Quagmire in Afghanistan. Check. Irresponsible fiscal policy. Check.
Now Obama is threatening to veto any budget that includes additional cuts in defense spending. Some Islamic Marxist he turned out be.
Obama supporter Andrew Sullivan sums it up well:
If this is the president’s attitude toward the debt crisis, made so much worse by the recession, it means this country’s pressing problems have been deferred until he gets re-elected. Change? This is not just more of the same; it’s far worse – and with every year, more dangerous.
But will there be a credible alternative in 2012? Probably not. Mitt Romney? Please. You don’t replace a pacifier with a panderer. As for the other contenders, Tim Pawlenty comes off as Romney-lite. Mike Huckabee, while seemingly a nice guy, still thinks the Earth is flat and he’s 50 times smarter than Sarah Palin.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels appears to be the only Republican option worth taking seriously. His speech at CPAC was refreshingly “adult”:
Lost to history is the fact that, in my OMB assignment, I was the first loud critic of Congressional earmarks. I was also the first to get absolutely nowhere in reducing them: first to rail and first to fail. They are a pernicious practice and should be stopped. But, in the cause of national solvency, they are a trifle. Talking much more about them, or “waste, fraud, and abuse,” trivializes what needs to be done, and misleads our fellow citizens to believe that easy answers are available to us. In this room, we all know how hard the answers are, how much change is required.
And that means nothing, not even the first and most important mission of government, our national defense, can get a free pass.
His previous comments on the economy demonstrate an uncommon pragmatism.
Let’s raise the retirement age, he says. Let’s reduce Social Security for the rich. And let’s reconsider our military commitments, too. When I ask about taxes—in 2005 Daniels proposed a hike on the $100,000-plus crowd, which his own party promptly torpedoed—he refuses to revert to Republican talking points. “At some stage there could well be a tax increase,” he says with a sigh. “They say we can’t have grown-up conversations anymore. I think we can.”
I hope he’s right, but securing the nomination of the party of Limbaugh will require remarkable finesse. Daniels lacks the shallow charisma voters typically require and he’s already alienated religious conservatives by calling for a “truce on so-called social issues.”
The odds are against him. I suspect he’ll end up being remembered not as the GOP nominee but as the Republican version of Paul Tsongas.
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