Hypocrisy? No. An Absence of Integrity? Absolutely.

Whay ever happened to this guy? Boy, we sure could use someone like him about now...

Whay ever happened to this guy? Boy, we sure could use someone like him about now…

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

Source: WSJ

28 thoughts on “Hypocrisy? No. An Absence of Integrity? Absolutely.

  1. Senator Obama cast a symbolic vote and never threatened to link the raising of the debt ceiling to a repeal of the Bush era tax cuts. The debt ceiling was never in danger of not being raised. The exact opposite is true today. He’s expressed a willingness to negotiate a “grand bargain”, but not over an issue of policy and settled law. (Obamacare) Negotiating the debt limit every few months in an attempt to get back what was lost at the ballot box is unprecedented, and that is what’s putting us at risk. Not his unwillingness to negotiate….

    • He’s expressed a willingness to negotiate a “grand bargain”, but not over an issue of policy and settled law.

      Then it would be silly to ever vote on anything that is settled as being legal.

      Will all black readers please report to the South?

      Negotiating the debt limit every few months in an attempt to get back what was lost at the ballot box is unprecedented, and that is what’s putting us at risk.

      One could just as easily (and more accurately) say that the Senate’s abject refusal to allow a vote on an actual Federal Budget (and no, I don’t count the President’s budget proposals, though they are the only thing he’s ever done that brings the Left and Right together… in voting them down) is to blame.

      The Senate, run by a man who calls the Speaker of the House a coward for not “allowing” a vote on a “clean” CR has refused to bring to a straight up or down vote HUNDREDS of bills passed by the House, including over a dozen jobs bills and now at least half a dozen funding bills (one of which the President demanded he get today, ignoring that it had already been passed by the House with only Democrats voting nay).

      And sorry, but “give in completely and then we can talk” is not any kind of bargain (and is what sunk Bush the Elder, I would hasten to point out_.

      Democrats have long shown that promises of future behavior are to be treated as utter lies, because after they get what they want out of you, they will never ever so much as consider following through on their end of the bargain.

      • I don’t think he’s said give in completely. He’s said lets negotiate on the real issue of the budget, and not link it to Obamacare. In terms of lies, let’s be honest. Both sides do this crap. Harry Ried agreed to a CR with a budget number, a republican budget number of $988M versus the $1.058B number the dems wanted. This was a compromise, and Boehner assured him it would remain a clean bill if it came in at the lower spending level. Fat chance. Bottom line is that we could go back and forth with this all day, and we’d likely not solve much. Given the unprecedented nature of the inclusion of settled policy where it clearly doesn’t belong makes me think that a vote on a clean CR is the best path for all.

        • Given the unprecedented nature of the inclusion of settled policy where it clearly doesn’t belong makes me think that a vote on a clean CR is the best path for all.

          And it clearly needs to be said again – it is not unprecedented. Just because you’re a moron with the memory of a goldfish doesn’t mean that history never happened.

          It happened as recently as Reagan with the Fairness Doctrine, something even less important than forcing me to buy something I have no desire to buy.

          • If I’m such a moron, let’s simply end the discussion here. I come to this site to avoid people who hide behind a screen and call people names. Jack and I disagree on most things, but have a mutual respect. I’ll wait for him to weigh in, and be done with you…..

            • I come to this site to avoid people who hide behind a screen and call people names

              Jack is fully aware of who I am – he even has my physical address (btw, Greg, I’m still waiting, buddy… Thought you were gonna come teach me a lesson…)

              And of course you’ll be done with me. you’ve made utterly false claims, and been called on it. I’m not shocked you’d get pissy about it.

              Liars usually do.

        • Taking Obamacare off the table only makes sense if you aren’t paying attention. The problem is, we have a debt spiraling out of control. I did a simple plot of the debt against the year (using data from 2000-2013). It fits a quadratic nicely (R2=0.987). The formula is
          debt= 0.049245(year^2) – 196.73(year) + 196,479 (debt in $trillion). Revenue isn’t as clear cut (messy). It kind of fits a line with equation revenue= 0.14589(year) – 288
          So, if we keep spending like this, the debt and revenue works out like this:

          Year Debt Revenue
          2007 $8.9 trillion $5.2 trillion
          2013 $16.7 trillion $5.4 trillion
          2015 $20 trillion $6.0 trillion
          2017 $24 trillion $6.3 trillion
          2020 $31 trillion $6.7 trillion

          Is this really the time to introduce a (very) costly entitlement program that no one knows how much it will cost? How can you discuss the bigger issue of the budget and leave this program off the table? Plot the numbers yourself. This country is in huge trouble and not in the distant future. We need to get our tax and spending situation under control now and that will require hard choices in EVERY aspect of the budget. This plot clearly shows the lack of leadership of our President and Congressional leaders of both parties. Why haven’t such graphs been all over the news when explaining this situation?

          • Nit to pick: Where did you get your revenue numbers? I thought yearly receipts were around $2.7 Trillion, and spending in the ~$3.5 Trillion ballpark.

