Video: Democrats not terribly impressed with presidential leadership on budget

posted at 11:20 am on April 8, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Finally — a bipartisan consensus emerges!  Last night, CNN’s Dana Bash reported that Democrats on Capitol Hill have begun grumbling about the last-minute leadership of President Obama on the budget, having been less than impressed with his involvement until the moment of greatest media interest.  Bash says that the strategy of keeping Obama “above the fray” leaves them holding the bag for failure — or worse, having a compromise forced down their throats. Anderson Cooper pronounces himself less than impressed:

BASH: I can tell you that talking to Democratic sources here in Congress over the past weeks, weeks and weeks, actually really months as this has been going on, this short-term spending bill after short-term spending bill to try to keep the government running, there’s been a lot of frustration with the President, with the White House, that they have not gotten more involved. You certainly saw the President out tonight and you saw him out last night. You’re seeing him involved at the eleventh hour. But many of his fellow Democrats are saying, where were you before? We needed you before.

And the reason, they think, is because it’s just not a politically a good thing for him to be doing to be getting involved in this kind of fight when he’s positioning himself for reelection and doesn’t want to be mired in this back and forth over a few billion dollars in spending.

COOPER: That’s why people hate politics.

Politico takes the White House spin to a conclusion that gets to the risk involved in the 30,000-foot strategy:

Obama staged several eleventh-hour interventions on health care reform. He repeated the tactic with far greater success during last year’s tax-cut debate, and he did it again Tuesday — popping into the White House briefing room when the drumbeat over his lack of public involvement was loudest, and the talks were disintegrating behind closed doors.

But it’s a strategy that chafes against his negotiating partners on both sides of the aisle — and there’s no guarantee it will work this time. There are many outstanding issues, from defense dollars to abortion, and the unpredictability of Speaker John Boehner’s tea party caucus may defy an Obama-style perils-of-Pauline rescue to prevent a shutdown by midnight Friday.

So the question for Obama is simple — Can the closer close the deal? — and the risks are big. If a shutdown happens and Obama can paint the Republicans as letting the lights go out over, say, Planned Parenthood funding, he could come off as the more serious leader.

But if talks fall apart and the GOP succeeds in portraying Obama as weak on fiscal issues, it could undermine his rationale for 2012 — that he’s the only responsible grownup capable of rising above the Washington squabbling to get things done.

There are a couple of problems for Obama in selling this. First, he’s been AWOL on the budget for months. He could have pressed Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to produce a budget in 2010 when Democrats had full control of Congress. Where was his outrage then? It’s not exactly leadership to wait seven months past a budget deadline to finally get personally involved. For that matter, as I mentioned in my last post, this sudden burst of leadership has done nothing to produce a budget in the Senate, where his own party has a majority.

Second, a failure here runs the real risk of his previous lack of leadership getting a lot more attention.  Presidents don’t usually make grandstanding efforts unless (a) they already have a victory in hand, or (b) a failure will suit their political purposes.  The latter was true for Bill Clinton in 1995-6 because it was the Republicans who had full responsibility for producing a budget.  That’s not true now, when Obama has been an absentee executive on budgets for seven months and couldn’t even lead his own team to do their jobs.

Obama could have closed the deal in September.  Instead, Democrats at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue ran away from their responsibilities out of fear of voter backlash if they revealed their true agenda, and in the Senate and the White House, they’re still running away.  That may be many things, but leadership it is not.


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What does it matter? They’ll all pat each other on the back, and brag about what great people they are, and commend each other for furthering their agenda.

And the masses will believe it, because they’re mindless pawns, thinking it will benefit them in the end, when what it will truly do, is destroy everyone, but the rich favorites of Obutthead.

capejasmine on April 8, 2011 at 11:27 AM

I’ve been less than impressed for two years!

jrab01 on April 8, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Can’t you Dems just let him eat his waffle?

john bono on April 8, 2011 at 11:28 AM

The Democrats held the responsibility for producing a budget which, if produced, we would be functioning off of right now. They failed to do that which leads us to CRs and looming shutdowns. The president could’ve demanded a budget, however, he was merely looking for another ‘ass to kick.’ Similar to his ‘leadership’ in the BP oil spill. A leader is out in front of issues, and a demagogue waits for someone to take some initiative and then he demagogues them to death. That’s not leadership at all, and the current problems are as a result of demagoguery, writ large.

ted c on April 8, 2011 at 11:29 AM

Let the Government shut down.

Don’t pay your “protectors”.

Don’t pay the employees, contractors, contracts… anything.

And make sure that the Senate, Congress and POSOTUS do not get one red cent before anyone else does.

See how the people react.

upinak on April 8, 2011 at 11:29 AM

But in the end they will all bow down the One, grovel at his feet, because Obama is…totally…awesome.

albill on April 8, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Please the Wrecking Ball needs a freaking break!!!

It’s hard work taking down the worlds largest economy.

PappyD61 on April 8, 2011 at 11:32 AM

What does it matter? They’ll all pat each other on the back, and brag about what great people they are, and commend each other for furthering their agenda.

capejasmine on April 8, 2011 at 11:27 AM

I disagree. A lot of these Dems probably are legitimately p-ssed at Obama over this. Their party got wiped out in the midterms over issues like Obamacare and the deficit, areas in which Barry offered zero leadership. And they’re looking at another potentially disastrous election cycle next year(especially in the Senate), so these images of Obama prioritizing golf, vacations, Sportscenter appearances, and speaking engagements with Al Sharpton over getting a budget hammered out likely won’t sit well with them.

Doughboy on April 8, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Video: Democrats not terribly impressed with presidential Trifling leadership on budget.

Fixed it for you Democrats – You’re welcome ;)

Dr Evil on April 8, 2011 at 11:38 AM

I think Mr. Obama works just hard enough to meet the mail. Most days, I don’t think that his efforts are remotely adequate. In most executive positions, 80% of the decisions are probably mundane and mechanical, however, the presidency is quite different from that and I don’t think Mr. Obama understands that. He thinks he’s making mundane yes/no choices on stuff, then moving on to the next widget and soaking up the coolness of the office. I’m sure that the presidency is a great gig on quiet days when the world is peaceful, the birds are singing, and DC is humming. I don’t believe that Mr. Obama can ratchet himself up to the executive demands of the office, no matter how hard he tries. He just may not have it in him.

ted c on April 8, 2011 at 11:40 AM

it could undermine his rationale for 2012 — that he’s the only responsible grownup capable of rising above the Washington squabbling to get things done.

More like an irresponsible child capable of fleeing from his chores.

rbj on April 8, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Again, there are two sides to this. The Democrats can take the high road by choosing to not let the lights go out over funding for Planned Parenthood. Politico is -as usual- siding with Democrats on that matter by framing statement in this way.

Politico is the DNC’s public relations firm.

BKeyser on April 8, 2011 at 11:44 AM

All hot air….they will still treat him like a rock star and tow the line for him

cmsinaz on April 8, 2011 at 11:47 AM

What does it matter? They’ll all pat each other on the back, and brag about what great people they are, and commend each other for furthering their agenda.

capejasmine on April 8, 2011 at 11:27 AM

If they pass a budget without major structural reforms of entitlements, then we’re screwed.

Paul-Cincy on April 8, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Doughboy they will still vote for him and sing his praises as soon as this is over

cmsinaz on April 8, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Doughboy on April 8, 2011 at 11:33 AM

There may be some, but in the Senate, not enough of them will prove that by accepting and voting for the budget the Reps sent in. They all seem to be standing uniformly against any major, neccessary cuts. When they prove themselves to care more about the country, and less about their career, then I’ll think differently. In the end though, without their action, it means nothing.

Let these Dems that are disenchanted with the President stand, be counted, and vote accordingly. But they won’t. They’ll tow the party line. As always.

capejasmine on April 8, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Just moments after the President left the podium last night, Congressman Allen West (FL-22) said on a Fox News program: “In my 22 years of service in the military, I’ve seen more leadership from a buck sergeant.”

Earlier in March Lieutenant Colonel Allen West also stated the President and his Vice President were failing to provide leadership:

“President Barrack Obama has shown a failure of leadership with regard to the budget for this year. He appoints Vice President Biden to be the lead negotiator and he in turn flies off to Europe, showing a lack of interest in the state of our nation’s fiscal crisis. I support the leadership in Congress to take the necessary steps to reduce spending, which contributes to an ever-increasing national debt. It’s perfectly clear, the President is the leader of the federal government and if he does not take a leadership role to reduce out-of-control federal spending, he, and only he, will be responsible for closing the federal government.”

