This morning I mentioned a news story that presented the debt-ceiling showdown as another illustration of no-one's-to-blame partisan gridlock in Washington. Here are samples of the two main kinds of mail that have come in. First, from a reader who is an association official (i.e., lobbyist) in D.C.:
The reason people think you are biased is clear from this example- You write:
“…the 44th president, like his 43 predecessors, believes that the United States should honor its sovereign debt, as part of maintaining the "full faith and credit of the United States."
What kind of journalist doesn’t mention every time the President’s position on this issue is referenced that he opposed the raising of the debt ceiling when he was a Senator?
Here are Obama’s thoughts on the debt limit in 2006, when he voted against increasing the ceiling:
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."
In 2007 and in 2008, when the Senate voted to increase the limit by $850 billion and $800 billion respectively, Obama did not bother to vote.
Source: National Review Online
I hope this reader already knows the point I'm about to make, and is cynically spinning the argument, as opposed to his actually not being aware of the political fundamentals. ("What kind of a lobbyist doesn't realize ...?"):
Obama and the other Democrats who voted against debt-ceiling increases under George W. Bush were behaving like the Republicans who voted against increases under Bill Clinton, and like previous "out"-party members when previous presidents have requested increases. That is, they were casting cheap, symbolic No votes to embarrass the incumbent, while not lifting a finger to keep the debt-ceiling increase from actually going through.