Thursday, April 14, 2011

Last I Checked, The President Was a Democrat

I can't even begin to count the number of times I've heard a right-wing commentator whine that President Obama was "partisan" in describing why he favors the budget advanced by himself and his political party over the exercise in silliness advanced by the Republicans. I'll grant, the Ryan plan is so absurd and weak that you don't need to approach it from a partisan standpoint to devastate it on its merits; but I doubt that's the type of objectivity the Republicans purport to be demanding from the President.

Apparently the President is supposed to act like the dimwitted host of a TV morning show presenting two guests with divergent viewpoints, one of which is objectively wrong, then pretending to be an objective mediator because she has presented "both sides of the issue" without comment. Seriously, even if this weren't a "Democrats vs. Republicans" issue, the President has a duty, some might say an obligation, to oppose policy positions that are absurd and, in his view, objectively harmful to the nation and its people.

But come on. G.W. Bush didn't shrug his shoulders when Democrats challenged him on his plan to privatize Social Security and say, "They have a good point." He didn't hesitate to push his tax cuts through by reconciliation when he wasn't able to muster sufficient bipartisan support to get them past a potential filibuster. Ronald Reagan, prior to blowing the deficits through the roof, didn't hesitate to attack Jimmy Carter over government spending. Since when is the President supposed to act as a meek and objective arbiter of budget proposals, rather than advocating for himself and his party?

I'm not recalling a similar torrent of crocodile tears from the political left when past Republican Presidents argued in favor of their own budgets or their party's political and budgetary goals. What did I miss?

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