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Gazette Premium Content Latest Washington meltdown a product of The Great Divider

The Gazette editorial Updated: October 4, 2013 at 7:52 am

No, President Barack Obama, you knock it off. If we endure a government shutdown, the fault will be yours.

President Obama, The Great Divider, told Republicans on Friday to "knock it off, pass a budget and move on."

Obama has no talent for bridging political chasms and history may view him as our country's most divisive president. About all he offers the public are nasty jabs at Republicans to explain away the bad Obama economy, runaway debt, his sequestration invention and congressional gridlock. As his approval rating tanks, the president's divisive nature gets worse.

The president spoke after the Senate's Democratic majority voted 54-44 in favor of a bill that restores funding to Obamacare - the jobs-killing, economy crippling law that's due for full implementation Tuesday.

The vote came after an impassioned and entertaining 21-hour filibuster by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who used much of his time at the lectern - when he wasn't reading Dr. Seuss to his kids - to highlight the obvious hardships this law will impose on Americans. Despite the political implausibility of starving Obamacare, given the Democratic majority in Washington, we applaud Cruz. He tried to spare us what one major Obamacare architect, Montana's Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, famously called a looming "train wreck."

With funding restored in a Senate version of the bill, the House began wresting with it again. Telling Republicans to "knock it off" was President Obama's way of blaming them for gridlock and the possibility of a government shutdown that could result from congressional/presidential impasse.

In his mind, absolutely nothing is the president's fault, despite his rather important standing as the lone operator of our government's executive branch.

He blames Republicans, yet President Obama refuses to negotiate with them. He categorically refused a Republican request Thursday to roll back implementation of Obamacare in exchange for a continuing resolution to fund government. He refused, despite the fact few are prepared for the launch. Even officials in Colorado - recently lauded by the New York Times as a state well prepared for Obamacare - aren't ready to open the state's health care exchange on time. So the request for a delay seems reasonable, and could help the president avoid the political fiasco that's likely to ensue if Obamacare flops between now and the 2014 mid-term elections. But he wouldn't hear of it. After all, causing a government shutdown may be politically useful if the president can pin it on Republicans.

Included in the standoff is President Obama's latest request for an increase in the debt ceiling - the same issue that led him to initiate sequestration and then blame it on Republicans.

Never forget President Obama's cooperative nature regarding an increase to the debt ceiling when he spoke as a senator in 2006, just before voting against more debt.

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure," Obama said at the time. "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 . Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren."

Today, he's the biggest proponent of shifting bad choices onto the backs of children. He is so insistent upon burdening children that he categorically refuses to even negotiate with Republicans about incurring more debt.

"I will not negotiate on anything when it comes to the full faith and credit of the United States of America," Obama said Thursday, characterizing Republican requests for compromise as "blackmail."

Make no mistake. Worries about a government shutdown, a jobs-killing health care plan and warp-speed growth of federal debt are warranted. This potential political meltdown comes courtesy of a president more interested in blame and division than in working with others to improve our lives.

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