By John Ransom
The country may not be better off, but at least Obama is growing as a person.
And why wouldn’t he?
He’s personally taken out the world’s largest student loan to cover the four year period of instruction. His $5 trillion in student loan debt disguised as a deficit may not seem economical, but when were student loans ever supposed to have anything to do with economics? They are just resources meant to hasten- and finance- the personal journey.
Occupy Main Street, man!
As instructors, Obama has enlisted the world’s central banks, the executive departments of the United States government, Congress and most recently the Supreme Court.
Maybe, by the end of his term, Obama, in addition to having more flexibility to sell our defense to the Russians, will be a wiser and better ex-president than the last guy who thought the presidency was his own personal property: Jimmy Carter.
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Obama certainly is teaching the rest of us, by his own example, how not to be president in a “post-partisan” age.
Let’s recount two of the most important ways Obama’s presidency has given us teachable moments to ponder:
Last year, when the president failed to gain even a single vote for his budget, he spent most of the intervening time lecturing what he called a “do-nothing” Congress on the dangers of the national debt.
More accurately Obama, in between family vacations, proposed brand new out-of-control spending to be offset by higher taxes as his version of fiscal responsibility.
“We might as well do it now,” said Obama according to CBSNews as he did nothing else. “Pull off the band aid. Eat our peas.”
Congress of course left Obama to eat his own peas- peas, likely marinated by a nice cranberry vinaigrette, served out-of-doors in Martha’s Vineyard, while he and the first family enjoyed sea-breezes, sunshine and salt air.
In the meantime, Standard and Poors and other rating agencies took the unprecedented step of cutting US government bond safety ratings to the safety level of crash test dummy in a Chevy Volt.
How did those peas taste Mr. President?
It’s a funny thing: They probably tasted a little different to the rest of us out here in flyover country who do most of the living and working and taxpaying. You know? Those of us who work to protect our country, make things or sell things or serve the sick and the poor, and never get rich doing it?
But here’s the teachable moment for the rest of us: “If you can’t budget, you can’t govern,” Rep. John Spratt, a Democrat from SC, said in 2006 as the Democrats were running as The Party of Fiscal Responsibility. Spratt, who had served in Congress since 1983, became Obama’s budget chief in the House in 2009. But, he no longer serves in Congress.
It seems you can’t win re-election if you can pass a budget. Spratt was defeated in 2010 in a district he represented for over 25 years, while the Democrats under Obama didn’t pass a budget.
They still haven’t.
In 2011 Obama’s budget couldn’t even muster a single vote in Congress. Ditto for 2012.
But the budget issue dwarfs the teachable moment coming at Obama via the Supreme Court.
Obama has accused the Supreme Court of trying to subvert his own personal agenda by following the agenda as laid out by the United States Constitution.
How dare those old, white, dead men have an agenda of stable and limited government.
“I just remind conservative commentators that for years we have heard the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint,” Professor Obama taught us recently about the Court’s ability to rule on the constitutional issues surrounding Obamacare. “That an unelected group of people would somehow return or overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Here’s a pretty good example.”
Not quite as good an example as the Professor Obama calling the Supreme Court “an unelected group of people,” or accusing the Court of “judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint.”
I’m wondering at this point if Obama has even been in a courtroom.
I have to admit that my own experience in court is pretty limited. But I know this much: If Judge Judy doesn’t put up with a bunch of slappies mouthing off in small claims, I don’t think the Supreme Court Justices, liberal or conservatives, are gonna be quite content to be served by Obama thusly.
In fact, the federal courts have already responded by telling Obama to mind his own peas and let the court mind the peas of their own.
You know, since our famous Constitutional Law professor, Mr. President Obama, doesn’t seem to be very familiar with the inside of a courtroom and the etiquette practiced there, perhaps he can make a courtroom his next stop in his journey of personal discovery.
Maybe he could learn something that would help him pass a landmark law or even a budget.
You know? Assuming he gets another shot at passing one.
John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom