If you need proof that President Barack Obama got what he absolutely had to out of the tax-cut deal he made with congressional Republicans, listen to the sound of silence coming out of Sarah Palin’s Twitter feed.
That she and Republicans couldn’t find anything to immediately blast Obama for explains why he took the ass end of a “compromise” that swapped two more years of Bush-era tax rates for an extension of expiring unemployment benefits. He figured out that Republicans didn’t really want tax cuts — they wanted to beat him up with a six-week argument about tax cuts that would run right up until five minutes before the State of the Union.
Obama didn’t give it to them. That’s what he got out of the deal.
Writing for the Washington Post, the Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote that doing the tax deal would be “political self-immolation.” Wrong. On Saturday, Senate Democrats couldn’t pass a bill raising the top marginal rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent for households making over $250,000. They couldn’t even pass it when the line was drawn at $1 million.
No, “self-immolation” would have been Obama’s barnstorming around the country at Christmas trying to sell a middle-class tax cut and then having every Republican and the same five Democrats who voted against the deal in the first place vote against him again.
So the president took — er, left — the money and ran. If he’s smart, he’ll take this opportunity to make a clean break with progressives. OpenLeft’s Paul Rosenberg is cautioning progressives that the president isn’t their boyfriend: “Ergo, he didn’t dump you.” But Obama might be an eHarmony match who caught their eye and then turned them down for a date. If progressives are smart, they’ll accept a few realities that will make the end of their affair with Obama a little easier to take.
Obama Is Not Progressive
Call him a big-government conservative or call him America’s City Manager. Liberals have to disabuse themselves of the idea that Obama is caving in on his core principles, because his core principle is being reasonable.
Sometimes it works and sometimes not, but as long as progressives keep thinking that he’ll “fight back” or “draw a line in the sand,” they’re doing themselves a disservice and, ironically, clinging to the same belief held by the right: that a Hawaiian with an extra consonant at the end of his name must be a progressive. He’s not, and he never really was.
Congress Is Spineless
The president isn’t dealing just with stuff that happened before he was president; most of the problems he’s wrestling with accrued before he was even a member of Congress.