White House Press Secretary Jay Carney never insinuated that President Obama’s golf game with House Speaker John Boehner would magically heal the rift between the two when it came to the issue of the national debt limit, but he did say it would relax existing tensions.
Carney told reporters that the competitive game served its purpose insofar as, “to help create an environment where the talks as they go forward on deficit reduction, on dealing with the debt-ceiling vote, on all of the issues that leaders in Congress and the administration have to deal with — it makes all of these conversations a little easier, a little more collegial. And that makes the outing entirely worthwhile.”
And then they all woke up. Sure, the golf trip made for a nice photo op but in hindsight Carney and the rest of the White House overestimated the civility of Republicans. On Wednesday the president took aim at GOP leaders for their refusal to open up to the idea to let go of certain tax breaks as part of the debt-ceiling solution. Democrats want to close certain subsides and loopholes. Republicans say anything that can be perceived as a tax hike is off the table.
WATCH ‘HARDBALL’ COVERAGE OF OBAMA’S FIGHT WITH REPUBLICANS:
Should the stalling continue, the extension of the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit will be put at risk — leading the government into an unprecedented default. That in turn could spur the United States going into another recession and agitate other global financial markets.
In response, Obama said at a news conference, “They need to do their job. Now’s the time to go ahead and make the tough choices.” He added, “Call me naive, but my expectation is that leaders are going to lead.”
Call it whatever you’d like, but Republicans have played the role of obstructionists since President Obama was elected. Who is actually surprised to find Republican leaders are acting like salty cast members of Basketball Wives during negotiations? You know, the ones ready to throw temper tantrums and subsequently glasses of water when called out on their nonsense?
Case in point, Speaker Boehner refuted the president’s criticism and proceeded to scold him for ignoring “legislative and economic reality and demonstrate remarkable irony.” Yes, this is the same party that still believes in the concept of a trickle down economy despite immense evidence to the contrary, and no, I can’t believe they’re that bold with their bull either. Obama’s newfound golf buddy also added, “His administration has been burying our kids and grandkids in new debt and offered no plan to rein in spending. The president is sorely mistaken if he believes a bill to raise the debt ceiling and raise taxes would pass the House. The votes simply aren’t there.”
Can you feel the love tonight?
No, and thank goodness so because now the president can politically shame the Republicans into stepping away from the 2012 presidential campaign long enough to prevent us all from having future happy hours at the soup kitchen.
Already some of Obama’s former Democratic colleagues in the Senate are speaking out against Republicans’ asinine antics. Following the President’s chiding of Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate is canceling its July 4 recess. He told CBS, “The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday the day after the fourth. We’ll do that because we have work to do.”
Should they get back to work and get nothing done, the president should continue to point out who’s to blame like Sen. Chuck Schumer has already begun to. On Republicans, Schumer said, “We’ve said cuts are on the table. In fact we’ve stood for them. I mean, they’re mirror images. Schumer elaborated, “How irrational would they think we are if we said, ‘No cutting, just do revenues.’ They’d say, ‘Well you’re being one-sided.’”
Therein lies the problem.
Their linear point of view on economic policy and stubbornness to alter it even slightly is putting us all at risk for financial doom. And as most of you know, when the country has economic problems blacks are typically affected by them disproportionally. Already, Republicans are trying to shake away from the Aug. 2 deadline to settle the debt-ceiling issue.
President Obama must continue to take hard stances on the GOP-controlled House to prevent that from happening. It’s admirable that he used a game of golf to try and quell hostility. But since that hasn’t work, now’s the time to use his presidential influence to ensure we’re not the ones who get played.