By Columnist Charles Payne
I guess I speak for all Americans when I say the games in Washington DC have gotten so petty it’s an embarrassment. Having said that the key to changing what’s happening there is for these guys to stop playing to the crowd and to get back to the notion of governing. There are no babes in the woods or players that haven’t misplayed their hands in the latest round if nonsense but the notion of inflicting maximum pain is really out of bounds in a game where there are no boundaries.
President Obama says he will not piecemeal together a deal over the continuing resolution or the debt ceiling, instead demanding a blank check with a promise to negotiate later. In all fairness there isn’t a proper backdrop for Republicans to fight and any compromise would be so minuscule as to be insulting. So, this month has created the battlefield that has the stock market slowing to rubberneck the action while the public watches from the stands, slumped with anger and frustration.
Piecemeal vs. Grand Bargain
Knowing there will not be a so-called Grand Bargain President Obama continues to use the best weapon at his disposal. Sadly for him it’s not the Bully Pulpit which has been reduced to canned radio and Internet addresses on weekends and road trips where the audience is 90% non-voters (too young). The best weapon for the White House has been the press, but even this weapon is beginning to fade in part from overuse but largely from abusing its nomenclature that’s supposed to begin with honesty with the public. Last week America was told Obamacare was a success based on the millions that flooded health exchange websites.
The problem was poorly constructed websites and numbers of visits were inflated by the same people trying over and over again to get online. In California it was reported 5.6 million tried to get on that state’s website but it turns out the number was closer to 650,000 of which only 7,700 took the plunge. Even digs by uber-liberal Bill Maher and Saturday Night Live suggested there was huge demand when in fact after three years of hype and promotion demand seemed unimpressive.
Meanwhile CR drama continued to play out...
What wasn’t reported properly is the GOP passed bills to keep funding for:
Cancer patient research
• National Parks
• Coast Guard
All were shot down in a gambit that should have triggered harsh public reaction except the public was told the exact opposite. Instead the nation continued to get maximum pain, and President Obama avoided being labeled King of Pain. Since losing its filibuster-proof Congress the White House has implied that it is the weakest branch of government at the mercy of even small “factions” in the House. Maybe that’s why they’ve avoided good old fashioned negotiations in favor of inflicting the public with maximum pain knowing the blame will be heaped on their rivals.
Pain is a deterrent to be sure but it is caring and it’s not a solution.
I get how lame duck presidents endure a lonely existence as all eyes focus on the next leader and they gradually lose power. This doesn’t have to be a lame duck White House, yet its current posture is limiting action and more and more I’m hearing our Commander in Chief say: I guess I’m always hoping that you’ll end this reign ... But it’s my destiny to be the king of pain.