Then, to Obama. “This president — he’s extremely bright, he’s extremely able, he’s somebody who I think certainly understands the issues, asks the right questions and I think has the right instincts about what needs to be done for the country.”
Next came the “but” — without a name but with a clear message. “You have to engage in the process. This is a town where it’s not enough to feel you’ve got the right answer. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves … listening to other people, figuring out what they need … that’s what governing is all about.”
The idea that the President can simply carry out an agenda and leave the “renegades” (to use a Maoist term) behind isn’t the way our system was intended to run. It’s more reminiscent of a parliamentary system, but our Founding Fathers didn’t set that up. Our system, to work properly, requires a lot of horse trading. When that doesn’t happen, things get ugly.
So, since Barack Obama doesn’t think that his Republican opponents are worth the time of day, he needs to move more decisively. After all, this is still a country that values action, albeit not as much as before.
First, the debt ceiling crisis is entirely artificial. He has the authority under the Fourteenth Amendment to do what he has to do to preserve the credit worthiness of the United States. He’s playing political games when he needs to show that he’s somewhat worthy of the adulation his supporters have showered on him. (There’s no way he can make a complete proof of that, given the impossible hype he’s received over the years).
Second, he can probably end the government shut-down by stating that, since Congress authorised all the programs, agencies, etc., then things must continue until same Congress gets around to repealing a few things. (And, to be honest, an “all repeal” session would be an excellent thing for this over-regulated Republic).
But he, being the person he is, would rather cast himself as a victim of others than to step up and do what he ostensibly wants to do. In a sense such decisiveness defeats the purpose of his party and his idea, a conundrum which has bedevilled the left and the Democrats for a long time.
If he did either or both of the above, I have no doubt that the Republicans would start impeachment proceedings. But I don’t think they have the votes to make it stick, any more than back in 1998.
So, Barack Obama needs to understand that, if you want to be Caesar, you must cross the Rubicon. If he did, we would then know a lot about what he’s made of–and his opponents as well.
Go ahead, make our day.