The president sent party lackeys—his chief advisor David Axelrod and his Democratic-presidential-nominee predecessor John Kerry—on Sunday’s talk shows armed with the message that S&P stripping the U.S. of its “AAA” rating was really a “Tea-Party downgrade.” But the Tea Party didn’t support the bailouts, the health-care bill, or the stimulus package that busted the budget. The president did. From dismissing the recommendations of his own deficit-reduction commission to refusing to submit a plan during the debt-ceiling negotiations, the president has been absent without leave when it comes to keeping budgets on budget. One would be tempted to include his party’s failure to pass a budget last year when they controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency as another instance of dereliction of duty resulting in off-kilter ledgers. But given the trillion-dollar-plus deficits they had posted prior to this fiscal year, no budget may have been preferable to another round of nuthouse bookkeeping in which spending wildly outpaces revenue.
The president’s use of surrogates to attack Standard and Poor’s, Republicans, and the Tea Party is another means of dodging ownership. The credit downgrade happened on Obama’s watch after he presided over deficits in excess of a trillion dollars in each year of his presidency. Monday’s call from the president for targeted tax cuts and new unemployment-insurance spending demonstrates the degree to which his debt-ceiling-negotiation rhetoric was posturing.
The child-in-chief demands more power but accepts no responsibility. There is a natural corrective that tends to restore accountability. People who don’t take responsibility get responsibility taken away.
Daniel J. Flynn is the author of Blue Collar Intellectuals: When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America, forthcoming this fall from ISI Books. He writes a Monday column for Human Events and blogs at www.flynnfiles.com.
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