Saturday, July 23, 2011

Curious By Its Absence

The debate over raising the debt ceiling rages on and my patience is about at an end, but apparently I'm not the only one. According to the story in the Kansas City Star this morning the president, "demanded that Congressional leaders come to the White House this morning". 

It appears that the leader of the free world is a little peeved that that this problem is not going away in spite of the fact that he has called his political opponents names, castigated both parties in Congress in front of media microphones, and explained his willingness to compromise on everything but the things he's not willing to compromise on (in between fundraisers and rounds of golf). There are a couple of things however that seem curious by their absence: 

1. A plan put forward by the President himself. Oh I know he has delivered an outline, some notes, and a number of suggestions; but I for one have never seen or heard of an actual plan. Neither has he addressed in any meaningful way, a path to reversing the trend of government spending more than it takes in. He, those in the Senate, and much of the mainstream media seem to forget that the reason that we need to raise the Debt Ceiling Limit is that government is spending much more than it receives. No amount of taxation, even if agreed to, is going to solve that problem; and the sooner all the parties involved understand that, the sooner a real solution can be reached. Because words do mean things and since, at least according to Dictionary .com, Compromise means: "a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc. ..." it would seem that in order to reach any meaningful compromise on such 'plans', fully fleshed out ones by both sides would be required. 

2. Absent from these discussions as well is Harry Reid and the Senate. This is not to say that the Senate Majority Leader is invisible, in fact far from it. It's difficult to turn on a TV news broadcast without seeing the Senator from Nevada attempting to strike a pose while delivering strident oratory (mostly vitriolic) about the intransigence of others. Here's what we don't see from Harry and his colleagues however, a plan of their own or a straight up or down vote on anything that the House has proposed. The man who often called Republicans "the party of no" has yet to put forward a budget alternative himself, while allowing no straight up or down vote on House proposals including the 'Ryan Budget' and the recent 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' proposal. 

In fact, for those of you who haven't been paying attention, the Senate has not proposed a budget in over 800 days. Interestingly enough, Senator Reid is not mentioned in the story demanding the appearance of legislators in the White House today. (Evidently he is busy standing on the curb in front of the Senate and barking at cars as they drive by.) With the apparent inability of the Senate to propose or vote on anything concrete in the way of the national budget however, it would seem that he should be the first one called in to the White House and called on the carpet (unless of course, he already simply following the marching orders of the President)

One has to wonder in fact if the President is seeking to make the position of Senate Majority Leader irrelevant, or if he thinks Sen Reid is incapable of adding anything to the discussion. Perhaps the problem is that after sending out this 'attack poodle' to yip and the crowd and bite a few ankles, the President simply doesn't think that anyone will want to deal with him on substantive issues. So be careful as you watch the weekend's coverage of this pathetic dance marathon. While the mainstream media seems content to highlight the vitriol, acrimony, and unmitigated nonsense of these discussions, those of us out here in 'fly-over country' need to take note of what can actually be seen ... and what's curious by its absence.  

On a more personal note, if you're out there Maureen ... Happy Tweener!


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