Obama Fails To Lead

- February 28, 2011

As Obama Meets With The NGA, He Could Take A Lesson About Fiscal Leadership From Republican Governors

“On Monday, The President And The Vice President Will Host A Meeting With A Bipartisan Group Of Governors At The White House.” (The White House, Press Release, 2/25/11)


President Obama Flies Down For A Fundraising Party In Miami On March 4th, The Same Day The Government Runs Out Of Money. “President Barack Obama will travel to Florida next month to headline a fundraiser for Sen. Bill Nelson, who could face a rough road to re-election next year. The president will attend the March 4 event along with Nelson and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to a source with knowledge of the event. The dinner and reception is being held at the Miami Beach, Florida home of Judith and Michael Adler, large contributors to Democratic candidates and causes. The source tells CNN that the money raised at the event will be split between Sen. Nelson's re-election bid and the DSCC.” (Paul Steinhauser, “Obama to Florida for Nelson fundraiser,” CNN’s Political Ticker Blog, 2/18/11)

In The Meantime, Obama Has Not Met With Republican Leaders To Try To Work Out A Compromise And Keep The Government Running. “The X factor in any budget negotiation is the president. But with less than two weeks to go before a possible shutdown — and Congress out of session for most of that time —Republicans say Obama and his aides aren’t talking to GOP leaders about a short-term fix. Boehner gave a flat ‘no’ late Friday when asked whether he had any contact with the White House on the matter.” (Jonathan Allen & Carrie Budoff Brown, “How A Government Shutdown Could Happen,” Politico, 2/22/11)

“[P]resident Obama Has Put His New Spokesman In An Unenviable Position: He Is The Mouthpiece Of An Administration That Has Painfully Little To Say.” (Dana Milbank, “Jay Carney: Mouthpiece For An Inscrutable White House,” The Washington Post, 2/23/11)

  • “White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Appears To Really Enjoy Directing Reporters’ Questions To Other People So He Doesn’t Have To Answer Them. Now that President Obama has broken his silence on Libya, will that give Carney one more statement to ‘point’ reporters toward to avoid a question? Consider this: On Wednesday, Carney told reporters that he’d ‘point you’ to things six times, be they other entities or simply ‘the fact that’ something happened.” (Matt Negrin, “Will Carney Direct Queries To Obama?” Politico, 2/24/11)

When Given The Chance To Show Leadership With His Own Budget, Obama “Chose Instead To Duck” Behind “The Sort Of Budgetary Gimmicks He Once Derided.” “Having been given the chance, the cover and the push by the fiscal commission he created to take bold steps to raise revenue and curb entitlement spending, President Obama, in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, chose instead to duck. To duck, and to mask some of the ducking with the sort of budgetary gimmicks he once derided.”  (Editorial, “President Obama's Budget Kicks The Hard Choices Further Down The Road,” The Washington Post, 2/15/11)



Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Has Offered A Bill That Would Save State Taxpayers $330 Million.  “Walker offered the bill to help shore up the state's finances in advance of a budget to be delivered Tuesday that is expected to include major cuts in areas like aid to local schools and governments.  He first wants the budget repair bill passed to help clear up a $137 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year ending June 30 and ease solving a deficit of more than $3 billion over the next two years. The cuts to benefits would save taxpayers nearly $330 million through mid-2013.”  (Jason Stein, Patrick Marley, and Steve Schultze, “Walker Calls For Senate Dems To End Their Boycott And Vote,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel2/17/11)

  • “[The Plan] Would Also Require Government Workers, Who Currently Contribute Little Or Nothing To Their Pensions, To Contribute 5.8% Of Their Pay To Pensions, And Pay At Least 12.6% Of Health-Care Premiums, Up From An Average Of 6%.”  (Kris Maher And Douglas Belkin, “in Wisconsin Fight, Officials Search Capitol For Democrats,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/17/11)

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Had A $400 Million Budget Surplus Last Year, “Despite The Recession And Its Aftershocks.” “The McDonnell administration is expected to tell legislators later this week that Virginia -- despite the recession and its aftershocks -- is finishing the spending year with even more money that expected. An  additional  $174 million -- largely money not spent by agencies -- would be added to a projected surplus of at least $220 million, pushing the total on extra cash to about $400 million, according to budget officials.” (Jeff Schapiro, “Virginia Surplus Grows To Nearly $400 Million,” The Richmond Times Dispatch,8/17/10)

  • After Inheriting A $4.2 Billion Shortfall From Tim Kaine’s Administration. “McDonnell, a Republican, took office in January, facing a $4.2 billion revenue shortfall. McDonnell and the legislature refused to raise taxes, closing the hole, instead, with spending cuts and federal economic-stimulus dollars.” (Jeff Schapiro, “Virginia Surplus Grows To Nearly $400 Million,” The Richmond Times Dispatch8/17/10)

