I simply can't believe how Obama "compromises" himself into his opponent's position. He has now agreed to the Republicans demands, but they've danced away and put up more demands.
When he gave his address tonight, he should have come out fighting. He didn't. He "explained" the situation. He asked people to "contact their representative". But he gave them no guidance. He gave them no fighting words. Contact Congress for what? There have been over a dozen "plans" over the last two weeks. Which one is the "right" one? Obama said they should go for a "fair and balanced" plan. But the Republicans assure Americans that their various plans are all "fair and balanced".
This is all so nutty. Why ask for prime time from the networks if you aren't going to announce a major policy? If I were the networks, I would announce that no president will ever get air time again unless they hand over the script in advance so the network can check it to ensure that it is a significant speech, one worthy of their foregoing their profits "for the good of the country".
Instead, Obama asked for time so he could "explain" the situation and tell Americans to "contact your Congressional representative". Wow! That is earth shattering. I bet nobody could guess that if they had an opinion it might be good to pass it on to their representative instead of assuming that the representative could pick up as "psychic vibrations".
Obama should have come out fighting. He should have said: "The Constitution says that the House of Representatives must originate any budget/money/tax bill. The Senate votes on it. Only if both Houses agree will it come to my desk. I will sign if only if it meets these criteria: X, Y, Z. If Congress doesn't do that in just 7 short days, the US will be in default of its obligations and the I will be required to shut down government."
He then should have laid out his plan for shutting down government. To put a little fear into the Republicans he should have announced that he would immediately stop all funding for the Defense Department and disband the US military and begin a big auction of US assets to collect money to put against the debt (the very thing Greece is doing right now) The US could sell all its ships & planes & tanks & bases all around the world to get some fast cash. Sell off all the federal parks and federal lands. I'm sure the Chinese with their trillions of US dollars will be eager to buy up this land. Sell the Statue of Liberty, maybe France will give the US a good price for this nostalgic piece of history.
He should have announced that all payments to farmers and corporations would stop immediately. That any money to foreign governments would be stopped immediately no matter what the consequence to US obligations, credibility, or security.
He should have announced that with these funds saved, he wouldn't have to immediately cut all government services by 40% but only by 30% and announced an immediate cut to all government services. He should have warned people that the Republicans were force him to action that mean the US will immediately go into a steep recession, that will cost another 10 million lost jobs, that people will see mortgage rates rise by 3 or 4%, car loans by 5% or 10%, and credit card interest will jump from 20% to 40%. This is what the Republicans want in order to put the US on sound footing. They want the government to be "deficit free", something the US had in 2001 with the last Clinton budget, but which the Republicans blew up and went on a spending spree to create trillions in debt.
He should have come down hard saying "if this is what the Republicans want... then I will live within the budget constraints they demand, but I will spend every waking hour between now and November 2012 fighting to get all the Republicans and blue dog Democrats thrown out of office and get in some representatives of the American people that care about people, the economy, and the institutions of America more than they care about the tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires."
Obama asked you to contact Congress. Here's how...
202-224-3121 gets you to the US Capitol switchboard. The operator gets you to the office or voicemail of a Congressman or a Senator.
Ask them what you should do if you are dependent on a transfer payment like veteran’s disability or Social Security. Ask how you will meet your payroll if you are a vendor making coats for the army and you don’t get paid. Ask how you should value your 401k. Ask if there will be toilet paper in the bathroom in the national park. Put their feet to the fire.
Call the White House, too, if you wish; but remember, the structure of our government requires the House and Senate to reconcile on a bill and then send it to the White House.