Talk about being caught in the middle.
Just one day after releasing his federal budget, President Barack Obama is getting pinched by Republicans on the right who say he's spending too much and being pinched on the left by core supporters like Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (pictured) who say planned cuts to educational and housing programs will hurt the poor.
Cleaver has also said that the budget doesn't reflect President Obama's values, and he is right.
If the president could wave a magic wand and make the Republican majority in the House of Representatives go away, we would probably be looking at a very different budget from the one Obama sent to Congress earlier this week.
The Republican majority in the House, though, is an all-too-real hurdle for Obama to clear in passing the budget. Therefore, he has to make budget cuts to items we all know he would rather preserve like the Community Development Block Grant.
It's called politics.
You have to give a little to get a little - even if the giving goes against everything you stand for. It's a dirty business, and its not for the squeamish, but it is how politics operates.
Cleaver is right to complain the president's budget will further hurt people who can least afford it.
But that is why Obama pushed so hard last November and even had the First Lady on the campaign trail during the congressional elections.
President Obama warned that if Democrats lost either the House or the Senate, his hands could be tied down the road when pushing for legislation supported by his core constituency.
His worst nightmare was realized election night, and now poor Americans are paying the price.
Some folks on the left might say it would be better to put up the good fight even if you lose. They would want to see Obama put forward a budget full of goodies for the poor and heavy cuts to items traditionally supported by the right like the military.
Just one problem with that notion.
It won't work. In fact, any hope for cooperation between the parties would end. The budget impasse would cause government to grind to a halt in a federal shutdown, and guess who would be public enemy No. 1 when the presidential election rolled around in 2012?
President Barack Obama.
So instead of complaining, the CBC would better spend its time letting the president cut the deals it will take to keep the country moving forward to some degree and concentrate on getting the House back in 2011.
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