Does this sound familiar?
1) There is an important problem that requires Congress and the President to act. (entitlement reform, viable budget, sequestration, fiscal cliff, debt limit hike, etc.)
2) House Republicans propose and pass a bill with what they consider a good solution to the problem.
3) President Obama and Senate Democrats realize it is easier to attack the Republican plan than propose their own, so they refuse to propose a real bill.
4) President Obama delivers several campaign-like speeches filled with strawmen portraying Republicans as unreasonable, uncaring and somehow responsible for a lack of solution.
5) No permanent solution is achieved.
It should. This cycle has been repeated on every major issue that has come up since Republicans took over the House in 2011.
The latest example of this is with sequestration. President Obama is now using emergency responders as pawns while giving statements, hoping to pressure Congressional Republicans to get rid of the cuts. In his statement on Tuesday, Obama suggested Republicans either agree to replace the cuts with the higher taxes he wants or they are somehow choosing to not protect “investments in health care and education and national defense.”
President Obama fails to mention several things in these speeches: First, the idea for the sequester cuts that he claims will be so harmful originated in his White House. Second, House Republicans already passed two bills replacing sequester cuts with other cuts, while Obama has not proposed any specific solution yet. And lastly, President Obama previously promised to veto any attempt to get rid of the cuts he now claims will be devastating.
Normally Presidents try to sway Congress by working with members and presenting viable legislation, but President Obama just makes speeches attacking his opposition with the hope they somehow agree to all of his demands. This method doesn’t lead to beneficial policy results, but he keeps doing it because it helps Democrats politically to portray Republicans as unreasonable and blame them for the failure to resolve these problems. That’s great if your goal is to win an election, but it is quite unhelpful if you actually care about these issues being resolved.
As National Review’s Jim Geraghty points out, it is essentially maintaining the status quo. Someone should inform the President that Americans are tired of this game and the election is over. It is time for him to actually do his job.