When we heard that the President was going to address the nation on Monday night we were filled with hope. We anticipated that the President’s purpose was to announce that a compromise had been reached on the debt ceiling and that financial disaster had been avoided.
Imagine our surprise when the President stepped up to the podium and repeated the same political talking points that we had been hearing for the past several weeks. The President favors a “balanced approach” including spending cuts AND increases in revenue. Nothing new here. The Republicans want to solve the deficit problem on the backs of the poor and the middle class. Nothing new here either. The President wants those who agree with his approach to contact their congressman and make their voice heard. That’s new…but weak.
Then the President said that he supported the plan crafted by Senate Majority Leader Reid. Curious because Reid’s plan gives the Republicans everything they want….spending cuts WITHOUT any increase in revenue.
Speaker Boehner followed the President with a short rebuttal. His comments were full of inaccuracies and amounted to little more than a personal attack on the President. They were also redundant as the President was giving Boehner everything he asked for.
The President was he usual eloquent self. But his message was last week’s news. The Grand Bargain is dead. The President is not going to get the revenue increases that he desires. The Tea Party members have successfully framed the debate. The debt ceiling will be increased. There will be cuts in spending. And the top 2% wage earners in the country will continue to pay a lower percentage in taxes than their secretaries. The only question is whether the length of deal will be long enough to take us through the next election, as the President prefers; or will the Republicans get their way and force the nation to go through this debate again in six months. Our money is on the Republicans.
There was no news Monday night. This was a night for more of the same...partisan politics and political talking points. The President won the debate over style but it appears that he has lost the debate over substance.