I just thought I’d throw this out there…this is a quote from Arianna Huffington’s appearance on Cristiane Amanpour’s Sunday show:
The bigger point here is that the Republicans have won the greater debating point on the debt crisis in America. You see, they have convinced Americans, including Senate Democrats that the only way to balance our budget is to cut spending. President Obama’s position should have been to convince Americans that the only way to fix the debt problem was to fix the joblessness problem. That was his point to make and he never even made it!
I *gulp*…agree?…with…Arianna…Huff…I can’t even SAY IT! As horrible as it is for me to admit this disastrous turn of events…I agree with her. That the Republicans have won the debate on spending and fiscal reform in America, that is. Not that her position was the better one. But you probably already knew that.
Whatever the particulars of the deal…the GOP has convinced the American people that the only way to fix Washington corruption and erase the debt is to stop overspending our growth rate, and the President – who never once took a strong position in this debate, never once argued rationally and persuasively about why spending increases and tax hikes had a better chance to work than spending cuts and tax breaks, and never once made a real budget proposal – has lost his power. Oh he’ll still get to talk on national TV whenever he feels like it and the networks will still treat him like a chief executive and his supporters will still respect him…sort of…(though I can never figure out why). But he has ZERO power to inform policy decisions from now until the day he leaves office, whether that’s in 2013 or 2017. He is politically impotent.
Now here’s the kicker…the reason he lost is that he never had a debating leg to stand on. Democrats won’t realize this…they’ll assume he was just a bad choice to lead them and try again with the next charismatic PR front in 2017, but that is the ultimate reason for his utter failure as a President. We could point to his condescending tone, his tendency to anger even his supporters with bully tactics and overzealous self-importance. We could say the problem was his inexperience on this grandest of political stages. But that’s not the problem. The reason he doesn’t defend his position effectively is because there is no effective defense.
Anyone with a third grade education and a lifetime of experience dealing with their own finances can tell you that stealing money from other people won’t curry favors with those people in the future, that those who have the money are the ones from whom you need favors if you don’t believe in your own ability to create wealth, and that spending money you don’t have will come back to haunt you in the end. And contrary to his sneering, condescending opinion regarding most Americans…most of us do have third grade educations and much, much more. And most of us know how to balance our own checkbooks.
The particulars of the debt deal aren’t important. It’s just a band aid on a severed arm. EVERYONE…from Boehner to Ryan to Harry Reid knows that more action will be needed after the next election cycle. Whatever the particulars are…don’t worry about it…it’s only temporary. We’ve won the debate…Democrats will now spend 18 months desperately fighting rearguard actions to protect the gains they made in 2009 and 2010…there’ll be no time for more harmful legislation. And even if Obama the suit wins office again in 2013, I doubt the same will be true of Congress and the Senate. Let’s just win some elections in 2012 and make this bloody band aid into a tourniquet. Since we’ve won the debate…it should be a hell of a lot easier to win the war.