Barack Obama addressed the nation last evening, to make his case for raising the US' debt level, bring in spending, and raise much needed revenues. He was quickly followed by John Boehner, speaker of the lower house of the US Congress to critique his president.
Obama did not mention jobs once. Boehner did but once the word left his mouth its vanished into the hot air of partisan rhetoric. The blame falls on Obama's shoulder for not addressing straightaway the problem of putting Americans back to work. The official unemployment rate has notched up to 9,2 percent, but the figure is at least double or perhaps higher.
The Republicans regained control of the house of representatives in the 2010 bi elections on a platform to create jobs. Once in control they cynically went for Obama's jugular to cut expenditures and feather more comfortably the beds of big business, to continue shifting the tax burden on a vanishing middle class and the working poor, and above all, to make a sitting president unelectable for a second term.
In a way, Boehner and his partner in the Senate Mitch McConnell sized Obama up properly: a vain man who has no idea of how to throw the gauntlet down to best his opponents. The so called big deal which the president and Boehner sort of worked out showed that Obama was further to the right than the House leader; furthermore Obama was willing to betray his base on social security, medicare, for example.
Love the Republicans for shooting themselves in the foot: owing to the tilt towards the reactionary right, exemplified by the Tea Party like a viper within its breast, Boehner walked out on any meeting of the minds with Obama. A line thereby was drawn in the sand.
So far, the markets have kept cool, but for how long? The US will default. It will a list of ill managed economies, notably Argentina. Ideology triumphs over 'liberal politics'. This crisis once again illustrates the fatal flaws of leadership in the White House.
Ideology is trumping commonsense. In a way, the US through its propensity to war, outsourcing of work abroad, and lack of will and ideas is crumbling from within.