Obama is just your typical lying, flip-flopping, say-anything to get elected politician.
“I think if you look at the history, getting votes for the debt ceiling is always difficult, and budgets in this town are always difficult.”
— President Obama, news conference, Jan. 14, 2013
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. … I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
— Then-Sen. Barack Obama, floor speech in the Senate, March 16, 2006
As the saying goes, “where you stand depends on where you sit.” This is certainly true of the votes to boost the national debt limit, where almost by tradition, the party not holding the presidency refused to support an increase in the debt limit. (One big exception, as we have noted, is in 1953 during the Eisenhower presidency.)
The president has acknowledged that his previous vote against the debt limit was “a political vote.” On Monday, at a news conference, he urged lawmakers to boost the debt limit without conditions: “We’re going to have to make sure that people are looking at this in a responsible way, rather than just through the lens of politics.” (In other words, don’t do what I did back when I was a lawmaker.)
In making his case, Obama noted: “The debt ceiling is not a question of authorizing more spending. Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending. It simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to.” He added that he was willing to have a “conversation” about reducing the deficit, but the debt limit was not the right vehicle.
With that in mind, we were curious to look back at Obama’s 2006 speech and examine the case he made at the time for not supporting a boost in the debt limit. Below is the entire speech. At key points, we will offer commentary or further explanation.
Obama’s 2006 speech on the debt limit
“Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem. The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills.”
Here, Obama is sounding a bit Tea Partyish.
“It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies. Over the past five years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is ‘‘trillion’’ with a ‘‘T.’’ That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers.”
[...]The Pinocchio Test
This is why many Americans hate politics.
The young senator from Illinois presumably did not want to buck the rest of his party establishment in voting for increasing the debt limit — not when there were just enough Republicans willing to support a president from their own party. But Obama would be on much more solid ground today if he had given a speech back in 2006 that sounded more like his news conference in 2013.
For making an argument that the president now decries as politics, he earns the upside-down Pinocchio, signifying a major-league flip-flop. (We have rarely given this ruling, but are eager for other examples from readers.)