Last night the President engaged in off Broadway theatrics trying to scare the Republicans into folding on debt ceiling negotiations. Playing the role of Hollywood President, not the real President, the President said he didn’t care if this brought down his Presidency and he would not yield. He then dared Eric Cantor to call his bluff.
Mr. Speaker, this is a man giving away the game. This is the poker player smiling and shifting in his seat trying to fake you into thinking he has an awesome hand. The dramatics are a Hollywood production — a facade hiding a bitter reality for Barack Obama.
Mr. Speaker, this is the strongest sign yet that you should hold the line.
David Gergen and I had a conversation last night with Nichole Wallace and Anderson Cooper. Mr. Gergen said something interesting, Mr. Speaker. It got me thinking. He said President Obama had to raise the debt ceiling. He said President Obama just had to do whatever it took to raise the debt ceiling and deal with everything else later.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Gergen is right.
See, in history, we remember James Buchanan causing the Civil War. Not Congress.
We remember Abraham Lincoln winning the war. Not Congress.
We remember Andrew Johnson failing to finish reconciliation the way Lincoln wanted. Not Congress.
We remember Woodrow Wilson failing to establish the League of Nations. Not Congress.
We remember Herbert Hoover causing the Great Depression. Not Congress.
We remember Franklin Roosevelt for saving us from the Depression and war. Not Congress.
We credit John F. Kennedy for inspiring a nation of youth and leading us to the moon. Not Congress.
We credit Lyndon Johnson with passing the Great Society. Not Congress.
We blame Jimmy Carter for out of control inflation in the 70?s. Not Congress.
We credit Ronald Reagan with cutting taxes. Not Congress.
We blame George H. W. Bush for raising taxes. Not Congress.
We praise Bill Clinton for balancing a budget. Not Congress.
We credit George W. Bush with No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, Immigration Reform attempts, TARP, and the GM bailout. Not Congress.
Hell, when people hear Osama Bin Laden is dead, Barack Obama gets the credit, not the SEALs. And we credit him for passing Obamacare, for better or worse, even when Congressional Democrats did all the heavy lifting.
You see Mr. Speaker, we know Barack Obama is thin skinned and we know he is mindful of his legacy. This is why Barack Obama stormed out of a meeting with Republicans last night when they confronted him with the fact that his supposed spending cuts are accounting gimmicks.
Barack Obama, for the sake of his legacy, cannot afford to be the President under whom America’s credit tanks and under whom America defaults on its debts.
History will not blame Congress. History will blame Barack Obama for not doing what it takes to lead and for failing to do what it takes, no matter the cost, to keep the U.S. solvent.
Some are saying Mitch McConnell looked into Barack Obama’s eyes the other day and saw a man who won’t swerve in the game of chicken, so McConnell blinked.
That doesn’t mean Obama won’t swerve. That just means Obama is a better poker player than Mitch McConnell.
Obama knows his history. Obama knows default would be his, not Congress’s legacy. He cannot afford, for the sake of history, to be the guy who collapsed the United States.
Mr. Speaker, you can win this fight. Don’t blink. Bring Cut, Cap, and Balance to the floor. Hold the freaking line. You can do this Mr. Speaker. And if you can’t, we’ll find someone else who can.