The Washington Post

Obama now blames Congress

The latest excuse from the president who has blamed his failure to rally the economy on everything from President George W. Bush to ATMs is that the still-dismal economy is the House Republicans’ fault. This is poppycock — ineffective poppycock, at that.

For the first two years of his presidency, President Obama had a Democratic House and Senate. They passed: the stimulus, Obamacare, Lilly Ledbetter, child heath care (SCHIP), homeowner support (Helping Families Save Their Homes Act ), Dodd Frank, the 2009 omnibus spending bill (with about 9,000 earmarks), cars for clunkers and much more.

Even after Republicans won the House, Obama got an extension of the payroll tax cuts, passage of three free trade agreements, extension of the export-import bank, patent reform, a highway bill, the FAA bill, the STOCK Act, the JOBS Act, unemployment benefit extension and much more.

What we didn’t get is a budget in any of the past three years because the Democratic-controlled Senate (only 50 votes are needed) wouldn’t pass one. We don’t have the XL Pipeline, which Obama opposes. We also don’t have a grand bargain or Simpson-Bowles (with its debt reduction, and tax and entitlement reform), as Fred Hiatt, The Post editorial page chief, writes:

He’s had his chance. When the Simpson-Bowles commission presented its plan to reduce the federal debt, with bipartisan support, the president ducked. “If it had been President Clinton, he would have said, ‘God, I created this, this is wonderful. It was all my idea,’ ” co-chair Erskine Bowles, a Democrat, later recalled. “So we were really surprised.”

When Obama was nearing a deal with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), the president upped the ante — from $800 billion to $1.2 trillion of tax hikes— dooming its prospects. The White House says Boehner never agreed to a genuine $800 billion and couldn’t have delivered anyhow; we’ll never know. This year, with the nation hurtling toward a series of potentially devastating fiscal deadlines, Obama is inert, apparently trusting that all can be put right in a lame-duck session.

Among all of his excuses, the “Republicans blocked everything” is the lamest and the most egregiously untrue.

Moreover, it conveys Obama’s tell-tale whininess and weakness. If you follow his logic, you can’t expect him to get anything done unless he has a filibuster-proof Senate and a Democratic-controlled House.

Romney says he’ll work with whoever is there. He’s not demonized the opposition on Capitol Hill, so maybe it is possible. He also passed quite a lot of legislation as governor of Massachusetts. (His campaign cites a 2007 report from the New York Times, that notorious right-wing rag, this morning : “In Mr. Romney’s four-year tenure, the deficit was eliminated without raising the sales tax or the income tax, and since the labor slump hit bottom in December 2003, the state has gained 81,000 jobs.”)

Maybe he won’t be successful in Washington, but we already know that Obama isn’t and is incapable of leading. (Whining is anti-leading.) It would be very difficult for Romney to do worse.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


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