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels Issued An Executive Order Ending Collective Bargaining For State Employees Six Years Ago. “As I noted earlier, one reason Mitch Daniels didn't want a fight over labor law is because he's already taken, by executive order when he took office, much of what Walker wants. Daniels spokesman Jacob Oakman sends a detailed statement on the topic: ‘Been there, done that, six years ago. There’s been a lot of mixing up what’s going on in Indiana with what’s happening in Wisconsin. Gov. Mitch Daniels ended collective bargaining for state employees in Indiana six years ago. He issued Executive Order 05-14 on his first day in office.’” (Ben Smith, “Daniels On Wisconsin: ‘Been There, Done That,’” Politico’s “Ben Smith” Blog, 2/23/11)

  • Gov. Mitch ‘The Blade’ Daniels Dubbed The National Debt “The New Red Menace.” “Gov. Mitch ‘The Blade’ Daniels won glowing reviews from some Beltway pundits after he called the debt ‘the new Red Menace’ in a keynote speech to a gathering of thousands of conservatives in Washington D.C. this weekend. The president’s freshly-inked budget was panned by editorial boards for failing to tackle the nation’s long-term debt, which is projected to reach $15.5 trillion by the end of the fiscal year.” (Carrie Dann, “Deficit Reduction’s Popularity Moment,” MSNBC’s First Read,” 2/16/11)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Proposed A Budget That “Makes Sweeping Changes To State Government By Slashing Billions In Taxes And Spending.” “At a highly partisan tea-party event on Monday, Gov. Rick Scott unveiled his first budget proposal, one that makes sweeping changes to state government by slashing billions in taxes and spending. Scott proposed spending almost $66 billion — $4.6 billion less than this year’s budget. Scott also wants to eliminate 7 percent of the state’s government jobs, which would mean about 6,700 state-worker layoffs. He wants even more cuts the following year.” (Marc Caputo & Steve Bousquet, “Gov. Scott Proposes Spending Cuts, Lower Taxes,” The Miami Herald2/7/11)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Vetoed Democrat-Passed Budget Containing Tax Hikes And Eventually Won Passage Of His Budget That Included Major Cuts In Spending. “This year, when New Jersey Democrats proposed a tax surcharge on income above $1 million, the state faced a possible government shutdown if Christie did not relent. … He added, ‘so what happened? They sent me that tax increase, I vetoed it, immediately, within the first 30 seconds they handed it to me, I handed it right back to them. And then they passed my budget.’ After a months-long fight, Democrats in New Jersey reluctantly agreed in June to a $29.3 billion budget, along the lines of what Christie had proposed, that included $800 million in cuts to education and eliminated or reduced the funding of dozens of programs and agencies.” (Perry Bacon Jr., “N.J. Gov. Chris Christie Becoming A National Hero Of GOP,” The Washington Post, 10/30/10)

  • “The governor called the state legislature into an emergency session and pushed through a 2% cap in annual increases of property-taxes, which have risen 70% in the past decade in New Jersey. He halted popular projects, including a multibillion-dollar train tunnel to Manhattan.” (Monica Langley, “Governor Christie's Ultimate Test,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/22/10)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich “Is Determined To Transform State Government Into A Smaller, Less-Expensive And, He Assures, More-Efficient Entity.” “A seismic shift in the way state government operates and serves its citizens is at hand, provoked by a set of circumstances unique in recent history, including widespread recognition that the status quo isn't working and cannot be sustained financially. The recession has ravaged state resources, and a new Republican governor with hefty GOP majorities in the General Assembly is poised to seize the moment, determined to transform state government into a smaller, less-expensive and, he assures, more-efficient entity. ‘I really believe this is our chance,’ Gov. John Kasich said. ‘If we miss this opportunity, I'm not sure we'll have another try.’” (Joe Hallett, “Statehouse Lobbyists Seem To Get Kasich’s Message,” The Columbus Dispatch, 2/7/11)

  • Ohio Republicans Introduced Bill That Would Encourage Merit-Based Raises And Allow Non-Union Members To Refuse To Pay Dues. “The Ohio proposal, sponsored by Republican Sen. Shannon Jones, would abolish collective bargaining rights for state workers and restrict teachers, firefighters, police, university employees and local workers in their bargaining abilities. Unions would lose the ability to negotiate salary schedules and step increases in favor of merit-based raises. Unions would be barred from requiring non-members covered by their contracts to pay dues.” (Patrick Preston, “Kasich On Senate Bill 5: ‘I Am Very Optimistic,’”NBC4i, 2/21/11)

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