How long have Republicans attacked Senate Democrats for not producing a budget? Probably for at least a third of the 1,040 days since they last passed one, nearly three years ago now. One might think that Barack Obama’s political team would have prepared some kind of defense when challenged on this point by now. As Daniel Halper discovered while watching Fox’s Bret Baier interview David Axelrod, that clearly isn’t the case, as Axelrod fumbles while trying to defend the indefensible:
Axelrod attempts to lay the blame on “procedural” obstacles, but Baier stops him short:
Baier interrupted to remind Axelrod that only 51 votes are needed to pass a budget in the Senate (and, of course, there are currently 53 Democratic senators in the Senate, and only 47 Republicans).
“Understand,” Axelrod countered, before again not answering the question. “But we’ve got — we’ve got deep divisions in the Congress between the House and the Senate, and that’s complicated our ability to get these things done. And one hope is that when we win this election that there’ll be a greater spirit of cooperation moving forward.”
Baier said, “You know, people sit home and say, I have to do a budget. I have to do a budget about my family spending. Why can’t Senate Democrats do a budget if they control the Senate and they need 51 votes to put it through?”
Yet again, Axelrod punted. “Because they also don’t have to deal with the theater of politics in making their budgets. We obviously have to budget and we do budget and deal with our budgetary challenges. The president has cut domestic spending, discretionary spending, by $1.2 trillion in order to accommodate the budget and the demands of our budget. And we’re going to continue to do the things to live within our means while still moving our economy forward.”
At least Barack Obama can’t be blamed for this failure, at least not directly. He produces the budget proposals required by tradition of presidents. Unfortunately, Obama proposes budgets that even Senate Democrats can’t support. Last year’s budget proposal went down to a 0-97 defeat in the chamber controlled by his party, which in parliamentary systems would have forced his resignation.
Senate Democrats are the ones perpetrating the very “theater of politics” about which Axelrod complains. They want to manipulate issues without ever getting pinned down to a position, which is traditionally the role of the minority party in Congress. Democrats have completely abdicated leadership in the Senate, and even more than a year after the budgetary shirking became a national issue, Axelrod and the Obama team still have no defense for it.