The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger perfectly captured President Obama’s unique governing style this way: “The Obama modus operandi is reducible to this: I think, therefore you do.”
That style is already on full display in the looming fight over the debt ceiling. For months President Obama and his top deputies have refused to negotiate.
“In case there’s any confusion,” Obama said, in true posturing fashion, “I will not negotiate over whether or not America keeps its word and meets its obligations.”
Since then, other prominent Democrats have spoken out. “Democrats are not delaying Obamacare,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said. “We certainly aren’t negotiating over the debt limit.”
And when asked why President Obama should be treated any differently than President Clinton, President Bush, or President Reagan, each of whom have given up something in return for an increase in the debt ceiling, Nancy Pelosi said there is simply nothing left to cut.
“The cupboard is bare,” Pelosi told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “There’s not more cuts to make. It’s really important that people understand that.”
But President Obama’s hardline approach to the debt limit negotiations is just another example of his overbearing attempt to unilaterally control the policy direction of the country. Whereas previous administration saw dialogue and debate as key factors in getting things accomplished, President Obama sees them as the road to defeat.
What the president must realize, and soon if we are to avoid defaulting on our obligations, is that true defeat will come his way unless he becomes open to dealmaking. To understand why just look at the results of the latest Bloomberg poll, which found that Americans by a 2-to-1 ratio disagree with President Barack Obama’s insistence that Congress hike the debt limit without negotiating. Specifically, 62 percent said that “it is necessary to limit the amount the U.S. can borrow because Congress lacks discipline on spending, so it is right to require spending cuts when the debt ceiling is raised even if it risks default.”
Sam Manders, a lifelong Democrat who spoke with Bloomberg in a follow up interview, provided a crucial insight that Obama would be wise to heed.
“Sometimes it can be hard to negotiate if Republicans are making irrational demands, but to say ‘I’m not going to talk at all’ – I’ve just never found not negotiating to be an effective way to get something done,” said Manders.
In this case Republicans are not making irrational demands. CNN reports:
“[Americans] don’t want a government shutdown, but they are tired of the debt and they want to make sure that this president sits down and negotiates with us a resolution to this problem,” Cantor said. “So we call on the president now to sit down with us, Harry Reid to sit down with us, and let’s solve the problem. This plan of more debt and no reform is absolutely unacceptable.”
Cantor confirmed that a House proposal to raise the debt ceiling would include a one-year delay in the full implementation of Obamacare, as well as other provisions from measures passed by House Republicans but ignored by the Senate such as building the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada.
Republicans are at the negotiating table and ready to deal in an effort to put the United States on a better fiscal footing while also preserving the full faith and credit of existing obligations.
Obamacare is already a train wreck with new provisions being delayed daily, new data proving it will double health insurance prices, and new critics emerging from left and right. Over the past few months these and other problems have shown that Obamacare is simply not ready for prime time. Despite being passed over three years ago, Democrat dawdling, poor drafting and bureaucratic snafus have resulted in an unworkable law and an untenable timeline. Even those most responsible for implementing the bill are beginning to throw up their hands in disgust
“Sometimes it feels like we’re driving a car and then changing the time at the same time,” Kevin Counihan, chief of the Connecticut exchange, told the AP. “If they keep adding new regulations, I’m sorry. We have to suddenly say, ‘enough is enough.”
“I wish we had one more year,” he added.
Republicans want to give him that time. Now, it’s up to Obama to show up and negotiate.