Thursday, June 30, 2011

Recess is Over

Politico Arena Topic: President Obama: Scolder-in-Chief?

Congressional Republicans have been doing more than just acting like children with regard to the debt ceiling--to play a game of political chicken with the nation’s debt limit is extremely irresponsible. At no time in our nation’s history has a political party held the country’s debt ceiling hostage to ideological demands. Previous Democratic and Republican presidents and congresses have acted responsibly by raising the debt ceiling when needed. True, at times they waited until the last possible moment but at no time did recalcitrant lawmakers threaten that if they did not get their way - and only their way - that they would allow the United States government to default on their its debt obligations.

The fact that President Obama has been forced into the middle of negotiations should be victory enough for the GOP because he will now be forced to cut a deficit-reducing deal and may pay a political cost for it - especially if negotiations go badly. The Obama administration would have been better off insisting on a clean debt limit vote, saving deficit reduction for budget negotiations. Now both parties must negotiate with the added pressure of an August 2 guillotine hanging over the heads.

Finally, I think it is apropos that President Obama compare his kids to the GOP leadership. After all, it was House Majority Leader Cantor who took his ball and went home last week after negotiations did not go as he planned. Hopefully his actions haven’t soiled the sandbox too much for the other kids.

Recess is over (and the GOP should probably think twice about going on another one this weekend). It’s time to get to work and understand that in a negotiation, both sides need to get something. Clearly the House majority leader and many of his Republican colleagues do not understand that concept.

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