GOP can capitalize on Obama's irresponsible budget

Republicans need to take up Obama's rhetoric: Photo: Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY, February 15, 2012—President Obama submitted a breathtakingly unserious budget earlier this week. One Democratic congressman called it a “nervous breakdown on paper,” Charles Krauthammer referred to it as “scandalous,” and most people at least admit that it is a political, rather than a policy, document.

The politics might play well for the president’s opponents though, who should demand that the Senate vote on it.

Republicans in both legislative houses, as well as the major presidential candidates, would do well to make it a theme until they get the vote. The public needs to understand what a massive abdication of responsibility the Obama budget is.

Specifically, voters need to be reminded that it represents a broken promise—a major one. In the first few days of his presidency, the president “pledged” to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.

“Vote on the budget!”

In February 2009, President Obama declared, “We risk sinking into a other crisis down the road as our interest payments rise, our obligations come due, confidence in our economy erodes, and our children and our grandchildren are unable to pursue their dreams because they are saddled with out debts.

That year, the federal deficit stood at around $1.4 trillion. The President’s latest budget proposal runs more that a trillion-dollar deficit, and that’s based on the most optimistic of growth projections. 

Obama either lied or had no idea what he was talking about three years ago. Whichever is the case, there is scant evidence that he has learned anything in the intervening period to persuade Americans that he can avoid the same mistakes in another term.

“Vote on the budget!”

The American people deserve to understand what the president’s priorities are: higher taxes, greater debt, and ignoring long term risks. A debate over the budget in the senate would reveal those priorities.

They also need to know that Senate democrats are complicit in the game. Harry Reid is providing cover for the president by refusing to take up real bills. The GOP should drive a wedge between the two, and Obama’s budget provides an adequate tool.

It will also help make the point that the “Do-nothing Congress” is really the Do-nothing Senate. If Republicans can pit Reid and his senate colleagues against the president, then senate races across the country will become more nationalized as voters realize that Democrats are impeding business.   

“Vote on the budget!”

One of two things will result from a floor vote. Either Obama’s budget will fail like his previous one, which did so spectacularly, or it will fail with various senators on record as having supported it.

A senatorial repudiation of his budget would highlight just how irresponsible Obama is, and those who side with the president will put themselves at electoral risk in November. Moreover, the fact that it will not pass the Senate will demonstrate emphatically that key members of his own party know what Republicans know: that the president has no idea what the long term economic health of the country requires.

“Vote on the budget!”

If Obama wasn’t to play politics with the budget, let him do so. If Republicans play along, they will win.


Learn more about the author at 

Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the “Rich Like Me” political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic TrainingTunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative.


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Rich Stowell

Rich Stowell has written about politics and travel for the Washington Times Communities since 2011. He is a soldier in the Utah National Guard and a fellow at the Center for Communication and Community at the University of Utah. Rich is the author of "Nine Weeks: A Teacher's Education in Army Basic Training"and continues to blog about military issues at “My Public Affairs.”

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