            Precise numbers notwithstanding, yes we are in terrible fiscal shape and its getting worse by the day. A tick up in interest rates and the whole thing implodes.

            • I included Social Security. I included everything; personal income taxes, corporate taxes, import duties, Social Security, etc. Since the expenditures and debt involve them, I thought it fair to include all revenue streams. It does make the debt look not quite as bad vs revenue, but it still looks bad. It just shows that it isn’t hopeless….yet.

              I found it at http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/. Their income tax and social security numbers seemed similar to others I have seen. It was difficult to find a site that had the numbers year by year.

              • Hope vs hopelessness seems to be more or less a factor of how likely you think it is to educate people and inspire them away from the entitlement mentality and the addiction to other people’s money as well as educate them away from the anti-American attitudes and anti-Liberty attitudes so pervasive right now.

                Good luck. You’ll be fighting the entire education system as well as the mainstream media.

              • You are extremely smart I will give that to you for sure! And thanks for the math. For myself, being full of common sense, which I heard yesterday has died and was buried, all I have to hear is how the government is spending and spending and on what to realize I will be working the rest of my life. Your math proves that my heartburn is real….but I ain’t telling no doctor and I ain’t answering any of their questions either (smile).

              • The totals you indicate above are total across Federal, State, and Local receipts, from the first tab on the website you indicate.

                2014 numbers (estimates, I assume):

                1st tab: Total receipts, Fed+State+Local:
                Total Direct Revenue $5.9 trillion
                Income Taxes $2.2 trillion
                Social Insurance Taxes $1.5 trillion
                Ad valorem Taxes $1.2 trillion
                Fees and Charges $0.5 trillion
                Business and Other Revenue $0.5 trillion

                From the 2nd tab: Total receipts, Fed only:
                Total Direct Revenue $3.0 trillion
                Income Taxes $1.7 trillion
                Social Insurance Taxes $1.0 trillion
                Ad valorem Taxes $0.2 trillion
                Fees and Charges $0.0 trillion
                Business and Other Revenue $0.1 trillion

                3rd tab: Total reciepts, State(s) only:
                Total Direct Revenue $1.7 trillion
                Income Taxes $0.4 trillion
                Social Insurance Taxes $0.4 trillion
                Ad valorem Taxes $0.5 trillion
                Fees and Charges $0.2 trillion
                Business and Other Revenue $0.2 trillion

                5th tab: Local only:
                total Direct Revenue $1.2 trillion
                Income Taxes $0.0 trillion
                Social Insurance Taxes $0.1 trillion
                Ad valorem Taxes $0.5 trillion
                Fees and Charges $0.3 trillion
                Business and Other Revenue $0.2 trillion

                These numbers don’t quite seem to add up, but that may be because they are “rounding” to 100 Billion Dollars! For example, I know some localities collect income taxes (NYC for example). In any case, the 5.9 Trillion number is receipts for all levels of government, with slightly more than half going to the Federal Government.

          • Why haven’t such graphs been all over the news when explaining this situation?
            **************
            You want to know why?
            I’ll tell you why.
            Because the majority of Americans either don’t care about it at all and are busy living in their fantasy world where Obama is going to give them everything they need -or- they are simply too stupid to read and understand those figures.

            Anybody not included in those two categories does care and does understand but they are trying to forget about it because they know there is nothing they can do to change it.
            They’re just hanging on to the runaway train with their eyes closed so it will hurt less when the train crashes.
            And crash it will.

            THAT is why the media isn’t all over it.
            Besides, why cover some boring, tedious figures when you can do stories on such scintillating subjects as Miley Cyrus?

          • Is this really the time to introduce a (very) costly entitlement program that no one knows how much it will cost?
            **************
            Well, if you are an outclassed, know-nothing, rank amateur idiot who demands to have his way like a spoilt, petulant child, then yes, now is the time for it.

    • Senator Obama cast a symbolic vote and never threatened to link the raising of the debt ceiling to a repeal of the Bush era tax cuts.

      That’s your defense?

      It was “symbolic”?

      Imagine a “symbolic” vote in favor of repealing the 13th Amendment, or mandating that public schools teach that the Holocaust never happened…

    • 1. Boy, am I glad to see you back with a comment. If I had known this old quote would do it, I would have used it months ago.
      2. I agree that some means needs to be found to unlink the raising of the debt ceiling to this kind of drama…but whatever it is, it also has to be something that makes raising the debt ceiling painful for the President and Congress that does it.
      3. Not to nit-pick, but as several law professors and commentators have pointed out, the ACA is not yet settled law—now when a substantial portion of the public, Congress and culture think it’s wrong and even unconstitutional. “Settled law” means not only that a law has been passed and OK’d by the courts, it also means that it is “settled’ in the sense that it is universally accepted.
      Brown v Bd of Education is settled law…nobody’s trying to repeal or over-turn it, or would seriously propose such things. Roe, Citizen’s United, Kelo (the eminent domain case) and others, and the current state of affirmative action law are NOT settled. There are more legal challenges to the ACA winding their way through the court system still. It’s the law, but it’s not yet settled law.
      4. This President doesn’t like to negotiate, especially with Congress. It’s one of his most striking deficits as a leader. Any situation like this is an opportunity—if he wants a grand bargain (I doubt that he does, because he could have had one by now), this is as good a chance as he’s going to get.
      5. Since he once acknowledged that raising the debt limit is a sign of failure, then talking about how to curtail debt in conjunction with doing so follows naturally and responsibly—or, if he really thinks now it’s no big deal, then he should specifically and credibly explain why.

