Naturally, those on the right don’t see the politics as being so clever, or so benign. But they do see the politics. Leaping off of Sullivan’s blog post—“I suppose Sullivan was one of the last to figure this out”—blog Power Line concludes, Obama “is playing a game of chicken.”
He puts forward a series of proposals that he knows are more or less insane; but he also believes that Republicans will come to his rescue. They, not being wholly irresponsible, will come up with plans to reform entitlements—like, for example, the Ryan Roadmap. Ultimately, some combination of those plans will be implemented because the alternative is the collapse, not just of the government of the United States, but of the country itself. But Obama thinks the GOP’s reforms will be unpopular, and he will be able to demagogue them, thus having his cake and eating it too. Is that leadership? Of course not. But it is the very essence of Barack Obama.
Political maneuvers aside, the right has much to say about the details of the 2012 budget proposal. The primary complaint is the expected one—as summed up by David Caller columnist David Bossie in his budget reaction: “Red ink continues to be spilled at record rates with no end in sight and yet President Obama continues to ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room—our climbing $14 trillion national debt.” It doesn’t sound too different than some complaints from the left, or the center, for that matter.
But for a buoyant and very readable teardown of the president’s budget, you’d be hard-pressed to beat this morning’s editorial posted at The National Review. “Obama’s budget is bad—very bad,” write the unsigned authors. Describing the document as filled with “wishful thinking,” the Review explains the problem with tax hikes on business. You see reader, business and employees are connected. “When Uncle Sam reaches deeper into Big Business’s pocket, his hand passes straight through and into the pockets of consumers, who will pay higher prices at the filling station, in their utility bills, and at the grocery store.”
And while some liberals decry the reductions at the Pentagon as too small, the Review is having none of it.
While the president is bailing out mortgage deadbeats and playing sandbox energy tycoon, his budget shortchanges one of the few areas of spending that represent an inarguable federal responsibility: national defense. Hacking away at the military while U.S. troops are at war in Afghanistan and Iraq—and while the Middle East is undergoing historic turmoil and China grows ambitious—is problematic on its own. Doing so to free up money for spending on projects that are far beyond federal responsibility and far outside of federal expertise is asinine.
It will be interesting to see how far this “sandbox energy tycoon” can push his budget, and just how much it will change behind closed doors.