As we all know by now, President Obama is refusing the negotiate over raising the debt limit, which, since the House of Representatives refuses to agree to raise the limit without some kind of concessions in spending by Democrats, is raising the specter of a catastrophic default.
Conservatives have been citing as an example of the President’s hypocrisy the fact that he voted against raising the debt limit in 2006, when Bush was President and the debt owed was just about half what it is today, posing far less of a threat to the nation’s fiscal future. At that time, Senator Obama said this:
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. . . . Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
No, this is not proof of hypocrisy, for the President may well have meant what he said then, and believes what he says he believes now, which is that the debt doesn’t reflect badly on his leadership at all, doesn’t place an unconscionable burden on future generations, and doesn’t mean the U.S. can’t pay its own bills.
No, it’s not hypocrisy. But the fact that he could be so adamant then about one side of the dispute and now dismiss that very same side as not even worthy of discussion shows a startling deficit in integrity.
Oh, for the record:
Senator Obama was right….
…proving once again how much easier it is
…to criticize a leader…
…than it is to be one.
Pointer: James Taranto