“He’s lazy, but the media won’t report that.”
Those are the words of Roger Ailes, the outspoken president of Fox News Channel, with regard to President Obama and his questionable work ethic in the Oval Office. In a soon-to-be-published biography, Ailes makes the case that the president’s political failures can be traced to his unwillingness to put forth the requisite effort — in other words, President Obama plays too much golf, shoots too many baskets, and doesn’t do his homework. The president doesn’t get the job done because he doesn’t do his job.
And then came the sequester, those horrific across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect on March 1st. For many, the official sequestration of America represented a collective failure at the federal level of government, as a general consensus — across party lines — was established in opposition to the austerity measures for naught. It appeared that everyone in Washington deplored the notion of instituting such drastic cuts to discretionary spending (yes, the military couldn’t get out of this one), and yet nothing was done to avert the impending danger. Leading up to February’s end, Democrats and Republicans alike generally believed that the sequester was bad, bad, bad for the economy. Cutting spending could and would stunt growth, while bumping up unemployment.
And what happened? The sequester officially kicked in at the start of March, with the president’s signature providing the official validation.
In the immediate aftermath of such a momentous event, I’m moving more and more in the direction of Roger Ailes. I’m citing President Obama’s unwillingness to do what is necessary before a fast approaching deadline as the central problem at hand.
He doesn’t meet with top congressional leaders enough, and the sequestration talks (or lack thereof) formulate yet another example. The president decided to sit down with key leaders from both parties on March 1st — not only the day of the final deadline, but the only time that such talks were held between the president and congressional leaders in a face-to-face manner.
In other words, President Obama waited until the last possible moment to hold a discussion on the looming spending cuts that most believe will have a detrimental effect on the economic state of this country. Instead of hosting weeklong discussions in the White House, for instance, the president opted for a more concise, less time-consuming approach to negotiation. He chose to postpone and hope, rather than plan ahead and prepare. That, unfortunately, is laziness epitomized in my book. The President of the United States must strive to do better.
If he doesn’t, then undesirable outcomes — case in point, the sequester — show themselves for all to see.
(Quick side note: I’m not even bringing up the fact that President Obama doesn’t have a single workable relationship with a Republican on Capitol Hill, House or Senate. There’s nobody to whom the president can turn for guaranteed support in a time of crisis. You can blame that isolationist mentality on those stubborn Republicans, hellbent on blocking everything with the president’s name on it. Or you can blame the POTUS, who’s elected to lead the masses. I choose the latter.)
The unwanted introduction of the sequester into our daily lives sheds light on the White House’s troubling culture of laziness, which Roger Ailes references in his upcoming biography. And, unfortunately, when I feel that enough isn’t being done to confront a particular policy dilemma, I tend to subscribe to that line of thinking. President Obama has shown himself to be lazy, and the undesirable sequestration of America acts as further proof.
Now, the trick will be to weed out the “let’s go halfway” approach to governance, so that the next sequester-esque dilemma may be handled more effectively — and more proactively. Let’s not have to wait for 2016 to change everything.