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The President's Failure to Uphold the Constitution

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Message Tom Shire
The President is at risk of losing his core support if he and other Democrats roll over and give Republicans everything they ask for in exhchange for raising the debt ceiling.  I have been a stalwart supporter of the President in good times and bad, and have already donated about $500 to his re-election campaign.  But I cannot abide one-sided deal making, and if my future involves living without a social safety net, I'd better start saving as much of my money as I can, rather than use it supporting Democratic and Republican policies that do not call for shared sacrifice.

My disappointment over what I've been witnessing is running deep.  In the past, when I've heard such a sentiment expressed by Obama supporters, I have always been the first person to push back, citing the difficult realities the President has to deal with.  But now I'm beginning to think those disaffecteds were more prescient than me, able to see what I was unwilling to see.

It is my understanding that Section 4 of the 14th Amendment was written for two reasons:  1)  To absolve the United States of any responsibility for paying Confederacy debts; and 2)  To prevent any political faction (at that time, post-Civil War southerners) from refusing to pay Union debts.  To wit, "The validity of the public debt ... shall not be questioned."  And yet, Republicans are threatening not to allow payment of public debt.  The 14th Amendment's authors were quite wise in codifying that the payment of past debts, "authorized by law," not be used as a political football.  I suspect the real reason President Obama has refused to invoke this important clause under current circumstances is his fear that opponents will accuse him of hypocrisy in light of a past vote he cast against raising the debt ceiling.

Has this political fear paralyzed the President's ability to act in the best interests of the nation?  It would seem so, even though the President has sufficient cause to justify his changed behavior from when he was serving as a U.S. Senator during George W. Bush's presidency; specifically,

1)  It was a symbolic vote protesting the continuation of tax cuts for wealthy Americans in a time of war and exploding deficits;
2)  It was a vote taken when the country was not facing the severe economic stress it is facing today; and
3)  The vote was not accompanied by broad-based legislative action or inaction that would actually threaten default.

If the President and congressional Democrats choose to cut budgets while the economy is still struggling to come out of the deepest recession we have experienced since WWII, and simultaneously fail to insist upon shared sacrifice on the part of the most priviliged, they will have lost my support.  And I suspect they will lose the support of many others like me.

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Tom is a long-haul truck driver from southeastern Massachusetts who wishes he could have a cat, and enjoys keeping abreast of technological developments, especially as they relate to energy efficiency.
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