The coolest thing to be in Washington right now is a boring old grown-up. At least it seems that way, judging by both Republican and Democratic talking points. As President Obama battled House Republicans to get a budget for this year--and as they continue to squabble over spending for next year's budget and raising the debt ceiling--both sides are desperately trying to claim a relatively simple title: the "serious" "adult." Perhaps you don't have to argue so much over who is "right" if you can claim to be the wise elder--Father knows best, after all.
Below, a small sampling of the many, many moments this year that politicians have tried to claim they're the grown-ups:
"My hope is that what's different this time is we have an adult conversation where everybody says, 'Here's what's important and here's how we're going to pay for it.'" -- President Obama, February 16.
"As our government continues to borrow almost 40 cents for every dollar it spends, a spending freeze, or--to put it another way, the status quo--is not an option. With the deficit at $1.6 trillion this year alone, proposing a meager $1.1 trillion in savings over the next 10 years just can’t be taken seriously." -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, writing in Politico February 19.
"If [Obama] wants to have an 'adult conversation' about solving our fiscal challenges, he needs to lead instead of sitting on the sidelines." -- House Speaker John Boehner, April 6.
"Any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table, and take on excess spending wherever it exists in the budget. A serious plan doesn't require us to balance our budget overnight."-- President Obama in his deficit speech April 13.
"Today's speech was nothing more than window dressing. President Obama's lack of seriousness on deficit reduction is crystal clear when you look at the budget deal he insisted on to avoid a government shutdown." -- Tim Pawlenty, April 13.
"The American people will not stand for that unless it is accompanied by serious action to reduce our deficit."-- Boehner, April 13.
"We have spoken to the specifics Mr President. We are serious. Where are you?" -- Cantor, April 14.
"As a grown-up would," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on how Obama approached the deficit, April 14.
"[Obama's speech]t just called for higher taxes on small businesses that would devastate the economy and was delivered in an ultra-partisan tone that demonstrates he's now fully engaged in a re-election campaign rather than participating in an adult conversation on how best to reduce the deficit. Congressman Paul Ryan's proposal is a vast improvement over the president's, and I thank him for putting forth a serious plan that puts us on a path toward balancing the budget and paying off our debt. Government spending is simply out of control." -- Rep. David McKinley, on why he was one of the four Republicans to vote against Ryan's budget, April 19.
"They say we can't have grownup conversations anymore... I think we can." -- Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels on raising taxes and the deficit, April 18.