      • I see your point on “settled law”. and perhaps it’s a phrase that in this context we should abandon. After all, what is truly settled, and when? That being said, we have a procedure in place to deal with issues that change, need to be tweaked, or abandoned all together. Elections certainly play a part in how, and more specifically when this is done. A negotiation clearly is needed here. Most reasonable people on either side would agree. I simply take exception to it being done in this manner.

        Unfortunately, there’s no trust, and less statesmanship on display. The combination (in part fueled by the media) is what has us on the brink of default, and chaos.

        Good to be back. I still read, just less time to comment. Too busy grading papers!!!

        • My understanding is that a pair of elections were held shortly after Obamacare was passed, and a large number of people voted for precisesly the goals that are being pursued now.

          Also, as far as I can make out, Jack, the spectre of deafult is a false one. Having to stop borrowing money is not the same as not being able to pay the bill on the credit card. Last I read, monthly tax income is about four times the interest payment required. But I’m no expert on economy – it’s just what i’ve heard.

          • Last I read, monthly tax income is about four times the interest payment required.

            The problem breaks down to what we’d have to stop paying money on while we diverted to paying debt service.

            As it stands, there are a few things we are required by law to pay before we get to anything in the Federal Budget, and only one of them is written into the Constitution (though I’d argue at least one item in the Budget is required, there is a history of not having it around, so it could be argued away).

            I speak of SocSec and the Medi’s. As I have said repeatedly, we don’t take in enough to pay for those and service on the debt, so one of the entitlements would have to take a hit, which would require Congress admit that the benefit of those programs is not a given, and that the benefits continue at the good graces of Congress.

            You wanna see a fun time? Watch what happens when the US Government decides it simply won’t pay SocSec anymore because it needs the money to pay on the debt.

            Then watch what happens when interest rates spike (oh, and btw kids – they won’t spike to the historic average, they will go much higher so this is a low-ball number and reality will be much, much worse) to around 6%, meaning that annual service on the debt goes from a few hundred billion to over a trillion dollars a year.

  2. I don’t think he’s said give in completely.

    I’m not sure what you consider to be “giving in completely”, but calling for republicans to pass a CR that does not mention the ACA – and to also pass a hike to the debt ceiling – is asking them to completely give up on their stated goals, all on what any rational observer would know to be a false promise of being willing to work on some sort of compromise.

    The Republicans started saying “no funding, repeal the ACA” and have instead shifted to “one year hold on it’s implementation”. That is all the give I think can reasonably be expected. Now the Dems should go from “ACA now and forever” to “ok, we’ll give it a year’s wait.”

    And as I’ve said, when Dems say “do this thing we want now and we’ll do this thing you want later”, you should know that they are lying.

  3. I must have really been blotto last night after the Red Sox-Rays game—I rewrote that last sentence twice specifically to avoid a double-negative, and STILL screwed it up. My apologies. Fixed now ti say what I intended to say, and not the opposite. May be it’s not so difficult—I mean easy—to criticize a leader after all…

  4. Obama is more concerned about the name of the Washington Redskins than he is about reaching a compromise or even listening to what the American public is saying. So say some young folks from Texas.

    I spent several hours today at a business meeting in Houston. There were tons of young folks in these meetings and their ages ranged from 23 to 30. The number one discussion was ObamaCare and how they did not realize it was going to cost them money! Either in higher insurance premiums via their company’s offerings or via an increase in their taxes to pay for the subsidies (yeah, just watch that hell raising coming). A few thought it was suppose to be free. (No joke) The second most commented was per the 2nd Amendment (are you kidding these were Texas kids talking) ; the 3rd was, yes, of all things, the Washington Redskin name. Most felt (for a President of one of the most powerful nations in the world) that the government had no business injecting government control towards a football team because the President thought it was racial.

    Most all of these young folks had voted for Obama. Most all now regret it.

    • I should note that young women would bear the brunt of these higher p[remiums due to the insurance mandate.

      Straight women use much more contraception than gay men, just like persons with multiple drunk-driving convictions cause more collisions than persons with clean driving records. So, just like auto insurance companies charging persons with multiple drunk-driving convictions higher premiums than persons with clean driving records, health insurance companies are going to charge straight women higher premiums than gay men because of this mandate.

      How is that for a war on women?

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