Obama just needs to give a speech!

Or so the answer seems if you write Opinion for the Post.  David Ignatius starts out with the standard “they’re both wrong!” approach”

I’m no fan of the way President Obama has handled the fiscal crisis. As I’ve written often, he needs to provide the presidential leadership that guides Congress and the country toward fiscal stability. In my analogy, he should take the steering wheel firmly in hand and drive the car toward the destination where most maps show we need to be heading: namely, a balanced program of cuts in Social Security and Medicare and modest increases in revenue.

Hmmm, last I checked, that was pretty much what Obama had proposed.  But he’s not gripping the wheel firmly enough?  To Ignatius’ credit, we do get this:

Much as I would criticize Obama, it’s wrong to say that both sides are equally to blame for what’s about to hit us. This isn’t a one-off case of Republicans using Obama’s sequestration legislation to force reckless budget cuts. It’s a pattern of behavior: First the Republicans were prepared to shut down the government and damage the national credit rating with their showdown over the debt ceiling; then they were careening toward the “fiscal cliff.” This isn’t a legislative tactic anymore; it’s an addiction.

I kept reading, hoping that Ignatius would give us the magic answer of what Obama needs to do to firmly take the steering wheel and drive the country where we need to go.  The answer?

The House Republicans are still grabbing for the wheel, and the car is rumbling toward trouble.

Obama tries everything to gain control — except a clear, firm presidential statement that speaks to everyone onboard, those who voted for him and those who didn’t — that could get the country where it needs to go.

Are you serious??  This could all be resolved if only Obama made a “firm statement”?  What planet is Ignatius living on?  Does he understand anything about how government works.  It is absolutely amazing to me at what passes for punditry these days.  Oh, and Edwards might want to try reading Ezra Klein’s great New Yorker piece about the pervasive ineffectiveness of presidential speeches.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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