Monday, March 07, 2011

Chief of Staff Daley as The Fixer

The White House sent out new Chief of Staff William Daley to try to convince the viewers of Meet the Press that the administration is on top of the economic recovery, and they are a business-friendly administration. A successful businessman and political insider himself, he has his work cut out for him. It's re-election time for Barack Obama and without Daley's successful message delivery, Obama will be a one term president.

On the budget, Daley reinforces the nonsense that Obama has "frozen the budget" and that is a sign of his seriousness to work on budget issues. It is a farce that this is fiscal responsibility in action, of course, because the budget is frozen at current levels, which Obama exploded to all time high spending levels. Freezing them is not cutting them. It is status quo.

Daley, when asked about the administration's approach that the GOP lead in setting forth reform measures on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid reform, he of course denied it. The fact is, while Obama has given lip service to reform needs yet has done nothing. He, in fact, is the first to criticize the GOP when reforms are brought into the discussion. He is quite content to stay out of the efforts. This is a contrast to George W. Bush, who was vilified by Democrats when he tried to start the process of reform in these areas.

Senator McConnell made the case that this White House is all talk, no action on a different Sunday morning show, as he responded to the characterizations lobbed by the likes of Sen John Kerry that the GOP budget cuts are "reckless":

The leading Republican Senator said the White House is not intent upon addressing government spending and debt, and disputed a Democratic Senator's accusation that the GOP budget plan was "reckless."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Republican control of the House and Democratic control of the Senate means it is the "perfect time" to tackle budget matters, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, if both sides embrace a solution before the 2012 elections. "I haven't given up hope, but frankly I'm not optimistic," he said.

When asked if he thought Mr. Obama was serious about getting something done with regards to the budget battles between Republicans and Democrats, McConnell said, "No, I don't. I have now had a number of private conversations with the president and the vice president. I was hopeful that we would step up to the plate here, if you will, and use this divided government opportunity to do something big about our long- term problem.

"I don't have any more complaints about the conversations with them; I've had plenty of conversations with them. What I don't see now is any willingness to do anything that's difficult," he told host Bob Schieffer.

When asked why he thought the administration was not serious, McConnell said, "I've a number of conversations with people who count at the White House, and I think that so far I don't see the level of seriousness that we need. For example, they're in denial about Social Security. They are saying Social Security is not a problem. The Congressional Budget Office said it's running a $50 billion deficit this very year. Medicare, Social Security are unsustainable. Medicare, Medicaid is unsustainable.

It is interesting to see men like Daley still trying to sell Obama as a non-partisan politician when the record is the direct opposite of that meme. This president is completely comfortable chastising Republican politicians, by name, from his bully pulpit in a way not seen before in modern politics. He has a two year record of this behavior as President.

Daley is known as a man who will work for bi-partisan solutions to the nation's pressing issues. One example of his handiwork was seen as President Obama travelled to Florida to do an education event with former governor Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush spoke of the need for state solutions, not big federal government programs and spending.

Simply spending more money is not the answer. Florida is proof that how money in education is spent has a greater impact than how much money is spent. We need to reform federal education funds – such as Title 1 – removing programmatic strings and sending funds directly to the states. Providing maximum flexibility in funding will foster innovations, such as digital learning, that could make our schools world class hubs of learning for the 21st century.

Likewise, if states are not providing access to a quality education, the federal government should find a way to give families the ability to opt out of a failing school system. Call it a voucher, call it a grant, call it a scholarship, call it whatever you want. Knowing that a quality education can end poverty and spur prosperity, it makes sense to create unfettered access to good schools, whether public or private.

While President Obama and I do not agree on all of our positions, I believe his commitment to education reform is sincere. Republicans should engage the administration in an effort to find common ground. Providing a quality education is a moral and economic imperative for the future of our nation. Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind – the right way – is an important part of achieving that goal.

Taking education reform advice from Jeb Bush is a good beginning, if this new leaf of using the best solutions to a problem, regardless of which side of the aisle they come from, is turning.

No comments: