Obama can't afford another head-fake on budget cuts 

President Obama has promised spending cuts before and failed to deliver. In April 2009, he had his "Dr. Evil moment" in which the big savings he promised amounted to $100 million -- with an "m." We later heard about a "pivot" that was supposed to come and never did, by which Obama would turn away from endless new spending initiatives to fiscal responsibility and a newfound focus on reducing deficits.

In December, Obama distanced himself from the report of his fiscal commission because its work on entitlement reform appeared to be politically toxic.

This year, with his February budget outline , Obama demonstrated that his desire to raise taxes does not necessarily correspond to any specific debt reduction targets. His budget soaked "the rich" for another $1.6 trillion, but increased the national debt by $9.5 trillion.

Now that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has forced his hand, the White House seems to be panicking, as if it just discovered that voters actually want to see some long-term spending cuts. And so Obama will be giving a speech tomorrow about long-term deficit reduction. Here is what today's Washington Post tells us to expect:

Obama will not blaze a fresh path when he delivers a much-anticipated speech Wednesday afternoon at George Washington University. Instead, he is expected to offer support for the [fiscal] commission’s work and a related effort underway in the Senate to develop a strategy for curbing borrowing. Obama will frame the approach as a responsible alternative to the 2012 plan unveiled last week by House Republicans, according to people briefed by the White House.

But Obama doesn't have "an approach" to frame, even if he has had many opportunities to present one.

People need some specifics at this point. If Obama gives a vague speech tomorrow, dropping names like "gang of six" and praising the fiscal commisison whose recommendations he rejected in his budget, I think it will be a big mistake. He's let us down so many times that another head-fake could become the political equivalent of setting himself on fire on national television.

About The Author

David Freddoso

David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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