Well … yes, in fact, he did. National Journal includes this clip of Jon Stewart’s reaction to Barack Obama’s prime-time speech on Monday as part of its roundup of comic reactions, but it’s Stewart that gets most critical of Obama. Jimmy Kimmel might have had the funnier response, however:
Did the President quit? It’s hard to tell, since the President didn’t look like he was offering much in the first place. He’d insist on being the point man for negotiations, and then go public and scold Republicans for not compromising while never bothering to tell people the specifics of his own demands. Republicans made theirs excruciatingly clear, passing two bills in the House while the Senate followed Obama’s lead and produced nothing at all. In this strange national speech, Obama seems to have pushed himself away from the table, washing his hands of the crisis he helped stoke. That followed the collapse of his position on tax hikes, which Harry Reid abandoned, leaving Obama as the only one still talking about tax hikes.
Ironically, the path to a resolution may become more clear without Obama involved in the negotiations, as Congress can now focus on combining the Reid and Boehner plans once they pass in both chambers. Obama’s lack of leadership in this episode won’t be soon forgotten.
On that point, IBD’s editors agree:
Last Friday, at the end of his press conference on the debt, President Obama said: “I think if you want to be a leader, then you got to lead.” Too bad Obama isn’t taking his own advice.
It’s possible that Obama thinks talking about an issue is the same as leading on it. After all, in July alone, the president has held three press conferences and a town hall, delivered three press briefings, a radio address and a prime-time speech — all devoted to the debt ceiling negotiations.
But in the real world, leadership means standing in front of the parade and directing its course. All Obama has done since the debt crisis emerged more than two years ago is posture, issue platitudes and try to score political points from the tail end of the march.
You can boil this down to three words: Where’s his plan?