President Obama held a meeting this morning at the White House to try and untangle the debt ceiling/budget hairball with the House Republican Caucus. One of the invited guests was Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA), who decided to boycott the meeting, claiming thus:
“I have respectfully declined the president’s invitation to the White House today,” Rep. Jeff Landry (La.) said in a statement. “I don’t intend to spend my morning being lectured to by a president whose failed policies have put our children and grandchildren in a huge burden of debt.”
With all due respect to Rep. Landry (not much), it's unhelpful to this nation for him to be completely closed-minded to any possible compromise or discussion of the issues. What is it exactly that he is afraid to know? Why would he choose to run away from a debate that concerns our national security?
Landry is, of course, a Tea Party freshman with high ideas about what he will do in his short tenure in Congress, and he seems to think he's going to dictate the terms of the hostage negotiations singlehandedly.
“Until the president produces a responsible deficit reduction plan, I’m not going to the White House to negotiate with myself. Our conference has put out for months where we would start the process,” Landry continued.
To be clear, their conference has put out for months where they expect to start and end the process. They've been clear: Medicare must die or the debt ceiling stays where it is.
So what is this really about? Perhaps it's about the offshore drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico?
“For months, the Louisiana delegation has sent the president numerous requests to meet with him or his chief of staff concerning the de facto moratorium issued in the Gulf of Mexico, a de facto moratorium that has driven gas prices up and now threatens to derail economic recovery; the president hasn’t even had the courtesy to write us a note back.”
Oh, he haz a hurt. It wasn't enough that BP nearly destroyed the Gulf coast environment with their irresponsible approach to high-risk oil drilling. That mean guy in the White House didn't send a note back. So as a result, he will dig in his heels and pout?
Bottom line here? Landry is acting like a thuggish terrorist, holding the debt ceiling hostage over a courtesy note and Medicare.
I don’t mean to sound picky, but I’m not sure if Rep. Landry fully appreciates the meaning of the word “respectfully.” If the president of the United States invites a lawmaker to the White House for a policy discussion, and that lawmaker refuses to attend because he doesn’t want to be “lectured” by a president whose policies he thinks have “failed,” he’s not being especially “respectful.”
But putting niceties aside, Landry also seems confused about the rationale for his little tantrum. As the right-wing Louisianan sees it, Obama is responsible for “a huge burden of debt.” I’m reminded of the recent analysis done by Chad Stone, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ chief economist, who posted this item showing the actual drivers of U.S. debt over a two-decade span.
Maybe Rep. Landry should look up the meaning of the word "respectful" in the dictionary before actually using it. He should also grow up and do what his constituents hired him to do. Represent.