There’s an internet meme going around with a picture of Taylor Swift. The caption reads, “Taylor Swift should write a song called, ‘Maybe I’m the problem’” alluding to her tendency of blaming her relationship failures on others.
After watching President Obama’s inaugural address, I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps someone needs to tell him that he’s the problem.
President Obama is notorious for blaming others for his failures. The deficit? Faltering economy? Credit downgrade? Failure to pass immigration reform? All the GOP’s fault. And definitely George W. Bush’s fault.
Congress hasn’t passed a budget in more than 1,300 days. They spend more time fighting than they do legislating. It appears that the only time they can even sort-of get their act together is about two minutes before they tell us the world will implode (fiscal cliff, anyone?). Everyone blames everyone else, and considering that lawyers make up about 38% of congress, what should we expect?
But the real problem isn’t bullheadedness - the real problem is a complete and total lack of leadership. No matter how much President Obama laments about having to deal with a Republican majority in the House, other Democratic presidents have managed to pass budgets without having a Congress full of best friends. In fact, some of them were quite good at it.
You might want to cover your eyes for this one, but even Rep. Paul Ryan acknowledged that former President Bill Clinton wasn’t as obnoxious to work with as Obama. Back in September, he told CNN that, “Bill Clinton was a different kind of Democrat than Barack Obama. Bill Clinton gave us welfare reform. Bill Clinton worked with the Republicans to cut spending. Bill Clinton did not play the kind of political games that President Obama’s playing.”
On Meet the Press recently Ryan also said, “"If we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles chief-of-staff at the White House, or President of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now. That's not the kind of presidency we're dealing with right now."
Clinton managed to work with both a Republican Senate and House. Obama must be too busy trying to “do skeet shooting” to forge honest compromise with the legislative branch.
In his inaugural address, the President essentially gave a big middle finger to the idea of bipartisanship. It was as if his speech writers drafted a list of everything Republicans hate and then constructed a speech about how to implement each of those things. Some of the digs against Republicans were so obvious it was akin to watching a bully taunt other kids on the playground. For example, here’s a gem of a quote that one can assume relates to voter ID:
"Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote."
Clearly a dig at Republican Governors who have attempted to pass common sense voting practices. Childish? Yes. But with no re-election bid to be concerned with, President Obama is free to behave like an Instigator-in-Chief.
Get used to it.
Child psychologists will tell you that children who have parents who fight in front of them can as a result, act out or become aggressive. Sound familiar? Congress may be kicking and screaming about the idea of working together, but it is the President’s job to serve as a role model and lead the way. His failure to recognize that he himself is the problem, is arguably his greatest failure as President.
Ashley Schultz is a political consultant from Pewaukee.