Obama Should Skip Christmas Vacation

The president can't go on a family vacation to Hawaii when the country is at the edge of the fiscal cliff.

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President Barack Obama smiles in front of Christmas decorations as he listens as Mexico's President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, not pictured, speaks prior to their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 27, 2012.
President Barack Obama smiles in front of Christmas decorations as he listens as Mexico's President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto, not pictured, speaks prior to their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Nov. 27, 2012.

As everyone who follows the news is aware, the U.S. government is rapidly heading off of a fiscal cliff. Without congressional and presidential action, tax rates go up on January 1 for all Americans and a number of the new Obamacare taxes kick in as does a sequester of federal spending that some have called "draconian."

The president, who should be showing some leadership, is instead afraid to show some leg. He's outlined what he wants but won't put anything down on paper and send it up to Capitol Hill. Indeed an effort Thursday by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the "Obama principles" to a vote was laughed off by White House spokesman Jay Carney who derided McConnell's effort as an unserious proposal.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the fiscal cliff.]

Instead of engaging in some kind of "shuttle diplomacy" to keep talks going in hopes of averting the crisis, Obama appears more focused on getting out of town. This does not exactly inspire confidence. The country is on the brink of an economic apocalypse and the president has his eyes on his upcoming $4 million family and friends holiday trip to Hawaii.

Someone's priorities are a bit out of whack. He's either not serious about the responsibilities of being president, he actually wants the country to go over the cliff, or the coming crisis is not as serious as we have been led to believe it would be. If the stakes are really as high as all that, the family Christmas trip needs to be put on hold—or moved to someplace close like Camp David. Being president means shouldering the responsibilities of the presidency—something for which Obama has not exactly shown much enthusiasm. He's comfortable with the trappings of office, the symbols of power, but on the responsibilities he's been kind of out to lunch in a lot of ways. He hasn't shown much leadership beyond stating what he wants and expecting folks to fall in line. And, having done that, he once again feels the need to get out of town while letting other people hash the details out. This is not leadership. It's not even good management. It's a recipe for chaos, which should leave no one unclear about whose responsibility the current mess actually is.

  • Read Peter Fenn: Democrats Must Be Patient With Boehner's Fiscal Cliff Theatrics
  • Read Susan Milligan: Jim DeMint Better Suited for the Heritage Foundation Than Congress
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