Aside from any political preferences one may have in the American budgetary crisis, we are witnessing a two-prong failure: 1) lack of leadership; 2) lack of understanding. We have two opposing leaders, Boehner and Obama, that do not look to each other in the eyes. They are totally disconnected.
The Speaker of the House, far from being a good speaker for the American people to understand the Republican positions and arguments, is one of the worse communicators leading the House of Representatives in many, many years. President Obama, on his part, is not acting as one leading the nation but as a campaigning candidate obsessed in convincing his constituents that he is trying to do it better than his opponents who do not want to cooperate with his spending policies and show no interest whatsoever in solving the most pressing challenge of approving the US budget.
While the Speaker lacks charisma, the President lacks leadership. This is not a biased partisan view. The US had many Presidents in both parties that Obama may take as very good models to follow for their capacity of persuasion and their abilities at negotiation, such as Abraham Lincoln and Franklyn Delano Roosevelt in the past and Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton in the present.
Instead of giving speeches, press conferences and TV appearances during these last days of February, President Obama’s should have been devoted full time to interviews and conferences with members of Congress for a bout of constructive negotiations. It is his duty to agree on the many issues that are agreeable to both sides and to step ahead and concentrate in the very few issues where there are strong disagreements. Republicans are not the enemy. Most Republicans and most Democrats are honest, good people wanting the best for their country. They just have different views on how to resolve some important issues.
Once the difficult issues were clearly established, the President has the power of his Constitutional duty to lead the negotiations in good faith, so as to steer the opposing views to a middle course that will be satisfactory to a substantial number of his opponents, enough to pass a budget that is not tainted by extreme intolerance and partisan division but accepted by enough members of both parties to make it a constructive bi-partisan decision.
If President Obama takes instead the option of forcing the issues so that either Republicans or Democrats “win” a disputed congressional vote along partisan lines, he will in fact lead Americans to one of the most divisive periods of American history. And the adverse results of the fiscal cliff will be his responsibility.