Last night I was just drifting off to sleep when the dogs outside started barking like crazy. So I did what every good Southerner does: I pulled on some clothes, grabbed a rifle and went outside to see what all the ruckus was about. A bright beam of light enveloped me as I stepped outside, casting deep blue shadows. As I squinted into the light I could see a small flying saucer about the size of a Prius descending slowly above the chicken coop. My heart sank.
“Don’t squish my chickens you alien bastards!” I shouted. They must have heard me for they suddenly adjusted course and landed a few feet away.
It was like a scene from a ‘50s B-movie. A silver ramp descended from the saucer, and upon it were short bug-eyed creatures. The dogs were absolutely beside themselves, barking furiously and charging at the fence that usually kept them from the chickens but now prevented them from tearing the aliens apart. The aliens must have realized the danger they were in because one waved a super-thin Kate Moss-like arm, and several Bojangles boxes of chicken wings appeared in front of each dog. In the silence that followed I could hear my heart beating as the aliens advanced upon me.
“Take me to your leader,” one requested in a shrill voice that sounded oddly nasal and Jewish.
So I introduced them to the Wife…
While I may have exaggerated a bit in the intro above, I got to thinking about the lack of leadership shown by President Obama the past several months over the budget and the debt ceiling. Yesterday’s op-ed in Investors Business Daily lays it out in detail:
• In February 2010, instead of producing a budget that tackled the national debt — which his own reckless spending caused — Obama appointed a bipartisan commission to tell him what to do. When the commission issued its findings in December, Obama ignored it.
• In his State of the Union speech in January, Obama said “now is the time to act” on the debt, and then produced a budget weeks later that proposed piling up $7 trillion in deficits over a decade. The debt commission’s Democratic co-chair, Erskine Bowles, complained that the budget went “nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare.”
• Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., had even harsher words, saying “history will condemn us all if we don’t do substantially more (to reduce the debt) than is in this budget.” When Senate Democrats had the chance to vote on Obama’s budget, not one approved it.
• Earlier this year, Obama was insisting on a “clean vote” to raise the debt limit — giving him more room to borrow while doing nothing to cut future deficits. “Let’s not have the kind of linkage where we’re even talking about not raising the debt ceiling,” he said. When a “clean vote” came up in the House, more than two-fifths of Democrats voted against it.
• In April, after Republicans produced a serious, credible debt-reduction plan, Obama gave a speech that contained nothing but vague concepts, while effectively calling the GOP plan un-American.
• Months later, Obama still hadn’t produced anything substantive. In fact, when the head of the Congressional Budget Office was asked in June about how Obama’s “plan” would actually work, he said he couldn’t give an answer because “we don’t estimate speeches.”
• Then, rather than take the lead on debt negotiations, Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to come up with a bipartisan package, wasting weeks and ultimately getting nowhere.
• When Obama did get directly involved, his insistence on tax hikes wasted still more time, derailing progress on any plan with a realistic chance of getting through Congress.
• And despite months of Obama’s blasting Republicans for refusing to raise taxes, the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, D-Nev., this week put forth a plan that contains $2.7 billion in spending cuts and zero in new taxes. Yet, undaunted, Obama continued to insist on tax hikes in his Monday national address.
With the exceptions of his initial handling of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I have never supported the president. But well past the midpoint of his term, my problem with him isn’t even so much ideological anymore. Yes Obama is a liberal but being a libertarian at heart I can agree with liberals more often than they might believe. The problem that I have with Obama now is that he does not know how to lead.
His biggest accomplishments so far have been Obamacare and the Stimulus plan, both of which were formulated by Democrats in Congress. What other accomplishments has he claimed? The draw-down in Iraq? That was set in place by President Bush under Secretary of Defense Gates. I suppose driving the government to the brink of default (and perhaps over it) is an accomplishment, if one is a registered Republican and expects to see that party retake the White House in 2012. Today his White House press secretary was trumpeting fuel economy standards as yet another accomplishment of this administration. Honestly, even as someone who voted for McCain and views this president as the worst since Jimmy Carter, I expected more.
Liberals can lead. Clinton. Johnson. Kennedy. All had accomplishments in their first terms that were undeniably their own. Johnson especially was a notorious arm-twister. He knew how to get the votes that he needed for his legislation. Obama whines about John Boehner, but Clinton had young, energized Newt Gingrich and Republicans controlling BOTH houses of Congress to deal with, yet he managed to get things done.
Today America doesn’t have a leader. It’s not Obama. It’s not Harry Reid or John Boehner. At this critical moment in history, when European nations are about to default on their debts and we face the financial abyss ourselves, there is no one at the top who has a vision of America and understands how to use the levers of power at his disposal to achieve it.
Worse than that, we have what I can best describe as an anti-leader: Not only is Obama not a leader who brings people together, he drives them apart. Consider that there was no White House or office of the president. It would not be impossible to imagine Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid meeting a few times and hashing out a compromise deal that would stave off default yet be acceptable the majority of both bodies. I am no fan of either men, but both have shown the ability to do their jobs. Just when they come up with a compromise, Obama injects himself into the proces and suddenly everything falls apart. Boehner goes off to have a good cry and Reid… Well I’m not sure what Reid does but I’m sure it’s equally embarrassing.
Leading is at the top of the job description for president, and Obama doesn’t understand that. So when the aliens do come, and this being rural American where most close encounters of the third kind take place, you can rest assured that I will not be taking the aliens to Washington. I’ll just have to wake up the Wife instead.