Obama on the debt ceiling; then and now

Almost five years ago, in March, 2006, the usually silent junior Democratic senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, unexpectedly piped up to oppose increasing the nation's debt ceiling, explaining

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. ... Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that "the buck stops here." Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

After this little outburst Obama obediently followed his Democratic colleagues to vote against raising the debt ceiling. Busy campaigning for the presidency in 2007 and 2008 and involved with other personal matters not related to his senatorial duties, Obama didn't even bother voting when the issue came up in each of these years. Indeed, he didn't vote on many other issues during his overlapping later senatorial career/presidential campaign time.

Fast forward to January, 2011. Because "America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership" the now President Obama is

asking Congress to raise the debt ceiling, something lawmakers are almost certain to do despite misgivings about the federal debt. The ceiling already has been hiked three times in the past two years, and the House took action earlier this year to raise the ceiling to $13 trillion.Congress has little choice. Failing to raise the cap could lead the nation to default in mid-October, when the debt is expected to exceed its limit, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said. In August, Geithner asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to increase the debt limit as soon as possible.

Senator Obama's five year old senatorial insight about the ever rising debt as a "failure of leadership" and that "Americans deserve better" is one of the few things he got right.


Hat Tip: NRO