Yet, to hear progressives tell it, Obama's compromise which will extend the Bush tax rates for the rich for another two years is an utter sell-out move that shows what a spineless conservative he really is. Here are a few comments showing what I mean:
"Is Barak Obama ever going to grow a spine?"To hear these and other commenters tell it, we were just sold out. Yet...what exactly is so liberal about taxing the rich? Yes, this sucks because it'll just make the deficit worse. But...so what? Deficits aren't the end of the world and we clearly got some good out of this. You'd think Obama just ended Social Security or something, to hear these people rant against him.
"The WH is trying to to put lipstick on this turd, but it's not going to work. Every which way they try it, the stench is too big to cover. I hope Obama is impeached."
"I expected Obama not to compromise and keep his campaign promise on this one…Sorry you lost me on this one…I’m taking my Obama bumper sticker off."
"Centrist Dem LOL! This guy is going hard right as fast as he can."
"So very depressing. This is Obama's, "no more taxes". I truly believe he just lost his re election."
The Dread Compromise
And the good news is that if this compromise works, we'll be extending unemployment benefits, reducing taxes for working Americans, and making payroll cheaper for businesses. And for as much as some commenters went so far as to suggest that these were also Republican ideas, the reality is that this is what compromise is all about. You get something you want, you give something you didn't want to give. That's how it works.
And now Obama has a tiny feather in his cap to show that he's not the Evil One, and even better, he'll be decoupling the Bush taxcuts of the rich from the one for the non-rich. And so once these are set to expire in two years, Republicans will actually have to openly defend another taxcut for the rich. And instead of news articles consistently mangling the story by writing that "Republicans want taxcuts for all Americans," as they've been doing, the stories will have to show that they only want taxcuts for the rich. And they'll be stuck with a Republican presidential nominee trying to explain why the rich should continue getting richer. Basically, they're losing their leverage on this issue.
And the big irony is the reason why Obama is in this position: Because these same progressives have spent the last two years hounding Obama at every turn, rather than hounding Republicans as they had been during the Bush Years. And so we got pounded in the election because the strongest rhetorical weapon we have pointed itself right in our face and blasted Obama and the Democratic Party as heretics. And rather than fight Republicans and Blue Dogs to make sure we got a Public Option and other liberal policies, they insisted that Obama had to do it single-handedly and attacked him relentlessly for not being Superman.
And unfortunately, they're still doing that now. Obama's busy battling rightwing politicians who are hounded by their base if they compromise in any way with him, while also battling his leftwing base for compromising in any way with the right. And in this case, "compromising" with Republicans means not insulting them at every turn. Perhaps if these outraged liberals would finally start directing their outrage at Republicans instead of Democrats, we might actually be able to get somewhere.
And as I've said before, the most annoying part about these progressives attacking Obama is that they don't really care about ideology at all. It's all about attacking Republicans. That's why Obama's compromise is a sell-out to them. Because taxes on the rich isn't a liberal position. But to progressives, attacking Republicans is. And that means giving Republicans want they want is inherently anti-liberal, even if it has nothing to do with liberalism at all.
Are deficits for the rich a good idea? No. Is it a destruction of liberalism? Not even a little bit.