President Obama has the right convictions on all these issues, but he has not shown the courage of his convictions. The Republicans have just gone nuts.
If you listen to Obama, he eloquently describes our energy, climate and fiscal predicaments: how we have to end our addiction to oil and cut spending and raise revenues in an intelligent way that also invests in the future and doesn’t just slash and burn. But then the president won’t lead. When pressed on energy, he will say that he just doesn’t have the Republican votes for a serious clean energy policy. But the president has never gotten in the G.O.P.’s face on this issue. He has not put his own energy plan on the table and then gone out to the country and tried to sell it.
It is what a lot of Obama supporters find frustrating about him: They voted for Obama to change the polls not read the polls.
On fiscal policy, the president has put forth a decent opening budget bid and has opted for the same inside game of letting Congress take the lead in forging a compromise with the G.O.P. that would bring spending under control and raise revenues. That inside game worked for the president in producing health care reform and the stimulus, but in those cases he had a Democratic majority to push through decent legislation. I fear this time he will not have the votes for the kind of serious, sensible, Simpson-Bowles-like budget cuts and tax increases we need — without his leading and enlisting the public in a much more aggressive way.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
No Courage In His Convictions
Tom Friedman of the NYT, after describing the pain and folly we're courting if we don't get our act together as a nation, complains about our President in what I feel is an accurate description and criticism: