Content to offer blind opposition, the Obama administration never put forward a detailed plan of its own, though it insisted it had one, a fact that resulted in a moment of unintentional comedy when White House press secretary Jay Carney irritatedly asked unconvinced reporters: “You need it written down?” When it comes to the Obama administration and spending restraint, the American people have every reason to demand that the president put it in writing.
And so we are led to this sorry pass. We are sympathetic to protests that S&P may have reacted more strongly to the political drama surrounding the debt-ceiling debate than was justified by the underlying economics: Despite the troubles in the eurozone, which are quite severe, Germany and France currently boast of higher credit ratings than that of the United States, a nation that accounts for nearly a quarter of the world’s economic output. But even those who believe S&P has overreacted must concede that the finances of the United States have been considerably weakened since 2008. Obama’s deficits have been unprecedented in peacetime, and this downgrade is unprecedented for our nation, at war or at peace. Its effects remain unknown at this time, but its causes do not: S&P spelled out its reasoning quite clearly.
Entitlement reform is the “key issue.” The Tea Party is not standing in the way of entitlement reform. Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid are. Democrats believe that they have discovered a cartoon villain in the Tea Party, and they are hoping that American voters are gullible enough to be distracted by the political theatrics. Come November 2012, Americans should keep in mind both the insult and the injury — to the nation and its credit. President Obama has indeed “made history,” as he promised, but not the sort that we might have hoped for.