In the history of mankind, many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state. TR


An Historic Failure of Presidential Leadership

I can hardly find the words to describe what happened at the White House today. But there are always words, and so I must find them.

In an immense and nearly unparalleled – there’s always James Buchanan – abnegation of presidential responsibility, the White House today blithely acknowledged that President Obama did nothing to broker a deal in Congress to reduce the deficit and save the American economy, and it suggested it wasn’t Obama’s responsibility to do so in the future.

The deficit reduction committee represented the best chance to achieve a deficit deal, because the next opportunity will not come before February or so, when we’re in full election mode, and because any agreement reached by the panel would have had special rules attached that would have eased its passage in Congress.

But Obama, it must be clear as the Caribbean to all, is now solely interested in gaining a cudgel with which to whack Republicans next year instead of saving the union. He would rather the panel fail so that he can blame Republicans for something about the dismal economy over which he unhappily presides.

Asked today what Obama had done to spur the committee on, White House press Secretary Jay Carney said he had done a lot. LAST SUMMER.

The President of the United States, as you noted, throughout the summer was engaged directly and personally in extensive negotiations with Congress, with the Speaker of the House, on what would have been a broad and balanced and substantial proposal to reduce our deficit and debts over the long term.

The President, at the beginning of the process, at the beginning of the super committee process, a committee established by an act of Congress, put forward a comprehensive proposal that went well beyond the $1.2 trillion mandated by that act and was a balanced approach to deficit reduction and getting our long-term debt under control. That has been available to the committee since it first started meeting, and is available today, with the waning hours left to it to act, as a road map to how you achieve the kind of balanced approach that Americans demand.

He gave them a road map? Like, a deficit reduction GPS to play with?

Carney continued:

This committee was established by an act of Congress. It was comprised of members of Congress. Instead of pointing fingers and playing the blame game, Congress should act, fulfill its responsibility.

The nation’s future is solely Congress’s responsibility? The president’s responsibility is . . . golf and campaigning?


Now, let me just say that Congress still has it within its capacity to be responsible and act.  As you noted, the sequester doesn’t take effect for a year.  Congress could still act and has plenty of time to act.  And we call on Congress to fulfill its responsibility.

We call on Congress to fulfill its responsibility? Like a mother saying, “I call on my baby to learn to walk.”

Congress will not act, because it will be 2012, and it knows full well the president isn’t serious.

Not only the economy, Carney said, but the health of the military is the responsibility of Congress.

We made no — we made clear that the cuts in the sequester are not the best approach to achieving the kind of deficit reduction that we need, and that the defense cuts are much deeper than we think are wise, as Secretary Panetta and the President and others have made clear — which is why Congress needs to fulfill its responsibility.

And so, on to the real business at hand, bashing Republicans.

In the end, it comes down to a decision by Republicans that they are unwilling to do what the American people say they believe should be done, which is ask the very wealthiest Americans, millionaires and billionaires, to pay a little bit extra so that we can achieve the kind of deficit reduction and long-term debt control that we need. Short of that willingness, it’s hard to see how we get to an answer.

In his remarks this evening, Obama said tepidly that he would be “ready and willing to work with anybody that’s ready to engage in that effort to create a balanced plan for deficit reduction.”

What he’s saying, really, is that Republicans must first cave, and then he’ll work with them. Because otherwise, he would have done so already.

Which means the fragile economy will have to wait a year for Washington to work out an agreement on the deficit, during which time an economic collapse could come at any time.

The president of the United States has decided not fulfill his oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the nation.

Well, he promised change.

53 thoughts on “An Historic Failure of Presidential Leadership”

  1. You nailed it. MrO’s attitude that others didn’t do ‘their’ job isn’t any concern to him and he has no responsiblity to attend to our financial problems.

    The constant drumming for taxing the rich is really curious and must have more importance than I can see. Upping the taxes on those evil millionaires and billionaires won’t make a blip in our debt or add much to our revenues.
    IMO, if I were in Congress, I’d vote to raise those taxes and diffuse the message.

      1. Yes, great article Keith. I agree with you, srdem, I think that ” taxing the rich” is just meant to be a soundbite in the campaign so why not up the taxes of some extremely rich persons ( Kerry, the Kennedys, Soros ) and thus disarm Obama. I read that a group of very wealthy persons signed a list asking to be taxed. I think that whenever somebody raises such demands eager reporters ought to check how willing they have been to pay taxes or use loopholes before. I bet that this is just a political game.

          1. Not sure why the R’s haven’t already raised Rich taxes. They’re only 1% -or so we’re told and it would disarm “President Chance the Gardner.”

