Oops — to quote another Texan, Gov. Rick Perry — pardon my computer-research error. Actually, it turns out that quotation isn’t from this year’s debt-ceiling debate. It’s from 2006, back when yet another Texan, President George W. Bush, wanted to routinely raise the debt ceiling — so Democrats reflexively opposed it. And the senator speaking above was the freshman from Illinois, Barack Obama.
That explains why the senator’s argument seemed so impressive — and why so many Americans and observers half a world away view Washington with contempt and confusion. Today, Washington is Hate City; it is populated by pols who scheme for partisan gain and shun patriotic duty.
Leadership in Washington needs to be born again. A good way to start would have been for Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to begin leading by putting their cards face up on the table. Show us their best bold proposals for the cuts they know we need.
“We can achieve that, and we can achieve it fairly quickly,” Obama said in his news conference. “I mean, we know what the numbers are. We know what needs to be done.” So do it.
Last Monday would have been a good time to start. Next Monday will work, too.
Martin Schram writes political analysis for Scripps Howard News Service.