Monday, May 23, 2011
Presidential 'Leadership' Versus Presidential 'Politics'
We'll be back in church next Sunday, we can guarantee you that. Those shows are 'scary'.
Here's what we noticed more than anything else: People currently in the White House, namely President Obama and in Congress, such as Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, plain and simply do not want to lead on solving the fiscal budget trainwreck we are now riding.
Even people such as Herman Cain, who is a rising darling of the Tea Party, apparently has hired a spinmeister to help him obfuscate what used to be a pretty forthright and truth-telling persona.
Let us count the ways.
First of all, David Gregory on 'Meet the Press' was tangling with various talking heads about Paul Ryan's budget, the debt ceiling, and so on and so on, seemingly the same discussion we have had for the past decade in essence.
When Congressman Van Hollen bristled and harrumphed that Congressman Paul Ryan's budget was too radical and would 'eliminate Medicare as we know it' (it is being 'dismantled as we know it' in a process known as de facto 'bankruptcy' as it is today), he challenged GOP political consultant Mike Murphy to tell the Republicans to support the recommendation of President Obama's very own Bowles-Simpson Deficit-Reduction Commission last winter.
To which we were just dying to see David Gregory ask the following question:
'Why doesn't President Obama just submit the recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson Commission himself as legislation to Congress?'
Alas, Mr. Gregory did not ask this very simple question. Maybe he is in the tank for President Obama, we have no real way of knowing.
Presidents can do that sort of thing when they really want to act like leaders of the greatest democratic republic the world has ever known. Presidents routinely ask Members of Congress and Senators of their party to introduce legislation they consider important to the national best interest simply because: 1) they can and 2) they can speak with one voice to begin the discussion with instead of 535 cackling voices from Congress.
That is why the Founders gave the President executive authority in the first place. He is the ONLY member of our elective civil government who is elected by the entirety of the American voting populace. No one else comes close to having that sort of universal influence and connection with the whole nation.
But, as we all sadly know, President Obama has not introduced the Bowles-Simpson Commission recommendations as a legislative package, nor will he any time in the near future.
Why? Because he wants to get re-elected, of course. There are too many 'tough decisions' in the Bowles-Simpson Report: cut and reform entitlements and raising taxes, just to name two. Why do something crazy that will endanger his chances any further to be re-elected than what a crummy economy and $4.00+/gallon gasoline has already made for him?
Before 'Meet The Press', we had a chance to listen to Mr. Herman Cain, who declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination yesterday.
We liked his proposal to completely replace the current income/payroll/excise/estate tax fiasco with a single-rate consumption tax across-the-board. We think it would significantly encourage and rewards savings and productive investment in America. It will also eliminate all of the distortions now deeply inherent in the current system such as the massive tax breaks it affords corporations who offer health care insurance coverage vis-a-vis individuals or small companies who can not and the home mortgage interest deductions that allow the deduction of interest on multi-million dollar home purchases, many of which are for tax sheltering purposes, not for personal home shelter reasons.
But then at the end of his interview with Mr. Wallace, he was asked about the impact of not raising the debt ceiling in August and 'What would you do as President under those circumstances, Mr. Cain?'
Mr. Cain, a very successful executive with Godfather's Pizza (Finally! We would have a POTUS in office who could truthfully say to our enemies abroad: 'I'll Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse!') and a member of a regional Federal Reserve Bank, (so he should know better) said this:
'First, we would pay the interest in the existing debt. And then we would make sure the military is paid. And the Social Security checks will be sent out. And of course, we will make sure all the Medicare bills are paid in full.'
The only thing he left out as a sacred cow was Medicaid which we presume was just a slip of the tongue.
Here's the problem, Mr. Cain and for all of his 'Raising Cain'-followers: If you exempt the Pentagon, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid after guaranteeing the payment of the net interest on the national debt each month, that is near about 90% of the federal budget you have left off the table for any reforms, reductions, savings or improvements!
The only thing you have guaranteed is that we will have no more Homeland Security; no more interstate highways being repaired (forget any new construction); no college education grants; no environmental protection programs and no more Lawrence Welk museums being proposed to be built with federal support (OK, we'll give you kudos on the last one)
So there is not much different there from any other candidate for POTUS for the past 20 years on that score, sad to say.
Just be careful when you listen to these presidential candidates. They apparently have not read any history where we Americans yearn for strong leaders to put out proposals and energize us to follow them.
Do you really want a republic that relies on daily polls that interviews guys like 'Cousin Eddie' (Randy Quaid) to Chevy Chase's 'Clark Griswold' in the movie 'Vacation' to tell the President and Congress what to do on all of the complexities of the federal budget and foreign policy and national defense?
Not us. Let's elect real leaders who can go to Washington, study the issues in-depth and then vote on proposals that save our nation and revive our economy, not cower in the corner afraid to do anything heroic.