  2. Barry the anti-colonialist has always wanted to diminish the military and this was his plan all along to gut it. Once again, McConnell and Beohner were played like a limp dodgeball. So sad that our service members and their families will take the hit on this one.

  3. Funny: during the deal earlier that created all this he was getting in front of cameras saying that if congress didn’t pass a debt deal they would have to explain to him why they didn’t reach a deal. He was clearly trying to establish himself as in charge of the congressional negotiations. Now the administration claims it has no part in congressional negotiations.

  4. Keith, I believe you’ve found the right words for the Failure of what we call “Hope and Change”. i.e. abnegation, blithely, cudgel.
    Well said Mr. Koffler

  5. This so-called President had two options from which to choose, if his sole focus was to be re-elected. He could have chosen to step in, provide leadership and direction, and work with the Super Committee to broker some sort of deal. He would have been widely praised.
    Instead, he chose the path that he obviously finds more politically attractive, destroying any hope for economic recovery along with gutting our military. If anyone needed proof that this clown cares more about ideology than country, here you go.

    1. Whenever I think of Obama, this phrase always comes to mind:

      ”Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”

      The guy is a schemer.

      1. The phrase that comes to my mind is BHO: I want to “fundamentally transform America”. I asked back in 2008, transform it into WHAT? Well, now we know.

        Nothing will convince me away from my belief that BHO has been hell-bent on destroying this country from the very beginning.

        I only hope we survive another year, and I cannot even begin to think if the idea of him being re-elected without getting physically ill.

        1. I’ve seen it posted before and it was true. If he’s done this sort of damage while he’s worried about re-election, just imagine what he’ll do in a second term where re-election is not a concern. Can you say, 3rd world $hit hole….sure you can.

  6. Well said Keith. He is a historic failure. He isn’t the only failure in Washington, D.C. unfortunately. The “super committee” was unconstitutional from the get go and was doomed to fail. The foolish Republican leadership gave up what little control of congress they had by splitting the committee membership between 6 Republicans and 6 Democrats. They are either too clueless or too corrupt to see what most of us already saw…they would never come to a consensus. Anyone who honestly believed John Kerry and his fellow Democrats would sign off on any spending cuts is delusional. All they managed to do was give Obama more ammunition for the campaign trail and doomed this country to another credit downgrade.

    One more thing I’d like to say to Mr. Carney. You have no idea what the American people want or don’t want, so put a sock in it.

  7. This administration continues to amaze me in their denial of responsibility for anything. It is always someone else’s fault or responsibility. They refuse to acknowledge or are truly blind in reading middle America and what we want and are willing to take from Washington.

  8. Please remember that American’s elected a community organizer, who ALWAYS talked about change. He is doing exactly what he has done his whole life, and almost exactly what he said he would. My own concerns about Mr. Obama, come from my past experience with REAL people. Real men and women who are willing to LEAD, sacrifice and who care DEEPLY about America and American’s. not anything like him.
    What burns me to the bone? There are people I know and love who believe him UNCONDITIONALY.
    Where in the private sector is it acceptable to place blame? Where in the private sector, well maybe in a union, can you be the leader/boss/manager and have NO, none, zero accountability.
    And why I am at it. Thank you by the way. Why is the sitting president aloud to campaign? Let me rephrase. Why does any sitting president need to campaign?
    Why not just run for re-election on your, Ahhh never mind.
    Class warfare. Trickle up poverty. 14 mil unemployed. Gas $3.50.
    And the country I love purposely divided by a President who wants it that way. If he didn’t, you would never here him blame anyone, EVER.
    If you are my age 51, or older. Remember what you always heard from your Grandfather, Father or coach about “blamers”?
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May God bless you and those you love.

  9. Anyone notice how Obama is trying to avoid comparisons with the OccuFail movement with this statement today?
    “They continue to insist on protecting $100 billion worth of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans at any cost, even if it means reducing the deficit with deep cuts to things like education and medical research,”

    Looks like Obama doubled the size of his target from 1% to 2%.

  10. Did anyone think the Super Committee would come up with a solution? I didn’t. It was obviously a ploy to get Obama nearer to election time without anything happening.

  11. Just a question: are any of O’s actions (or non-actions for that matter) impeachable offenses? He obviously is not working and doing the job he was elected to do. Breach of contract? negligence? Just wondering. This whole situation reeks to high heaven, and the actions/nonactions of Congress are right up there with his. Is there ANYONE in the government who has the guts to do their job, and to protect the country, whether economically or otherwise, and help America out? I am so disgusted by the DC crowd. No work ever seems to get done, just arguing/bickering/blaming. Can we fire all of them?

