Sunday, August 14, 2011

S&P and the Blame Game - An Update

For those political/news junkies (yours truly included) who have puzzled over how such a smart Presidential campaign, so viscerally in touch with the American people could, now in office, be so lacking in strategic planning and completely inept, missing what seems to many, the obvious.   Of course, we know that running for office is significantly different than actually enacting public policy and nowhere is that more evident than with Obama's health care 'reform'.

Immediately upon the Standard and Poor's downgrade, the President, Treasury Secretary and their liberal media allies complained bitterly about the decision given S&P's own ineptitude - a valid point of contention..  Despite making a good case that the rating agencies bear a huge burden for the 2008 meltdown, it might behoove the Federal government to acknowledge that financial institutions are required by law to use 'ratings' (which are mostly 'best educated guesses') prior to making future investment commitments.   As the Securities and Exchange Commission announces it will scrutinize the S&P's 'miscalculation", the arrangement becomes problematic when an agency dependent on the Federal government bites the hand that feeds - or vice versa.  

However, given S&P's indictment of the Republicans in Congress ("We have changed our assumption ...because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues..") putting the responsibility for the downgrade squarely on their shoulders, why wouldn't the President reiterate that hard-line Republicans have caused the downgrade?  This isn't about being petty or vindictive.  It is about being willing to roll up his sleeves and play the 'hard ball' necessary to save the Big Three social safety net programs and to arrive at a Fair Deal for the American middle class.  Who is the bigger enemy here - Standard and Poor's or the Republicans?  Shouldn't the Republicans be held accountable for their behavior during the debt ceiling debate?  As the President's approval rating drops below 40%, why wouldn't he want to score points on those same Republicans who have committed to bring him down and take the Federal government with them?

As Republicans pummel the President for causing the downgrade, it is long past time for him to swap the basketball for a pair of boxing gloves and climb into the ring.  If Obama is to convince the American public he deserves to be reelected, it is time to put the 'bipartisan compromise' attitude aside and step up his A Game..     

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