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July 14, 2011

'Debt-Ceiling Overreach' An Obama Waterloo?

Topics: Political News and commentaries

Has the president overreached in the debt-ceiling debate and positioned himself for defeat?

Obama Waterloo.jpgJeffrey T. Kuhner, writing at The Washington Times, suggests that Obama has indeed done so, and that Republicans now have a golden opportunity to break Barack Obama's presidency, ensuring he will be a one-termer (emphasis mine):

Mr. Obama has backed himself into a corner on the debt-limit talks; the GOP can smash his re-election prospectsif they have the will - and intelligence - to do it.

Mr. Obama has asked that the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling be raised, and he knows that cannot be done without support from House Republicans. Moreover, along with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Mr. Obama warns that fiscal Armageddon is coming unless the ceiling is lifted before Aug. 2 - the date Mr. Geithner claims the United States begins defaulting to its debtors.

Mr. Obama seeks a "grand bargain": a debt-reduction package that includes $1 trillion in tax increases to accompany entitlement spending cuts, including Social Security and Medicare. He wants to go big. His target is to slash $4 trillion over 10 years. He has repeatedly vowed to veto any "small" debt-limit increase - one that allows America to keep paying its bills until a more comprehensive agreement is ratified. In other words, Mr. Obama has issued an ultimatum to congressional Republicans: Either break your 2010 campaign pledge not to raise taxes or else be blamed for the debt-limit debacle. As he put it, it's time to "eat our peas." The president is playing Russian roulette with the economy and our nation's future.

Yet he has badly played his weak hand. Like the dictator Napoleon Bonaparte, who sought to spread the radical French Revolution across Europe, Mr. Obama has committed a fatal mistake: overreach. The president has issued a public ultimatum that either must be upheld or he must back down from. Either way, it is Mr. Obama's political credibility that threatens to be shattered.

In fact, the debt-limit talks represent the culmination of a Machiavellian strategy that Mr. Obama has been pursuing since he entered the Oval Office. The president's goal has been to erect a Franco-German welfare state. Mr. Obama is primarily responsible for America's debt crisis. He is the one who rammed through Congress the nearly $1 trillion failed economic stimulus. He is the one who has approved successive budget deficits of $1.5 trillion. He is the one who has saddled us with Obamacare, which will cost trillions of dollars and add more than 30 million Americans to the rolls of Medicaid - already the nation's fastest-growing entitlement program. In short, he has buried America under a mountain of debt. Hence, it is the height of hypocrisy - not to mention chutzpah - for him to be grandstanding about the need for fiscal responsibility.

Read the whole thing.

As Kuhner goes on to note, Obama is trying to lure House Speaker Boehner into a trap. Should he capitulate, this would violate the GOP's promise to voters, enrage its base and give Mr. Obama a historic victory. Mr. Boehner, so far, rightly wants nothing of it. He has definitively ruled out any tax increases. He is holding all the cards. All of this sounds good so far ... what remains to be learned is how much spine Boehner and his fellow Republicans in the House have, and to what extent the spineless RINO Senator Mitch McConnell will continue to undermine them.

(llustration: Napoleon Obamapart by Alexander Hunter for The Washington Times)

Posted by Richard at July 14, 2011 9:41 AM

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