William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE OBAMA WAY – AT 9:30 A.M. ET:  Did we have an election?  I still see it on my electronic calendar.  I remember some results.  I think Obama won.

But you'd never know it from the way the president behaves.  He's still campaigning, rather than negotiating seriously about the nation's financial problems.  Andrew Malcolm at IBD records the passing scene:

Here's a little something that could surprise some people: Remember that little election we had 22 days ago that gave President Obama a second term and the flexibility to do numerous things he'd promised the Russians?

You might have thought the election victory was the end of Obama's campaigning. Silly you. Now that he never gets to run again for anything, Obama is hitting the campaign trail once more this week to talk to supportive audiences about what he's been saying for many months about this looming fiscal cliff business. It comes due in early January, just like the holiday bills of most families.

You know how Obama says he wants to tax the rich some more, which everybody who isn't rich supports? And he says he intends to use that chump change to pay down the deficit and national debt. At his rate, no one presently alive on this planet will ever see a material change in the incredible scale of the U.S. national debt, which has now soared past $16 trillion.

But Obama still says he really wants to do a deal with House Republicans, who are more interested in reducing government spending on the strange theory that if you spend less, you'll incur fewer new bills and will have more funds to pay off those loans from China.

Here's how Obama displays his determination to do that budget-debt deal: This week he's meeting with union leaders, taxpayers and, today, some big-name business executives. Also some citizens allegedly screened to be middle-class. And he'll stage a rare Cabinet meeting.

At each event Obama will warn of dire consequences if he doesn't get to tax the country's Richie Riches and if the Bush tax cuts, which Obama used to denounce, are allowed to expire, sucking more money out of the sagged economy.

Obama and Congress, of course, are crying out against a deadline and draconian cuts that they themselves arranged. But they're counting on us forgetting their roles as crisis creators as if the tax-debt doomsday is some kind of fiscal super-storm named Sandy that just happens.

So, instead of acting like a presidential leader and, well, leading the fiscal talks, Obama is heading out of town Friday to tell Philadelphians they need to talk to Congress about what Obama wants. How about the president talk to Congress himself about what he wants and what its leaders want?

COMMENT:  An excellent and accurate indictment.  When Barack Obama came into office in 2009 he was a small-time Chicago politician with a golden voice.  Today, almost four years later, he's...well, just repeat the same phrase.

He hasn't grown much in office.  He still sees the presidency as a long campaign.  He feels more comfortable running for something than doing something.

But he is still "cool."  And I guess that's the current standard.  Sorry, Mr. Lincoln.  Things have changed.

November 28, 2012