What a great day! "Bipartisan" compromise on tax cuts achieved! Everybody's happy!
Or maybe not...
Obama and the Democrats are getting lambasted from the left for conceding on tax cuts for the rich, which is quite fair but is only half of the story. I wish I was reading as much screaming about the total venality of the Republicans agenda.
In a nearly perfect terrorist operation the Republicans were able to hold the middle class, poor, and indeed the entire national economy hostage for the sake of tax cuts for millionaires. They were truly ready to destroy everybody in the service of the rich. Priorities. Give the millionaires even more, or we'll start killing the poor. Might just be the clearest ransom note in the history of political terrorism. Perhaps we should start calling them the "terrorist" party.
The democrats tried a 'rescue operation' in the form of last weekends senate votes on tax cuts for the non-millionaires. It failed. Thanks to the Republicans standing in lockstep and the senates arcane filibuster rules, the hostages remained held. The class war is over; the rich have won.
It's easy to criticize Obama and the Democrats for their weakness, and perfectly valid. Obama is a lousy negotiator and the Dems lack the spine (or unity) to truly fight effectively. They caved.
Let's be really clear who the villain is here, rather than forming a circular firing squad. It was the Republicans who took the hostages. It was the Republicans who greedily put the rich ahead of the good of the country. It was the Republicans who chose the terrorist hostage taking tactic in order to get their demands met.
Not that the political media, or the majority of voters, will notice.
So Obama caved in and paid the ransom. That's certainly not something to be proud of. But there weren't any real alternatives (despite what some liberal blogs are saying on their unicorn farms) that wouldn't be worse. The Republicans were perfectly willing to prolong the recession, shut down the government, and kill (literally) the unemployed in the service of millionaires. It's easy to say that "you don't negotiate with terrorists" until the dead hostages (likely children) appear.
So I want to be perfectly clear: Yeah, Obama caved. But the true crime was perpetrated by the Republicans. They are the party that put the wishes of millionaires ahead of the well being of the country. The Republicans are the party that chose to engage in the terrorist tactic of holding the country hostage until their demands were met. That is the crime. They are the criminals.
Added: For better or worse, Obama seems to be on the same wavelength that I am. During todays press conference:
"I've said before that I felt that the middle class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high end tax cuts. I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers unless the hostage gets harmed. Then, people will question the wisdom of that strategy. In this case the hostage was the American people and I was not willing to see them get harmed."
Not sure how well that will work, but at least he said it.