Last week I documented what I thought was a major crisis of leadership in the White House regarding our national debate over the debt ceiling and debt. The crisis in the Oval Office is apparently even worse than I thought — and frankly, I thought it was pretty bad to begin with.
This weekend we learned that President Obama has more or less abdicated leadership on this issue. If he can’t get his way, which includes raising taxes and raising the debt ceiling, he doesn’t even want to talk. Congressional leaders are meeting without the president or even any of the president’s staff in an effort to reach a deal on spending and the debt ceiling.
This is ironic when you remember that the president tried to stay out of this very important issue for weeks before trying to swoop in like the superhero to save the day last week. He was trying to convince the nation that he was the lone reasonable adult trying to bring order to a chaotic debt mess.
But when the president got involved, the mess got worse.
Spending cuts are just not something that a big-government liberal can ever get serious about. And if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that President Obama is a big-government liberal. Of course, folks who were paying attention knew this long before Election Day 2008. Everything that has happened since Obama took office — especially the events of the last few weeks — has hammered this point home.
What we need now is a strong leader who understands that we must reduce the size, scope, reach and spending of our federal government — and that we must do it now and we must do it dramatically. What we have is just the opposite of that. What we have in the Oval Office is a former senator who specialized in voting “present” on many bills and in voting “yes” to all kinds of government-expansion and income-redistribution schemes.
President Obama can’t vote “present” on this crisis. He owns this crisis, because it did not need to happen. He did not lead when he needed to lead.
And of course, Mr. Obama’s yes man in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, is not showing leadership on this issue either. He refused to even allow debate and a vote on the Senate’s “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill put forward by Jim DeMint and some other responsible adults in the Senate after the House had already passed it.
Let me remind you that this is the same Harry Reid who has run the Senate since January 2007. This is the same Senate, of course, that has not even passed a budget in over 800 days. Now you and I cannot even fathom trying to run our households or our businesses for well over two years without a budget, but this is what is going on in Washington under liberal Democrat control.
Endless spending is the result of putting liberal Democrats in control of the national checkbook. And now, they want more authority to write more bad checks with no end in sight. They want even more of a line of credit so that they can continue to spend money they don’t have, and to do so without the accountability of a written budget.
There’s a lot of nuance and misinformation out there about what will or will not happen if there is — or is not — a raising of the debt ceiling. But the simple fact is this: There is one party in Washington that is standing up now for fiscal responsibility — and there is another party in control of the Senate and the White House standing in the way.
For too long, of course, both parties have been part of the problem. But for now, President Obama, Harry Reid and the congressional Democrats are the people who are spending us into oblivion and doing so recklessly.
The president and the Democrats in Congress own this crisis. Some of us are smart enough to know that. Others, well, they are special.
Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, is a Republican candidate for president.