, it reeks of teabagger logic. The Constitution is very specific in describing the nature of our government and it says in Article I, Section 7, clause 1 that “all bills relating to revenue, generally tax bills, must originate in the House of Representatives.” Now that may seem unfair, unreasonable, and astonishing to many on the far left, but the Constitution’s framers decided that was how the government was going to operate well over 200 years ago. It is not a Republican plot and definitely not ideal in the current political landscape, but it is the law of the land and like it or not, it is all there is.
For any American, either on the left or the right, to lay blame for the deal on the president alone is misplaced and frankly; childish. In 2009 there was a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, and it took a Herculean effort for President Obama to get support for health care reform. It was expected he would face opposition from Republicans, but the near deal-breakers were members of his own party and it took arm twisting and cajoling to get the votes to pass the law. In fact, from the minute President Obama took office it seemed there were always a couple of conservative Democrats standing in the way of true change and it was enough to give Republicans veto power in the form of filibusters and obstructionist tactics. But the blame does not lie solely with Congressional Democrats because they acted according to their constituencies and the special interest groups whose sometimes unreasonable expectations derailed a unified front from Democrats. The public option is one example where special interest groups nearly upset the administration’s efforts at passing health care reform.
There were groups that put pressure on a few Democratic legislators to withhold support for the health law unless a public option was included in the deal. If a public option were included from the start of the health care reform debate, a couple of conservative Democrats would have withheld support and the bill would have never left committee. There was not any way for the president to have the entire Democratic caucus’s support whether he included a public option or did not include it. If he did include it, conservative Democrats and the health insurance industry would have withheld support and there would be no health law. The resulting Affordable Health Act may not be the ideal, but once fully implemented, it will provide affordable health insurance for 30-40 million Americans who are without any healthcare coverage. So would it have been better for the bill to die in committee or not get passed at all? For the 30-40 million Americans who will final have health insurance coverage, there was no option but the one that was eventually signed into law.
This column is not long enough and the author does not have the patience to enumerate every remarkable achievement that President Obama has reached through political wrangling within his own party, not to mention obstructionist Republicans. The president has never had the overwhelming support of his party and there is plenty of blame to go around, but it is time to call the far-left crybabies to task for their part in where we are now. From the health care debate to present day, there has been a steady chorus of detractors and malcontents who have been instrumental in diluting the president’s power. If the ideologues on the left had given Congressional Democrats unwavering support for President Obama’s agenda from the start, the country may not be in the situation we find ourselves today.
During the lead up to the 2010 midterm elections, there was an incessant drone of calls to withhold support for all Democratic candidates and there were plenty of faux-left pundits who actually told their followers to stay home and not vote at all. Good idea morons. Every lost Democratic vote made it easier for teabaggers and Republicans to win their elections and since the 112th Congress has been in session, all Americans are paying for whiny liberals who were punishing President Obama for not waving his magic scepter and granting their fantasies. It did not matter if it was anything the president had the Constitutional authority to do or not, he has taken the blame for Congress’s actions at every turn. Look, just because President Obama didn’t give all lefties a unicorn and cotton-candy for life doesn’t mean he is caving or selling out. Now, the president is catching hell for not raising the debt ceiling on his own even though he did not have that authority. If a deal were not reached he could invoke the 14th Amendment, but it appears a deal was reached so the necessity for bringing the 14th into play is gone.
The only silver lining to this less-than-ideal agreement is that across America, Republicans and Independents alike are livid with Republicans and teabaggers. The president had no options and most Americans understand that Republicans were holding America’s economic stability hostage to protect the wealthy. In poll after poll, Americans overwhelmingly supported raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations and they know the president was bringing those tax increases to the table and Republicans refused to follow the will of the people. Earlier in the year, polling also showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans wanted the Congress and White House to compromise to move the economy forward and the president has been at the forefront of those efforts. The American people know exactly who has not compromised and not followed their wishes and they will punish the GOP and teabaggers at the ballot box in 2012. Even staunch conservative pundits have decried the Republican’s lack of compromise. Americans will not forget which party is responsible for the mess, and pragmatic Americans will not forget the far-left’s unwavering support for Republicans and teabaggers.