Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Deficits, Budget and Attention

Within 24 hours, the President tackled two national shortfalls--dollars and cents in the government's income vs. expenditures, civility and sense in the partisan debate over remedies for an economy ravaged by recession.

In his weekly address this morning, Mr. Obama zeroed in on seven Republicans who had sponsored a bipartisan commission for deficit reduction but then voted against it in the Senate.

"Now, it’s one thing," he said, "to have an honest difference of opinion about something. I will always respect those who take a principled stand for what they believe, even if I disagree with them.

"But what I won’t accept is changing positions because it’s good politics. What I won’t accept is opposition for opposition’s sake. We cannot have a serious discussion and take meaningful action to create jobs and control our deficits if politicians just do what’s necessary to win the next election instead of what’s best for the next generation."

This admonition came only hours after the President's unprecedented dialogue with Republicans at their Baltimore retreat yesterday, which struck some observers as a marital-therapy session for political Bickersons, complaining about failures of communication in their relationship.

How much good may come from getting the antagonists to vent in public remains to be seen, but Mr. Obama managed to express his hurt feelings about being called "a Bolshevik" as John Boehner et al delivered their message about not feeling heard or appreciated with a parcel of written proposals, adding plaintively, "We also need to listen to each other."

The dollar gap in the national budget will take years to bridge, but the White House and Congress can do a lot right away to ease their mutual attention deficit disorder.

1 comment:

Serious Implications said...

Will the Republican narrative hold up for ten months? Or will it fall apart like a house of cards?