(More here about leadership in the Greenroom)

Rovin on April 8, 2011 at 11:51 AM

The same people who elevated the mail room clerk to CEO of the world’s preeminent company are now surprised that the former clerk is out using the company airplane for joy rides rather than guiding the company.

Piss off, hyenas, what did you expect?

Bishop on April 8, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Oh my, -when you’ve lost Andy Vanderbilt….

slickwillie2001 on April 8, 2011 at 11:53 AM

They’re not impressed with him, but they won’t break the stalemate in this budget battle.

Seems to me like the left is nothing but talk, no action.

madmonkphotog on April 8, 2011 at 11:54 AM

This is the equivalent of facing the reality that your parents really don’t know everything.

A+ for effort.
B+ on results.

BobMbx on April 8, 2011 at 11:56 AM

Doughboy on April 8, 2011 at 11:33 AM

There are no regular Democrats left in the Democrat Party, the Progressive leadership marched them over the cliff by persuading them to commit political suicide by voting for Obamacare…which looks dead in the water so what did they sacrifice for? Answer Progressive Hubris – Power Grabbing. If you watch the Progressives Harry and Nancy, they are exhibiting the same exact behavior that got the Democrat Party wiped out last November. Remember these people can’t pivot, they can’t improvise they can only follow the conformist ideology they have been steeped in. My thinking is that they are going to lose the Senate in 2012 marginalizing the Democrat party even further, because there is NO regular moderate or conservative Democrats left in the party with the “cojones” or numbers to confront the Progressives, and make them back away from the ledge they have led the Democrat Party onto. A progressive is a rigid, humorless idealog. (If The President of the United States thinks this is going to get him back Independents like me for 2012 he’s sadly mistaken) We aren’t stupid we can tell the difference between talk and action.

Think of Progressives as Pavlov’s dog…when they won the house, senate and presidency, it was like a bell rang and they responded by taxing and spending (feed) – they are conditioned to behave the way they do, because they have been trained to, and reinforced over too much time spent in public service. We need people who are looking forward into the future, who want to see this country compete globally. Meanwhile Harry and Nancy are trying to reproduce 1995 they are backward looking. In their defense it’s all they know – Progressives are not supposed to veer from the radical leftist agenda, improvising is not allowed otherwise – they won’t get “fed” Big Labor -Unions, won’t ring the bell.

The Democrat Party it’s self has a very steep learning curve to overcome,(SEE Wisconsin Supreme Court Election) I believe the public servants, that have been trained by Big Labor Unions, just have to be replaced, they can’t be retrained. But make no mistake it’s their Union masters dictating the behavior they are displaying via the Budget they won’t agree to currently. What the Union Bosses don’t get, the mask is off we see what they are doing.

Dr Evil on April 8, 2011 at 11:59 AM

EM:

Obama could have closed the deal in September.

Well, yes and no. Functionally, he had a responsibility to do that; however, politically, Democrat policy hamstrung them to delay. The Democrats had no intention of passing a budget that would not increase federal spending, so pressing a budget last summer when the Tea Party was peaking was the absolute worst time for them to put up the numbers. What we saw in November was a debacle for the Democrats at both federal and state levels. Had they proposed and passed their desired budget, it would have been a debacle squared. And they knew it.

It was a gamble the Democrat/Progressive Party took to minimize losses. Some may argue that the delay gives the Democrats some political benefit (compared to the alternative of an earlier, Dem-led budget), but I would say not. What it has done is show the lack of seriousness and ubiquity of politicization from the Left to the detriment of the country. The fact that this whole political exercise is getting dragged out so long just frustrates the electorate and further entrenches antagonism towards the White House and the Democrats. The country knows it’s in serious financial distress bordering on catastrophic and the Democrats are fiddling around the edges. The anger can only become engrained as the economic pain is delayed and the gamesmanship furthers it.

Team Obama chose last November. They chose poorly. They continue to do so.

AnonymousDrivel on April 8, 2011 at 12:01 PM

…..and in the Senate and the White House, they’re still running away.

Let’s not forget Wisconsin.

Tim_CA on April 8, 2011 at 12:02 PM

More whining, instead of looking in the mirror.

As you say (emphasis mine):

Instead, Democrats at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue ran away from their responsibilities out of fear of voter backlash if they revealed their true agenda, and in the Senate and the White House, they’re still running away. That may be many things, but leadership it is not.

This point can not be hammered hard enough.

