The fallout from President Obama’s highly unusual address before the Joint Session of Congress and all branches of government and the American people last week is still generating buzz.
What made it unusual was his rancor, blaming everyone but himself for failures in Washington and anger in the nation over the past year. It didn’t lift people up….it put them down. Starting with the previous administration, which is getting old. He has to own his office and what he’s done with it for the past year, and since he won’t, pundits are working overtime counting all the misleading or downright untrue statements he made.
Right in front of the Supreme Court justices he blasted their ruling on campaign finance law, an unprecedented and most unbecoming act for a president in the SOTU. Enough already on Justice Alito’s silent but astonished reaction to Obama’s misrepresentation of their decision. How about some analysis on what Obama got wrong. I heard former Speaker Newt Gingrich on a television news show referring to much of Obama’s address as “profoundly wrong and fundamentally misleading.”
But, blame it on Congress. Which he did, pitting the House and Senate against each other. They weren’t that cozy before, but now the tension’s growing.
Tensions between Democrats in the two chambers are increasingly palpable as the party tries to pull itself out of a tailspin.
At Wednesday’s State of the Union address, House Democrats cheered each time President Barack Obama noted how the House had passed a particular bill. On several occasions, he urged the Senate to follow suit. At one point, a House Democrat turned to senators and shouted, “Do something!”
After the speech, New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner said, “The Republicans are our opposition. The Senate is our enemy.”
For their part, many Senate Democrats complain privately that their House counterparts are unwilling to recognize the Senate’s constraints. They also say House Democrats should be willing to accept the Senate’s version of the health-care bill.
Politics as usual, which we were promised an end to in those soaring speeches during Obama’s campaign.
They’d better find a way to work together in Congress fast, because with the release of the staggering new budget today the nation is plunging toward a state of even greater disarray.
In all, the president’s budget would add $8.5 trillion to the federal debt through 2020, pushing the debt as a percentage of GDP to 77% from 53%.
Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University economist who has studied other countries’ experiences, said that level could push the U.S. toward a tipping point where interest rates could soar, the value of the dollar could plunge and the economy could face another crisis.
We will hit a point where it comes on us very quickly, and you don’t want to edge up to that point,” Mr. Rogoff said.
It’s called ‘the cliff’.