Ordinarily, I'd have difficulty grasping the magnitude of arrogance driving President Barack Obama in budget negotiations that could determine the survival of our nation, but after several painful years of observation, I've come to expect it from him.
Obama's personality type does not well handle opposition, so when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor refused to budge on Obama's unreasonable demand that the GOP agree to raise taxes during these economic hard times, which would not raise revenues, Obama blew up and "stormed out of the room."
Cantor suggested that the parties opt for a short-term deal to avert the debt ceiling deadline, but Obama adamantly refused. "Enough is enough," said Obama. "I've reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this."
Why is it acceptable for Obama to be overtly uncompromising but express outrage that his GOP opposition is unyielding? It's as if he's saying, "How dare you be as intransigent as I'm being."
Obama also warned Cantor, "Don't call my bluff." Notice all the I's and my's in Obama's threatening language. Did anyone ever tell this narcissistic man "no" before he became president?
He acts as though the United States is his personal chattel to do with as he pleases, and no one (including members of the co-equal legislative branch) and nothing (including the Constitution) dare get in his way. He masquerades as a mere bystander in all this instead of the primary mover in accelerating this financial catastrophe and the primary obstructer of the reforms necessary to avert it.
Such petulance isn't Obama's only unbecoming conduct concerning these negotiations. He recently attempted to horrify seniors that their Social Security payments would be withheld if Republicans didn't compromise.
Obama knows better than that. Reaching the debt ceiling wouldn't prevent the government from spending money, only from spending more than it takes in, which means it could decide which payments to honor and which to forgo. There are plenty of expenditures less urgent than benefits to seniors. But Obama chooses to scare seniors anyway.
This same principle applies to Obama's refusal to exercise calming presidential leadership at Wednesday's announcement by Moody's that the government's credit rating is under review for a potential downgrade. Moody's said the ongoing debt limit stalemate increases the risk of the government's default on its debt.
But that is clearly untrue, and a president fulfilling his fiduciary duty to the nation would say so in unambiguous terms. What is true is that if we don't radically reduce our overall spending and structurally reform our entitlement programs at some point in the near future, we will be unable to honor our obligations.
But it is the exploding national debt that is the enemy, not the debt ceiling, without which there's no telling how much worse off we'd already be.
Obama should have immediately assured Moody's and the rest of the world that no matter what happens in these negotiations, the United States will honor its debts. But just as he does with seniors, he prefers to ruthlessly leverage international fear as a negotiating weapon in his mission to remake America.
I repeat: It is past time that Republicans take the gloves off and man their offensive battle stations. Obama's constant assumption of the offense and the Republicans' deferential defensive positioning create the illusion that Obama has more power than Congress and that he is not mainly culpable in the events giving rise to this impasse.
Whether or not he accepts this reality, Obama owns this economy and the alarming explosion of the debt in recent years. He is the one whose reckless policies have greatly exacerbated our dire financial condition. He is the one whose unconscionably wasteful and irresponsible economic policies have tanked the economy and suppressed employment.
He is the one who, along with his party, has not presented a budget in 800 days. He is the one who formed a bipartisan deficit commission and then ignored its findings. He is the one who hasn't presented a concrete budgetary plan. He is the one who refuses to reform entitlements despite objective evidence that if we don't, the nation will go belly up. Yet he is the one who is pointing all the fingers of blame against the Republicans as if they were the culprits.
Republicans, choose your spokesman (Rep. Paul Ryan would be a good choice), and call daily pressers to make your case instead of always ceding that turf to Obama. In charge of the purse, you have every bit as much right to speak out on fiscal matters as does Obama. Then begin passing your reform bills over and over again, forcing the Democratic Senate and Obama to reject them.
It's time that the president and party who are creating the mess were put back on their heels and exposed for their wanton fiscal destruction.