From Megan McCardle on the President’s Speech

While I voted for the President and may again, I find he doesn’t seem like a bold leader. Here a suggestion of why:

… there’s rather a big poison pill for Congress in here: Obama has proposed no pay-for. Or rather, he proposed that Congress figure out how to pay for it:

The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next ten years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I’m asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan — a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run.

One gets the dreadful feeling that the more ambitious plan may consist of asking Congress to find another couple of trillion under the couch cushions.

As MuniLass said over Twitter,

Obama: “Here’s the deal: I take credit for the new spending now; you take credit for making politically unpopular cuts later.”

This is becoming a signature move for Obama. As far as I can recall, he has never taken the risk of proposing anything even potentially unpopular; even with something like health care, he let Congress take the lead. Eh voila–anything you like in the plan is a product of his wise leadership, while anything unfortunate is, y’know, the not-perfect stuff he had to sign in order to get Americans health care.


One response to “From Megan McCardle on the President’s Speech

  1. On health care I think he also learned from the Clintons. They took the lead and found that Congress didn’t like the President dictating legislation. It was a strategic move to hold back. I think the President is what he appears to be — someone who is pragmatic and wants to build consensus. I’ve been reading through Woodward’s book on Obama’s foreign policy, and am rather impressed with his decision making style there. In his failed effort to reach a grand compromise with the House there is one group he really pissed off, and he must have known it would — the left wing of his own party.

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