President Obama has a one-man job agenda, instead of a national jobs agenda. Getting himself re-elected has become his full-time occupation. While all incumbents necessarily devote a portion of their time to campaigning and fundraising, Mr. Obama has ceased to keep up with the basic functions of the office. Meanwhile, the nation plummets further into debt.
On Tuesday, Moody’s Investor Service warned it would downgrade America’s credit rating unless Washington comes up with specific policies to reduce the ratio of federal debt to gross domestic product.
The credit analysts want to see a budget deal reached on the so-called “fiscal cliff,” which is the combination of the $1.2 trillion sequester and $4.5 trillion in tax hikes slated to hit on the first days of the new year. In response, House Speaker John A. Boehner said he is “not confident at all” that this can be done with the no-show leadership at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“The House has done its job on both the sequester and on the looming tax hikes that’ll cost our economy some 700,000 jobs,” the Ohio Republican told reporters on Tuesday. “And both of these, where’s the president? Where’s the leadership? Absent without leave.”
Thirteen months ago, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the U.S. long-term sovereign credit rating to AA+ over the failure to deal responsibly with the rapidly mounting debt. Since then, America added $1.5 trillion in debt, bringing the total to $16 trillion.
Congress is trying to force the president to do something about it. The House of Representatives will vote this week on a bill ordering Mr. Obama to come up with a plan by Oct. 15 for replacing the first $110 billion in automatic cuts — half of which comes from defense.
The GOP House passed a bill in May that proposed alternative savings from a variety of programs, much of it out of normally untouchable mandatory programs. Mr. Obama said he would veto the House bill, but neither he nor the Democratic Senate have bothered to come up with something else.
It’s not clear even passing a law can get the president working. Mr. Obama ignored a Friday legal deadline for a detailed report on how his administration would deal with the spending changes. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would only say on Friday that the report would be submitted to Congress “late next week,” and that it was not ready because there are “complex issues involved.”
Mr. Obama has also been a no-show to more than half of the vital, daily intelligence briefings. A new Government Accountability Institute investigation found Mr. Obama attended the presidential daily briefing a mere 44 percent of the time in his first term. As the re-election campaign geared up, the commander in chief showed up only 38 percent of the time. Even with unemployment stuck above 8 percent, Mr. Obama hasn’t convened a jobs council meeting since January.
Voters will soon decide whether they want an Oval Office occupant who puts his own career above their welfare or a president who has his priorities intact.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.