In his column in today's New York Times entitled "The President Surrenders" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/opinion/the-president-surrenders-on-debt-ceiling.html?hp), Paul Krugman intersperses venom directed at Republicans with bile aimed at the president. Krugman's anger at Republicans could be anticipated; however, his furor with the president is unprecedented:
"And then there are the reported terms of the deal, which amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president.
. . . .
In fact, Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats.
. . . .
Did the president have any alternative this time around? Yes.
First of all, he could and should have demanded an increase in the debt ceiling back in December. When asked why he didn’t, he replied that he was sure that Republicans would act responsibly. Great call.
. . . .
But wouldn’t taking a tough stance have worried markets? Probably not. In fact, if I were an investor I would be reassured, not dismayed, by a demonstration that the president is willing and able to stand up to blackmail on the part of right-wing extremists. Instead, he has chosen to demonstrate the opposite."
Now consider what the New York Times's token conservative, bad boy columnist, Ross Douthat, has to say in his op-ed entitled "The Diminished President" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/opinion/the-diminished-president.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fopinion%2Findex.jsonp):
"But winning a debate on points isn’t a substitute for looking like a leader. It’s one thing to bemoan politics-as-usual when you’re running for the White House. It’s quite another to publicly throw up your hands over our 'dysfunctional government' when you’re the man the voters put in charge of it.
. . . .
This leaves Americans to contemplate two possibilities more alarming than debt-ceiling brinkmanship. First, that we’re living through yet another failed presidency. And second, that there’s nobody waiting in the wings who’s up to the task either."
In essence, this is one of those rare instances where Krugman and Douthat are in agreement: Obama lacks the leadership skills to take the US forward.
Where have you previously heard someone bemoan this lack of leadership? Have another look at "Official: Obama Worst President in U.S. History" (http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2010/08/official-obama-worst-president-in-us.html), written almost a year ago, in which I labeled an absence of leadership as the hallmark of the Obama administration. Sadly, nothing has occurred to make me change my opinion.