Should Obama start talking like Wisconsin Republican Congressman Reid Ribble?
Ron Fournier thinks so.
Writing the National Journal, the veteran political writer offers the president some unsolicited advice. While Obama might be scoring political points over the sequester, Fournier argues, his lack of actual leadership is crazy stuff.
"In any enterprise, the chief executive is ultimately accountable for success and failure. Sure, blame Congress — castigate all 535 lawmakers, or the roughly half you hate. But there is only one president. Even if he’s right on the merits, Obama may be on the wrong side of history."
Americans are fed up with the jousting.… There is a lot of public posturing but apparently not much genuine conversation…
Here’s the reality: When facing a $16 trillion debt and spending 32 percent more money each year than we take in, revenue must go up and spending must go down. There are no other choices. So the debate is centered on how to collect more revenue and where to cut spending. ..
Neither party is without fault. Republicans must confront their own conventional wisdom that says, "The only way to shrink government is to starve it of resources." Government has consistently grown in size and interfered with the private sector … during periods of both high and low tax rates. Spending has become completely decoupled from revenue and that’s a dangerous policy. What, in fact, has actually happened under this strategy is that both the debt and the size of government have grown and all debt is simply a future tax on the next generation … someone, someday will have to pay the bill for the debt driven spending today.
Democrats must challenge their orthodoxy as well. While annual revenues are roughly what they were in 2006 — just a few years ago — spending has increased by $1 trillion every year since 2008.… We must recognize that even though raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans makes good politics, it does little to solve our nation’s financial crisis…. All of us receive the benefits so all of us must share the sacrifice — either in the form of higher taxes or lower government benefits.
Democrats have to demonstrate their willingness to put serious spending reductions on the table and Republicans need to offer a pro-growth, pro-job agenda that includes revenue. Most importantly both sides need to lay down their swords and act like the problem solvers the American people deserve and expect.
Fournier wonders what would happen if Obama would make a speech that would say the kinds of things that Ribble said.
"Would voters reward him for the honesty of the argument and the courage of challenging his liberal base? Would he change the tone of the debate from mindless sniping to an environment in which leaders are publicly shamed if they offer no solutions?
"I may be wrong. I may be crazy. But I suspect we’ll never know."