Hugh Hewitt: Obama is in over his head 

Democrats expect voters not to notice, or care if they do notice, that legislators have not passed a budget for next year's federal spending.

The Pelosi-Reid "leadership" team have "gone off the grid" of congressional practice and not even pretended to care about spending targets and deficit projections. Humming "que sera sera, what ever will be will be," they twirl toward summer vacation and the November elections beyond.

President Obama and his congressional allies expect to be assisted in their casual shuffling off of the most basic of Article I duties by a Manhattan-Beltway media elite, quick to assure their dwindling audiences that the abandonment of budgeting isn't completely without precedent. Lefty pundits can and will point to a year or two where the pressures of business ended the hope of a formal budget.

The president's pals in the press will be hard-pressed, though, to find any years in which the effort wasn't even begun, and there is no example of a year wherein a deficit like the one the country faces today went unaddressed by a national budget plan.

They cannot find such a parallel because we have quite unprecedented deficits --soaring, arching, never-seen-before gushers of red ink dwarfing Bush's 2007 deficit of $160 billion by nine or 10 or even more times that amount. We cannot know for certain how high the tower of borrowed money will even approximately rise because, well, there is no budget.

The new cliche is that such magical budgeting practices are "unsustainable." They are sadly much more sustainable when everyone in power agrees to pretend that they aren't there.

Thus do the Democrats steel themselves to face a furious electorate: "What deficit? We don't have no stinking deficit. We haven't even passed a budget yet."

Democrats in the rank and file appear to understand that this will not work in the age of Tea Party activism. Clueless Dems like the very flappable Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., erupt in anger at the appearance of a flip phone, while others cower in their district offices, afraid they will be asked deeply unfair questions like, "Do you support the entire Obama agenda?" The White House advance office is scrambling to line up gigs for the president in the fall, where his act is suddenly as popular as Melanie backed up by the Lettermen.

The Gulf spill parade of fiascos is adding to the president's ever-present and growing aura of vincibility, and Hill staffers are freshening up the resume. They should be.

There is a vast, coast-to-coast recognition of "oiiohh" -- Obama is in over his head. I have offered the T-shirt to my radio audience, and they are moving quite briskly. The "messiah" has become a punch line.

What could he do to turn it around, I asked John Podhoretz, editor of the newly energized and sparkling Commentary magazine. "Things his ideology will never allow him to do," John replied, and we went on to talk about extending the Bush tax cuts and standing resolutely beside Israel in the face of serial provocations.

There are other steps, and the House and Senate could actually try to control spending rather than hold useless show trials of already convicted BP execs. Voters from coast to coast know the issue is the stalemated recovery and the exploding spending that is doing nothing to turn on the jobs machine.

If the GOP runs on extending the existing tax rates five years while bringing a massive ax to the federal budget, they will sweep all before them. "Enough!" is the one-word bumper sticker showing up across the country and uniting every candidate from the center to the libertarian right.

"Enough!" is enough of a slogan. Not even the Republicans can screw that up.

Examiner Columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at

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Hugh Hewitt


Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at

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