During the President's deficit reduction speech Wednesday, he spent a majority of the speech criticizing the plan put forth by the House GOP and Rep Paul Ryan. It was partisan, mean spirited, and below the dignity of the office. Unfortunately, it was classic Obama.
If ever there was an example of the need for executive experience before one is elected to the highest office in the land.
In 2006, a newly elected U.S. senator from Illinois wanted to cast a vote to damage then President George W. Bush. A vote on the debt ceiling? Sure. That would do.
“Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally,” the senator said at the time. “Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
President Obama now realizes that it is necessary to be of a more mature frame of mind as the occupant of the Oval Office than he was as a mere U.S. Senator. He now realizes we cannot afford to play politics with something as important as the debt limit.
To be fair, all of his fellow Democrats in the Senate cast the same vote. It was all about hardball politics against President Bush. Now that he is President himself, Barack Obama realizes this mistake.
Said Obama: "I think that it's important to understand the vantage point of a Senator versus the vantage point of a...President. When you're a Senator, traditionally what's happened is this is always a lousy vote. Nobody likes to be tagged as having increased the debt limit for the United States by a trillion dollars... As President, you start realizing, 'You know what? We-- we can't play around with this stuff. This is the full faith in credit of the United States.' And so that was just a example of a new Senator, you know, making what is a political vote as opposed to doing what was important for the country. And I'm the first one to acknowledge it."
That was then. This is now.
In then Senator Barack Obama's world, he was looking to 2008, not further down the road. The man went from community organizer from the south side of Chicago and then to the Illinois state legislature. After a mere year or so in the U.S. Senate, he decided it was time to run for the presidency. He was in his mid-forties, had written one book about himself and writing the second one - unless you believe the stories that he, in fact, didn't write his own books - and the world was his oyster.
He knew it was all politics. He didn't mind then, though.
Barack Obama is a politician. He is not a statesman. He is not a leader. We all deserve better.