So the congressional super committee failed. Republican candidates are coming out of the woodworks blaming President Barack Obama for the committee’s failure.
If the Joint Economic Committee fails to agree on whether tax reform can boost the economy and create jobs, do we blame the president?
If the Joint Committee on Taxation fails to agree on whether revenue estimates are correct, do we blame the president?
Yes, one can argue that given the mission of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was to find $1.2 trillion in cuts to our national budget, that these cuts would affect President Obama’s own policies and vision for governing. One could also argue that because of the impacts cuts would have on governance that Mr. Obama should have made it imperative to show “leadership” via negotiations with the committee.
But is mucking around with congressmen on a spending measure the best way for the president to spend his time? Wasn’t this exercise exclusively in the purview of the Congress?
The answer is no. The president is America’s chief lobbyist to the Congress and should be involved. House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, and Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas and co-chair of the debt reduction committee, called on Mr. Obama to show leadership, which is a joke given that these guys are looking forward to leading him out of the back door at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue into Marine One.
But Mr. Obama engaged this debate the smart way. Rolling in the mud, at least publicly, with a Republican faction not prepared to give him anything, and a Democratic faction that believes it can’t get anything more from him, would have been a waste of time and left him even more tainted with the mud of failure.