‘The price of greatness,” Winston Churchill once said, “is responsibility.”
There can no longer be any doubt that President Obama is unwilling to pay that tariff.
In a world defined by uncertainty and ever-stronger enemies, the president’s administration announced this week that American armed forces would be cut to historically low levels. But the sad farce doesn’t end there.
Last Thursday, we also learned that the president’s new budget won’t include
a minor but useful reform he’d proposed last year to trim entitlement spending. The rejection of these changes — ones that every citizen capable of basic arithmetic should know are necessary to save America’s pension program — is telling.
After ten years of war, that is, the military gets gutted while civilian entitlements remain sacred.
This is a White House in which short-term ideological calculations always rule the roost.
Less than a month ago, the president spoke of “working together” with Congress — now he is calling for an end to the era of austerity. (Did it ever begin?) The president’s budget next year proposes increased spending on favorite (wasteful) programs. This is playing to the favorite liberal myth that austerity doesn’t work, that only continued binging can end the hangover. The president knows that the U.S.’s fiscal position remains tenuous, and knows that ballooning deficits will make recoveries much harder in the future.
So what’s changed in the last month?
Except politics. A month ago, the pageantry of a national address offered the president an opportunity to present a “face of moderation,” as the leader willing to make hard choices. But now, elections loom, Democrats are worried, and leadership is too hard.