We are where we are because of a complete lack of leadership and shirking of responsibilities by the Democrats. Not just Obama, but Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Dodd, Hoyer, Frank, et al!

Chris of Rights on April 8, 2011 at 12:05 PM

The same people who elevated the mail room clerk to CEO of the world’s preeminent company are now surprised that the former clerk is out using the company airplane for joy rides rather than guiding the company.

Piss off, hyenas, what did you expect?

Bishop on April 8, 2011 at 11:51 AM

‘Mail-room clerk’ is being kind; little Bammie never held a job with that kind of significant responsibility.

slickwillie2001 on April 8, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Leave Barry alone! He’s working on his golf game. Things have to be prioritized.

GarandFan on April 8, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Most people either lead, follow or stay out of the way . . . Obama does none of those things. Rather, he wanders aimlessly in a semi-fugue state uttering confusing, nonsensical babble. When some other party arrives at a workable solution he jumps on it like a stud horse in a herd of mares and swears it was his idea.

rplat on April 8, 2011 at 12:23 PM

And the reason, they think, is because it’s just not a politically a good thing for him to be doing to be getting involved in this kind of fight do his job when he’s positioning himself for reelection and doesn’t want to be mired in this back and forth over a few billion dollars in spending bothered with that whole presidency thing.

FIFY

miConsevative on April 8, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Last November we had an election, and the Democrat Party got wiped out, the biggest seat change in 70 years. But the Senate didn’t change parties, because Big Labor -Unions had a firewall in place for Senators like Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer for example. After the election the majority in the Democrat party that were left after the carnage – were the Progressives, they are now OWNED by Big Labor. Everything we are watching right now about the Democrat’s position on this budget, is being dictated by Big Labor. The media is representing it Democrat vs Republicans. It’s not It’s Unions vs Republicans. Don’t believe me, than why did the Unions just pour so much time, money and effort, into a Wisconsin STATE Supreme Court Election? The outcome effects “Feeding” the Democrats, with Union Dues – by public sector workers – via tax payers dollars, that pay them. So Big Labor is threatening to shut the government down over a budget that there really isn’t any disagreement over. Big Labor Unions are trying to Bully the Will of the People. That’s all that is going on. Trumpka can stick his hand up the back of Harry Reid’s head and tell him what he has to say and do, all he wants, we can see him :)

As for Obama it’s not a big mystery, the position he has taken on Libya third middle eastern war, and this budget. Obama is not going to anger the Unions and he doesn’t want to be seen as George W Bush’s 3rd term attacking middle eastern countries over oil (Obama wants to be reelected)…so he down plays it. Everything is going to be put through a political filter from now until November 2012 because Obama is running for reelection.

Dr Evil on April 8, 2011 at 12:46 PM

The one thing I can’t figure out why would Barrack Obama want a second term…there is nothing but Congressional Investigations to look forward to from here on out.

Dr Evil on April 8, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Welcome to the Union Socialist States of America,

led by the Lion of Libya.

Dhuka on April 8, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Toyota and other lean companies have a principle for leaders called genchi genbutsu – which is “go and see”. You can’t understand and problem solve if you don’t get out there and see for yourself. I always think of this when I re4d about Obama and his “above the fray” management style. It’s called lazy poor leadership.

Free Indeed on April 8, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I always think of this when I re4d about Obama and his “above the fray” management style. It’s called lazy poor leadership.

Free Indeed on April 8, 2011 at 12:58 PM

It’s called playing politics – instead of governing. Maybe Obama did keep his transparency promise, he is transparent.

Dr Evil on April 8, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Can’t you Dems just let him eat his waffle?

john bono on April 8, 2011 at 11:28 AM

+1

Angry Dumbo on April 8, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Git ‘er Done! Shut ‘er Down!

bbordwell on April 8, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Cut off Obama’s vacation money and greens fees and he’ll be all over that budget.

tpitman on April 8, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Democrats Thinking Americans not terribly impressed with presidential leadership on budget anything

Fixed

NoFanofLibs on April 8, 2011 at 2:17 PM

The Unions Democrats are threatening to strike and shut the government down. Didn’t the President give a speech on Bullying? This is a back door strike – No one said it would be easy to wean the Democrats off the Union teat.

Dr Evil on April 8, 2011 at 4:09 PM

This assumes facts not yet in evidence.

I have seen no leadership on the part of Wee Barry Soetoro that can be pointed to either positively or negatively.

turfmann on April 8, 2011 at 7:01 PM