Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Yes, Mr. President, That's Why They Are Called Leaders

Congress got the "no Fourth of July recess unless you finish your homework" lecture from Barack Obama today:

And I've got to say, I'm very amused when I start hearing comments about, "Well, the president needs to show more leadership on this."

Well, hey, let me tell you something, that right after we finished dealing with the government shutdown, averting a government shutdown, I called the leaders here together. I said, "We've got to get this done."

I put Vice President Biden in charge of a process that, by the way, has made real progress. But these guys have met, worked through all the issues.

I met with every single caucus for an hour to an hour and a half each: Republican senators, Democratic senators, Republican House, Democratic House. I've met with the leaders multiple times.

At a certain point, they need to do their job, you know.

And so this thing, which is just not on the level, where we have meetings and discussions and we're working through process, and when they decide they're not happy with the fact that at some point you've got to make a choice, they just all sit back and say, "Well, you know, the president needs to get this done."

They need to do their job. Now's the time to go ahead and make the tough choices. That's why they're called leaders.

And I've already shown that I'm willing to make some decisions that are very tough and will, you know, give my base of voters further reason to give me a hard time.

But it's got to be done. And so there's no point in procrastinating. there's no point in putting it off. You know, we've got to get this done.

And if by the end of this week, we have not seen substantial progress, then I think members of Congress need to understand, we are going to, you know, start having to cancel things and stay here until we get it done.

You know, they're in one week, they're out one week, and then they're saying, "Obama's got to step in." You need to be here. I've been here. I've been doing Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Greek crisis and ... You stay here. Let's get it done.
We saw this on the health care debate two years ago. That time it was Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid who were getting lectured. This time it is Republicans John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.

First the President will demand they get the deal done before the July recess, then he will demand they get it done before the August recess. In this case the big deadline is August 2, but I'm sure John Boehner can show up in the last week of July with a piece of paper that tides things over a bit. Sometime in December, maybe, there will be an unsatisfactory deal.

President Obama says he is looking to reduce the deficits by $4 trillion over the next the next decade but seems to only have agreement on $1 to $2 trillion. But let's tote up his actual leadership:

(1) Put Joe Biden in charge.
(2) Met with the 4 caucuses for no more than an hour and a half each. That's six hours.
(3) Played golf with John Boehner.
(4) Met with "the leaders" multiple times, which could just be twice, including the golf match.

Now, if he comes out of these talks with $4 trillion in deficit reduction, that's leadership. If he comes up short, I guess we need to look to the other leaders.

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