Tuesday, December 7, 2010

To My Progressive Friends: End the Obama-Bashing, Please

Uh, oh. My progressive friends--I'm talking about my personal friends--are starting to bail on Obama because he compromised on the Bush tax cuts. I read their comments on Facebook; I hear them in the halls. It's not just criticism; it's outright insurrection. Several have mentioned supporting Hillary in a primary battle.

But, my progressive friends, are you really ready to see Obama out the door? Do you think a primary challenge from the left would help the Dems win in 2012 and further their agenda in the long run? If not, are you willing to lay off the man? Or do you just want him to abdicate?

Here's another way of looking at Obama's compromise (or "surrender," if you insist) on the Bush tax cuts:

He almost certainly wasn't going to "win" a game of chicken anyway, given the divided, cowardly Dems in the Senate. As several analysts have pointed out, if the Democrats had really wanted to end the tax cuts, they would have campaigned on the issue before the November election; instead, they looked at the polls and, cowards all (save the admirable Russ Feingold and a handful of others), slinked about in silence on the issue. The Democrats in the Senate were never going to give the President the support he needed to stand up to a vicious, monolithic, monomaniacal GOP.

But here's the bright side: Now the Democrats can run loudly on the issue in 2012; that is, they can attack the GOP's "donate to a millionaire" platform then, when the millionaire cuts* are about to expire again and the electorate is actually paying attention. If the President had pressed the issue now, no one except us political fanatics would have been listening, and it would have seemed as if he were ignoring the results of the recent election. I know, I know, some of you will say that it will be too late in 2012-- that Obama, and the other establishment Dems, will have lost their base for good by then. Perhaps you're right. That's up to you, my progressive friends.

Bottom line for me today: The long-term unemployed will now get their checks without the Dems having to gut the EPA or the IRS or the school lunch program. That's not the win I wanted, but it's a realistic result I'm willing to accept.

*"Millionaire cuts" sounds like a menu choice. Perhaps the Dems should call them what they are: "filet mignon for the rich."

No comments:

Post a Comment