On this weekend’s broadcast of the syndicated TV show “Inside Washington,” former Newsweek editor Evan Thomas, now a contributor to Politico, took on President Barack Obama for not being more vocal about the importance of reaching an agreement on the fiscal cliff.
“This is not Congress’ fault,” Thomas said. “Congress is behaving like Congress. This is the president’s fault. The president needs to go to the country and explain why they need to get this done. He has never done that.”
Washington Post columnist Colby King countered that Congress put the fiscal cliff deadline in place.
“We’re in different universes,” King rebutted. “I’ve heard him talk about it over and over about why we shouldn’t go over the fiscal cliff. It is the Congress’ fault. The Congress created this fiscal cliff. It was the Congress that conceived of this idea of making January 1 D-Day. No one else imposed this on them. This is a self-imposed problem.”
However, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer was more inclined to agree with Thomas on that point, arguing the president could do more.
“The president has never gone to the nation and made a serious speech about debt,” Krauthammer said. “He ignored it the first two years. He appoints a commission that he studiously ignores for the next two years. That’s why we’re at the cliff now. He’s not serious about the debt — none of his proposals. You raise the taxes on the rich, it’s eight cents on the dollar on the deficit. It reduces it a trivial amount of money and he’s never put any political capital in entitlement reform or tax reform. Oh, we’ll talk about it here and there — never invested any capital in it.”
Thomas later reiterated his point by saying the aftermath of the election is a time for the president to spend his political capital not on gaining political advantage, but on solving a crisis.
“All political advances are with the president,” Thomas added. “What is he running for? He won, right? This is his time to actually take some political hits and tell the truth for a change instead of trying to get political advantage.”