Speaker of the House John Boehner basically nailed President Obama’s entire character as President in a quote earlier today:
“Dealing with them the last couple months has been like dealing with Jell-o,” Boehner said. “Some days it’s firmer than others. Sometimes it’s like they’ve left it out over night.”
This is how Mr. Obama has run his presidency from the day of the inauguration. And in fact, he has not done this only with Republicans. Obama never really took a stand with Congressional Democrats on the stimulus or on the health care program either. He simply let deals ‘congeal’ around him, and then jumped on board at the very end.
That worked relatively well when he was dealing with Democrats, for the simple reason that they had largely overlapping basic principles when discussing policy. However, when you are dealing with the other side, that makes for an impossible bargaining environment…as Speaker Boehner is learning.
Boehner has spent the last day or so finally pushing for the White House to put out its own recommendations for the debt ceiling agreement.
I think it is time for the president to put his plan on the table. Let the American people see just what the president is proposing. You can’t go out there and talk about some $4-trillion agreement to substantially change the fiscal situation here in Washington without any facts.
They, of course, won’t do this, mainly because they don’t have a clue what their ideal plan would be. More importantly, Obama wants all the credit and none of the responsibility for whatever is eventually produced. His entire political strategy is to blame others for the failures of his administration.
This is ultimately what you get when you have someone with no executive experience in the Oval Office. It is one thing to work in a group, such as Congress. It is a wholly different matter to stake your position by yourself as leader of the nation. The successful Presidents of our time, including Reagan, Clinton, and Bush had a plan for all to see well before the debate commenced. Obama has been just the opposite, shying away from the limelight at every turn.
This was a major impetus for Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell to propose his emergency plan on the debt ceiling. McConnell has said he will not accept a ‘smoke and mirrors’ deal, and thus would rather lay the entire mess at the President’s feet than take responsibility for it. I have my reservations about the plan, and conservative voices have fallen in both for and against the plan in vigorous debates in the blogosphere. However, it goes to show that Republicans no longer have any trust in this President, and don’t feel the ability to honestly broker any kind of deal that isn’t written in stone.
So we are left now with the decision making of “President Jello”. Will he wiggle or jiggle? No one knows. Obama has not shown the ability to stand firm however, and usually capitulates in the face of steadfastness. Whether Republicans have the backbone to stand up to him, and take the beating that will surely occur in the mainstream press until a deal is done, is at best uncertain.
I guess the real question for conservatives is less to do with what the President is made of, than what the Republicans are made of. It is time to see.