Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dems protest too much

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama struggled Tuesday to prevent wholesale defections by fellow Democrats that could sink the tax deal he worked out with Republicans -- angry opposition that could subject millions of Americans to a big holiday-season tax increase.

Many GOP lawmakers seemed ready to embrace the Obama-GOP compromise and declare victory. The question was whether enough Democrats would join them in support, especially in the House, where liberal resentment of the president's concessions on tax breaks for the wealthiest runs strong.

My ever-growing inner cynic has me pretty well convinced that this is pure political theater. Obama has given ground, but it's not like this is a truly conservative end point.

A conservative plan would lower tax rates for everyone. Obama only agreed not to raise them, and even then only temporarily. A conservative plan would shorten the number of months people can receive unemployment payments, which has already been extended. The Obama compromise has Republicans agreeing to extend unemployment benefits an additional 13 months. A conservative plan would eliminate the estate tax. Under the compromise, the estate tax will be set at 35 percent.

So while it's true that Obama gave ground and Republicans got a lot of what they asked for, Obama got some things in return and we ended up with a plan far from what conservatives would like to see.

What I think we're seeing is a coordinated effort to make it look like Obama has pivoted to the center a lot further than he has. He gives in a little while his team complains quite loudly about how he's caved. Then Obama can campaign for 2012 on the claim that he bucked his own party to reach across the aisle, etc. etc. I predict we'll soon be hearing about what a great leader he has been, and how he's set a new tone in Washington of cooperation and bipartisanship, when he's done exactly the opposite for two years.

So methinks the Dems protest way too much. Especially when I see this a bit farther down in the article:

Democratic leaders in the House criticized the tax plan, sometimes harshly, but stopped short of saying they would try to block it.

Why all the whining and pissing and moaning if they're not going to actually do something about it? Because the whining and pissing and moaning, not the policy, was the point from the start.

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