So how are we supposed to have an “adult conversation” with a President and Demcoratic Party who view the fiscal mess as just another political game?
Obama’s decision to avoid entitlements was instantly deemed as irresponsible. Progressive blogger Andrew Sullivan interpreted the message as “screw you, suckers” to future generations. The usually Obama-friendly Washington Post editorial page pithily described him as “Punter-in-Chief.” Republicans expressed outrage.
But for Hill Democrats — so often at odds with Obama for the past two years — this omission was no sin. It was a gift, in their view, the setting of a political trap for a Republican Party divided between conservatives pushing for major changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and a GOP leadership wary of the political peril of tinkering with Americans’ retirement security.
With Obama refusing to offer his own plan for entitlements, congressional Republicans — as the president noted — rushed in to fill the vacuum.
“I was glad to see yesterday Republican leaders say, ‘How come you didn’t talk about entitlements?’” said Obama at his news conference Tuesday, repeatedly rebuffing reporters’ attempts to get him to offer his own entitlement reforms. “I think that’s progress.”
And, in fact, Republican leaders have ruefully agreed to unveil their own list of “significant, not around-the-edges” reforms, according to a GOP aide.
“They are suckers,” said one senior Democratic congressional aide of the House GOP plans to release the first detailed proposals to reduce entitlement spending. “They have painted themselves into a corner.”
The “they” who are called “suckers” by Democrats are the people who take this nation’s finances seriously, namely, you.