Blame the President
Democrats and Republicans are predictably hurling blame at one another after news broke Monday that a bipartisan group of congressional leaders had failed to make a deal to reduce U.S. debt, and two operatives from the George W. Bush administration, are, of course, blaming the president.
“It’s not going to advantage the president, even if these numbers stay where they are today, because at the end of the day, people are going to say, ‘You’re the guy in charge. Why didn’t you get something done?'” former senior Bush advisor Karl Rove told Fox News. Likewise, in a Washington Post column, former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said, “The super committee failed primarily because President Obama gave a shrug.”
Blame Congressional Gridlock
President Obama’s entire first term “has shown that neither political party can impose its will on the other,” countered William Galston at The New Republic in response to the news. “Unless he were to win a victory as large as FDR in 1936 or LBJ in 1964 (and there’s no prospect of that), his second-term choices reduce to two: continuing gridlock or a new formula for doing the people’s business across party lines.”
“The idea of the committee was, in part, to save Congress from itself,” said Michael Cooper at The New York Times. “It was Congress lashing itself to the mast, like Odysseus, to resist the siren calls of lobbyists and special interest groups. But in the end, the ship went nowhere.”
It’s no surprise then that citizen reaction reflected disgust and “a record 84 percent of Americans said they disapproved of the way Congress was handling its job in the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll,” but it may be surprising to learn that some are actually celebrating the failure.
“A super committee working to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits was an absurd anachronism in the era of Occupy Wall Street,” Adam Green, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told The Huffington Post. “Good bye and good riddance,” he said.
Even if there had been a deal, only $1.2 trillion would have been cut from a projected decade-long $9 trillion in deficits and each new congress would have had to re-enact the cuts, explained Edward Morrissey at The Week. “Congress is still in session for the next 14 months before the sequestration cuts take effect. Instead of throwing our hands up in surrender, we should insist that the full Congress do its job and plan a responsible budget. There is also a benefit to this failure; it will be a long time before any Congress can propose another ‘super committee’ to avoid accountability for one of Congress’ basic responsibilities,” he argued.
Lament Shameful Election Year Futility
In the end, the battle for the White House may loom largest over the failure.
“What makes the super committee’s collapse so frustrating is that a consensus seemed to be building in favor of deficit reduction. It was reflected in the report of a presidential commission and in negotiations between Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). Now, with an election looming, the possibility of change seems remote. That isn’t just disappointing, it’s shameful,” declared a Los Angeles Times editorial.
What Do You Think?
Whose fault is the super-committee failure and does it even matter?