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That's the line the media and Obama wants everyone believe. But the truth is, who's in charge here? Isn't the President supposed to be the real leader of the nation?

Looks to me like he's failing to get the job done too. They're both at fault.

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But the truth is, who's in charge here? Isn't the President supposed to be the real leader of the nation?

Evidently a US president can't single handedly push things like these through, checks and balances I suppose. Or gridlock in this case. If Obama had the legal power to sort out that mess by himself I imagine he would have done so.

If the opposing party refuses to come to a compromise the only things left for "The leader" to do is either capitulate or make speeches that accomplish nothing.

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Actually, you miss the point JC. Negotiating is the nature of politics. Obama just sucks at it. He's a law professor who's used to being taken seriously and having people accept everything he says. I'm from Chicago, I've watched the man for years even before he decided to run for the US Senate.

He's encountered the luckiest string of political misfortunes for his opponents that ever materialized in the career of any US politician and been able to capitalize on them admirably. But let's not confuse the issue that his inability to move forward on the budget is entirely because the House won't bend over and say, "Yes sir may I have another." Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan faced similar numbers / splits in the Senate / House and yet were able to pass significant legislation including major budget measures. Dwight D Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush and even Bill Clinton pushed through significant changes in spite of facing majority opposition in both the Senate and House. Six of the 8 years of Clinton's presidency was spent dealing with a Republican majority in the House and yet he still passed major legislation and built a budgetary surplus.

The facts point toward both sides being poor negotiators. Obama is just doing his best to fan those flames rather than find an acceptable compromise. He has consistently mischaracterized how the Sequester was developed in order to make his opponents look bad. I'm not giving either side a pass, but the continual characterization of this impasse being the fault of Republicans is akin to saying the unresolved dispute between Israel and the Palestinians is because the Palestinians are consistently trying to sabotage the effort.

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I think both sides are pointing at each other equally hard, as you would expect. When you have an effective 2-party system and they both run in different directions to please their hardcore base you end up in an impasse, simple as that. I don't see how the president would be able to single handedly solve any of this...the problem is that both sides promised opposing things to their voters. I always thought coalition building was futile and counterproductive but seeing how the 2 main parties over there are making a mess of things it might not be quite as bad as I thought.

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That's the line the media and Obama wants everyone believe. But the truth is, who's in charge here? Isn't the President supposed to be the real leader of the nation?

Looks to me like he's failing to get the job done too. They're both at fault.

You mean a dictator? If he was things would get done, for better or worse.

Congress still has to work with him and they don't seem to care about doing anything.

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Sigh, and there you have it. The sequester and all of the other loggerheads between Obama and Congress are a Rorschach test - people see what they want to see.

Yes, yes, Congress must be at fault here because the President just can't do what he thinks is best. So he's not a dictator, plenty of other Presidents before him, see my examples above, have accomplished much larger tasks facing larger majorities. :huh:

Find me one, just one, major policy initiative Obama has successfully negotiated as the President, as a Senator, as a State Senator, where he initially faced significant opposition. And I mean find one he personally drove rather than gave a speech about and then handed it off to the Legislative Branch to muddle through. Winners may win, but leaders know how to leverage even a losing hand.

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Presidents before have not had to deal with a congress that is so polarized.

Affordable Care Act.

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Sorry, I knew people would point to the Affordable Care act but even though it has been nicknamed Obamacare, the credit for pushing the deal through goes to the Democratic leaders in Congress. Pelosi deserves much of that credit as do the group of six senators who developed the foundational legislation.

Plus, the House passed that bill under Speaker Pelosi on Nov 7, 2009. The Senate was never a question that it would pass since the Democrats still had that majority and did so on December 29, 2009. Those separate versions were then eventually worked through and the House passed the revised Senate bill in March 2010.

So Obamacare, his most important piece of legislation passed while the Democrats still held majorities in both the House and Senate.

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he's gotten things done. just not with huge majority's.

i don't know how you expect anybody to pass sweeping regs when the opposition on day ONE say's they will do everything to BLOCK him.

Regan, bush, clinton, FDR never faced opposition like this, and on top of that, the REP's can't even agree among themselves.

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Sorry Mike but that statement is utter bullshit. Clinton had a house working to impeach him and the poisoned environment that surrounded that whole scenario and yet he still successfully passed significant legislation and more importantly, balanced the budget. At some point you have to step back and say that there are inherent flaws in the lead negotiators. People love to say this is all the Republicans' (House) fault, but seem to think that Obama must be given a pass.

This whole stalemate around the Sequester and the ongoing budget issues is a clear demonstration that the House leaders AND the Executive branch have serious issues in their ability to work the phone, break bread, and find common ground.

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Sorry Mike but that statement is utter bullshit. Clinton had a house working to impeach him and the poisoned environment that surrounded that whole scenario and yet he still successfully passed significant legislation and more importantly, balanced the budget.

You are wrong. Clinton didn't push for the balanced budget, it was the Republicans that forced the issue. However, they worked together because Clinton was able to get things he wanted and the Republicans got things they wanted, like the balanced budget. Bush destroyed that in his first 6 months in office by giving everyone the tax rebate.

Congress worked with Clinton, congress is not working with Obama.

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You're thinking of "The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act" which Gingrich pushed through. Clinton and Gingrich played give and take across the bills that made up the budgetary surplus. This is the primary issue I keep pointing at and you guys keep saying it's all the Republicans fault.

Obama is JUST as unwilling to negotiate here. He's not even trying.

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The input of two US Senators who dined with the President last week in his "effort" to build dialogue - or at least give the impression of doing so:


Senator No. 1: When pressed on the question, the president seemed to step back. “His idea of a process is, ‘You guys figure it out and work with my staff, and if you need me call me.’ But in the end, unless the president really gets engaged and forces meeting after meeting, I don’t see how you get past the logjam.”


He will judge the president’s level of “real sincerity” by this: “Does he follow up?” “If he just takes the standoff attitude—my guess is he’s gotta be smart enough to know that’s not gonna work.”


Senator No. 2: “At the end I mentioned, ‘Share [with us] how you see this going forward.’ ” Here the president “got hazy. . . . I told him this will never work without adult supervision from the White House. I don’t think he comprehends that this is part of getting something done.”


Senator No. 2 said he planned to “press” the president in coming days “to lead, to exert authority.”

Sounds exactly like what I've been saying. He's an empty suit when it comes to actually engaging in negotiations and leading the effort. Speeches and campaign style rallies aren't where the work gets done. Arm twisting, back patting, and personal phone calls are where the work happens when it comes to negotiating.

This isn't Senators looking to put the President in a trap, this is leaders looking for the Executive Branch to step up and own its position in the process. Obama thinks he's above the fray and THAT is precisely the problem here. He needs to be IN the fray. Let's hope he got the message in that meeting.

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Graham and a few of the other talking suits said it was a great meeting.

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The article says it was a GREAT meeting. Everyone agrees Mike it was a great meeting. The question they're all asking is whether Obama will step up and work the compromise or duck and cover and act as if the sky is falling and there's nothing he can do about it.

We have four parties in this process:

1. The President

2. The Senate

3. The House

4. The People

All of them have influence in how this budget issue gets resolved. One of them acts as if not negotiating is the best approach possible and as if he can't possibly engage even though he just won reelection and should have some influence as a result.

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