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Mr. Boehner sincerely believes that blocking the debt ceiling hike cannot be an option in any discussion about the size of the budget, and has said that a government default on our debt would have a calamitous effect on our economy.

This doesn’t mean, however, a reasonable agreement can’t be reached that cuts spending by the same amount we raise the debt ceiling, which is what he wants to do.

The irony in all of this — and let’s throw in hypocrisy, too — is that then-freshman Sen. Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 when he was attacking President George W. Bush just about every other day. Here’s what he said at the time, according to National Review Online:

“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.”

Mr. Bush’s budget deficit in fiscal 2006 was a tame $242 billion when Mr. Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling. It fell to $161 billion in 2007 — delivering on Mr. Bush’s promise to cut the deficit in half — the year before the great recession hit and tax revenues plunged, boosting the 2008 deficit.

Mr. Bush’s last four deficits totaled $1.1 trillion. Mr. Obama’s first four deficits totaled $5.2 trillion.

On Feb. 23, 2009, Mr. Obama promised the American people he would “cut the deficit we inherited by the end of my first term in office.” Not even close. Not only have his record budget deficits remained in the trillion-plus range, but they are expected to stay in that range for the next several years at best and, possibly, for the rest of this decade.

The president is still blaming George W. Bush for his sky-high budget deficits, while others are more accurately calling the mountain of debt Mr. Obama has piled up “a failure of leadership.”

In the final analysis, the two sides in this debate have been talking past one another. The Republicans want to work out a plan to cut spending and shrink the debt, while Mr. Obama seems fixated on shifting the blame, picking a fight and scoring political points.

The latter doesn’t sound like leadership to me.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.