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A Defining Moment for the Obama Presidency

By       Message Eugene Elander       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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It has been truly said that every President, and every Presidency, has one or more defining moments.  For JFK it was the Bay of Pigs invasion and the resulting Cuban Missile Crisis.  For Richard Nixon it was Watergate.  For Jimmy Carter it was Iran.  For Bill Clinton, sadly, it was his impeachment.  For George W. Bush it was September 11, 2001.

The ongoing Public Debt crisis is a defining moment for the Obama Presidency.  What is truly ironic is the simple solution of which Barack Obama is well aware, since it was proposed by his own Secretary of the Treasury.  Instead of courting the leadership of both major parties, flirting with financial disaster for the American economy, and appearing, once again, indecisive and spineless, our President need merely live up to his Oath of Office, which requires him to follow and enforce the Constitution of the United States of America.

The Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution, in Section Four, contains these ten words: The validity of the Public Debt shall not be questioned.   Nothing more is required for our President to unilaterally raise the public debt limit or ceiling, even without Congressional action or approval, in order to avoid any possibility of a default.   It is more than clear that failure to do so would compromise the validity of our public debt, which goes considerably beyond merely questioning that validity.  Were Barack Obama to allow that to happen, he could justifiably be impeached for failure to honor his own Oath of Office to adhere to the Constitution, including all Amendments.

Why, then, this needless cliffhanger regarding raising the public debt limit?  Why let the American economy and financial markets slide further into disarray and why let the American people fall further into dismay?  Speaking as a community organizer during my years with the long-lost War Against Poverty, I see this typical indecisiveness by President Obama as one more symptom of the wish of a former community organizer to build consensus and satisfy everybody.

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One would think that our President might have learned by now that this approach actually satisfies nobody, and indeed only strengthens his rabid opposition.  In this present case, as in many others such as his capitulation to the continuation of unjustified tax breaks for the rich and super-rich, President Obama makes himself appear weak and indecisive -- unwilling or unable to resolve national problems even when the path to resolution, as in this vital instance, is very clear.

Carpe Diem, Barack Obama -- seize the day, seize the agenda, seize the opportunity, seize the high ground: enforce your own Oath of Office with its requirement to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  The validity of the Public Debt shall not be questioned according to the Fourteenth Amendment.  Raise the debt limit appropriately, and do it now.


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Author's Biography Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)

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