We need Leaders to lead when everyone acknowledges it's tough sledding. It's easy to make the decisions when everyone (or nearly everyone) is on your side. True leadership occurs when you know you are doing the right thing, while those around you are telling you that you are wrong (think GWB and The Surge). Being willing to face the political fallout if you are wrong is a very difficult thing to do.
President Obama claims to be worried about the deficit, but when faced with a serious opportunity to do something about, kicks the can down the road:
President Obama has decided not to endorse his deficit commission's recommendation to raise the retirement age, and otherwise reduce Social Security benefits, in Tuesday's State of the Union address, cheering liberals and drawing a stark line between the White House and key Republicans in Congress.
Over the weekend, the White House informed Democratic lawmakers and advocates for seniors that Obama will emphasize the need to reduce record deficits in the speech, but that he will not call for reducing spending on Social Security - the single largest federal program - as part of that effort.
Very soon, someone has to give this Country a dose of "tough love", for the good of its citizens. At this point in his Presidency, Obama is choosing not to be that guy. He's instead making the choice to play politics, and trying and get re-elected.
The first Candidate (either Republican, or Democrat) that can effectively explain to the American Voter that we are broke today, and going even further into debt, and we as a Country are going to be forced with some difficult decisions over the coming months and years, will win the next election by a landslide. Don't sugar-coat it. Tell us what is wrong. Explain to us why some things that were once considered "untouchable", are going to be affected.
Instead of trying for a "put a man on the moon" effort, our Leadership needs to have a "treat the deficit like the Germans in WWII" moment. Make the deficit the Enemy. Make my daughter's future safe, not from advancing Nazis, but safe from massive unfunded liabilities. The dining room table conversation that so many American families have had to conduct over the last two years-have that same conversation with America, Mr. President.
Parents have had to explain to their children that there isn't going to be the annual family vacation this year. The President needs to have that same conversation with his "family" on cutbacks the Federal Government is going to have to make.
Lead, Mr. President. Or get out of the way and let someone else do it.