  12. Obama is the Anti-American. All these years later I’m still shocked to realize he’s the President. He acts against our interests at every chance he gets.

  13. We have neither a President or First Lady both post are vacant and have
    been since since 2009. One would almost think he wants this country to fail.
    He looks upon this failure, one that nobody expected to work as just another
    means to be elected again. That alone makes him unfit to serve but he’s
    never doing his job anyway. Saddest period when the President seems to
    seek failure.

  14. Well said, Keith! It’s stupifying to me that a.) Obama is still in office; and, b.) that he has the chutzpah to run for a second term. I truly believe he should finish up his first term in a Federal prison for dereliction of duty and mis-appropriation of taxpayer funds!

    I remember one year ago on the eve of mid-terms, he was at a huge rally on the East coast – the one where he went into the maniacal rant. He said to the 20,000 plus audience: ‘DON’T MAKE ME LOOK BAD”! It’s all about HIM – nothong else!

    Anecdotally, I was a guest (emphasis on ‘guest’ – at no time have I ever belonged to the DEM party, lol) at a huge fundraiser for Barbara Boxer in San Francisco last year – Obama was there. I had an opportunity to watch him up close and personal for almost 2 hrs. It was a real eye-opener!!! He is OBSESSED with the cameras! He can spot them a mile away! He will stop in the middle of a conversation and turn his entire body around to pose for a photo – ANYONE with a camera! But here’s the weird thing – he HOLDS the pose for an inordinate amount of time…and the smile is phonier than a $3 dollar bill! He turns it off and on like a light bulb! I never saw anything like it…ever!

    From my perspective and experience in the field of mental health, this is one sick puppy! IMO, he should be evaluated by a team of psychiatrists to determine if he is indeed suffering from a debilitating psychosis, i.e. Megalomania! As far as I know, there is no classification for a POTUS who is obsessed with cameras and photo-ops to the detriment of everything else. This is a black swan event. Obama’s official WH photographer, Pete Sousa, is the hardest working guy in D.C.! Obama NEVER leaves home without him! If there is ever to be a Presidential Library for Obama, it will consist of nothing but millions of photographs, a TOTUS, and an empty suit!

    Obama’s epitaph should read: DON’T MAKE ME LOOK BAD! These five little words perfectly sum up the character, or lack thereof, of this evil little man. God help this country if he gets another 4 years!

  15. Keith,

    I read your article, and at first I wanted to post some pithy bit of snark about Obama, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that how diabolically adroit the man is.

    Dead Fish said it so eloquently, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” But, if that crisis does not grow organically, you need to create it.

    Many Americans, like the Taliban when they were told the majority of US military will be out by the end of 2012, are realizing that the best option is to wait out Obama. His administration is heading to the dustbin of history, and after the election in ’12, the ship of state can be righted and turned back in to its Constitutionally mandated direction.

    If there is no crisis to rally the Obama “troops” and he is left to his own abilities and record he will lose, and, I believe, by a significant margin. BUT, is there is a massive crisis, be it economic, terrorist, or some other manifested crisis, he has the chance of winning. His “Obots,” as they are called, will rally to him like flies to manure, and he will squeak back into office to finish off the country.

    He and his administration have tried to create crisis after crisis in various parts of the nation in order to divide and destroy the foundations of this country. Look at our southern border and the F&F debacle. It was only because a BPA was killed by one of the weapons that BATFE allowed to be sold that Americans are even aware of the illegal activities of the DOJ.

    The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill allowed the administration to illegally shut down all drilling over 500 feet, they were found in contempt of court over their orders. But, it allowed them to cut domestic oil production and forced companies to move their platforms to other locales.

    The OWS et al “movement” was something that Obama praised, even though it has turned into a nightmare of debauchery, drugs, crime and filth. Fortunately, the majority of the OWSers weren’t smart enough to realize that it gets cold in the winter, and while many cities are clearing out the camps, the camps were already clearing out due to the weather. I would look for them to return once the last bit of frost has melted and the crocus are in bloom.

    His repeated, failed attempts at organically creating a crisis by which executive power can be expanded has led to the only thing left, an economic collapse of the US. The expected failure of the “Super Committee” to reach any consensus could and will allow for the crisis Obama needs.

