Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finley: While Obama is spinning, Snyder leads

From: The Detroit News

For those interested in comparing bold leadership to the wishy-washy variety, the release today of Gov. Rick Snyder's first budget is perfectly timed, coming as it does just four days after President Barack Obama gave the federal deficit disaster another big kick down the road.

Obama's budget is a fraud. It continues manic deficit spending. The cuts it contains are mostly pretense, while the tax hikes are real and destructive. It avoids the two major threats to the nation's fiscal stability, Social Security and Medicare.

And it leaves most of the tough decisions to Republican lawmakers, who will be demonized by the president and his political allies if they dare to make them.

It's the work of a president who lacks the courage to lead. It also exposes the reality that Obama's objective is to increase the size and reach of the federal government, not shrink it, and nothing that happened in the November elections will move him off that mission.

Snyder's spending plan will tell a different story of leadership. It was crafted based on a few driving principles:First, that government's role should be limited, and that it should fulfill its duties as efficiently as possible. Second, that you can't spend money you don't have — meaning you don't get everything you want. And third, that decisions deferred are problems compounded.

Unlike Obama, and, for that matter Michigan's former governor, Snyder isn't foisting the responsibility to lead onto lawmakers. He's making the tough calls himself and accepting the heat.

Perhaps he's too politically naive to understand the risks that presents to his re-election chances. More likely, he recognizes that his job isn't to get re-elected, it's to fix Michigan.

Snyder also is showing far greater faith in his people than is the president. For weeks leading up to today's budget unveiling, the governor talked honestly to citizens about the precariousness of the state's finances and the shared sacrifices required to repair them.

Obama, by contrast, keeps spinning like a top, pretending to austerity while allowing spending to soar and demanding sacrifice only from the evil rich and greedy corporations. This week, his minions are out on the stump hailing Obama as a great job creator, even in the face of employment reports that grow grimmer each month.

What we saw with Obama's budget release is a politician in full re-election mode.

He's going to say what he thinks the voters want to hear, but keep pursuing his discredited agenda.

Snyder is exactly as billed. He told voters he would put an end to business as usual in Lansing, and today he will.

He told them he wouldn't flinch from the difficult decisions demanded of leadership. Today, he'll keep that promise.

And he assured them that if they'd follow him, he'd lead them to a more prosperous and hopeful Michigan. Today, they'll get a look at the course he's charted.

Meanwhile in Washington, a president who promised those same things two years ago continues to wander in the wilderness.

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