One of the things that has emerged from the build-up to the "sequester" - federal spending cuts - that took place last Friday is the revelation that President Obama's political opponents were - and are - completely willing to grant him authority to prioritize federal spending.
U.S. House budget chief Paul Ryan - who was the Republican vice presidential nominee last fall - drafted a bill that would let the president shape federal spending so that monies could be moved around, to make sure high-priority items are funded. Things like military preparedness, airport security and other functions that Obama says must be cut. It also has emerged that Obama does not want the authority. Yes, you read that right.
The president would rather present a litany of cuts that he can lament in front of the American people. Why? Simple: Politics. Obama sees any cut - actually, these aren't cuts; they are reductions in future spending - as a surrender. He wants a bigger, broader government, as do his supporters. Prioritizing spending is an implicit admission that spending can be prioritized. That's not a good position for any liberal.
But Obama is president of the United States. He is supposed to lead. Any smalltown mayor or any governor of any state facing a budget crisis would jump at the opportunity to make sure that essential services were funded while non-essential services, no matter how nice they might be, were trimmed.
The president prefers to play politics, hoping he can blame others for his leadership failure. Will it work? Again?