    Look for a resurgent OWS movement in the spring to go hand and glove with any further downgrade in the US credit rating. I would also look for an increase in violence along the southern border, violence that could very well be egged on by a duplicitous DOJ. Add to that the collapse of the EU, the continued rise of extremism in the Mid-East and unilateral action by the Israelis regarding Iran, and you have the perfect storm of crises. A storm that Obama thinks he can ride into a second term.

    While many of us may look at him and his minions as children playing “king of the hill” the man is actually quite adept. I do not put it past him to use the dominoes of disaster to illegally expand the office of the President, and somehow stay in power.

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  17. Agree with all comments. Is anyone surprised? This is the guy who voted “Present.” He certainly is present. Unfortunately. (Reminds me of my former boss: sits in the office and accomplishes nothing.)

  18. What concerns me greatly is the realization that Obama stands a chance in this election at all. Had any one else had the dismal record this gentlemen has had they would be skewered and grilled before our very eyes. But he’s the anti-Bush, the anti-GOP, the anti-(fill in the blank). I have not heard of any leadership from a man holding the position of ‘Leader of the Free World’. Angela Merkle of Germany has more worldwide respect and shown true leadership trying to resolve the mess that the EU has become. Our President, he golfs, vacations, gives the long winded pressers which invariable wind up as the blame game. And don’t forget the Photo Op. Leadership simply is not in his vocabulary.

    If Obama wins in 2012 and the GOP take the House and Senate this country’s chance to rebound and remain a world leader fall of the cliff into the pounding surf of other once great societies. It truly is that simple.

  19. Keith:
    The latest rhetoric aside, even with the sequestered cuts the federal budget & deficit still grows larger. Only in D.C. can decreases in increases be seen as cuts. So here we sit, no budget passed by Congress (thanks to Harry Reid protecting the Dem Senators – it would be “silly” to vote a budget). A balanced budget amendment voted down by House Democrats. The Stimulus money wasted to prop up public sector union jobs (for a year); the auto bail-out price tag getting revised upward; 80% of green loans going to Obama bundlers & insiders; Fast & Furious apparently run by a janitor off a lap top – because nobody knows anything about it; Obamacare tacking off into uncharted commerce clause territory; GPS surveillance of citizens; TSA’s diaper fetish. A government concerned with punishing its enemies (Boeing & Gibson guitars). A lack of leadership isn’t the problem, it’s the unbridled growth of more government that’s the problem. D.C. now surpasses Silicon Valley as the wealthiest place in the country – what has D.C. ever produced to earn such financial lucre?

  20. We all saw this coming…blame the “do nothing congress” and try to remain above the fray. The blame game and the race card….hallmarks of this failed administration.

    1. I saw Romney on Hannity and he seemed fairly level headed, answered the questions, was pleasant and bearable…He was changed or rethought positions–well, I used to vote Dem. I could probably live with it. Sure beats this flea circus.

      1. Yes, I saw that interview also and was pleasantly surprised. I think I could vote for the man in spite of the health plan he left his state with. We’re still a nearly a year out, though and anything can happen, but if he is the nominee, I will work to see that nobody (including my husband) sits this election out.

  21. With the “failure” of the “Supercommittee” (which was designed to fail) – Obama gets a twofer. 1) The whole debt issue is neutralized for the 2012 election. 2) Massive cuts in defense spending are automatically triggered. These cuts will force the U.S. to unilaterally cut our nuclear deterrent, thus furthering Obama’s pipe dream of a “world without nuclear weapons.”

    Liberals and Democrats are ecstatic about defense budget cuts so don’t expect to see any changes.

  22. Keith,
    Every time I read that “the millionaires and billionaires need to pay their fair share” I just want to scream to somebody who has the power, to please expose the truth behind this tired and pathetic mantra. Sen. Kerry. Nancy Pelosi, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Chuck you Schumer, etc.etc.,are more than welcome to pay as much as they deem fair..Even the president himself, so arrogantly said in one of his zillionth appearances, “I should have to pay more taxes” (referring to himself), implying that he is so successful and rich, unlike the rest of us poor stupid people. Well what’s stopping all of you? There is not a law dictating that you must not pay one cent more in taxes than the paperwork says you owe. Hey, set an example for all your billionaire friends…. pay half your worth or more since that seems to be the right thing do in the liberal land. We all know the only reason these hypocrite Dems refuse to discuss tax reform, including loopholes, is that they know that would ruin their little scam of knowing how to beat the system, allowing them to pay virtually nothing in taxes…but their useful idiots don’t know this little secret. No, these super rich Dems get away with preaching that the rich should pay their “fair share” because their followers believe their leaders are practicing what they preach. .

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