Eugene Robinson: “Approve the lousy deal.”

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    This is like swallowing poison, but I’m about 90% with Eugene Robinson on this one — “Democrats have no choice but to accept an irresponsible tax deal.” The bottom line is that this deal is awful (poorly designed “stimulus,” no investment “in the nation’s future,” another big increase in the debt, it never should have come to this if Democrats had had their act together the last couple years), but what other choice do we have at this point? And so, Robinson concludes, the only course of action at this point: “Approve the lousy deal.”  With a great deal of reluctance, I agree with Robinson. Here’s a bit more of his argument:

    …as much as I sympathize with the progressives who are ready to man the barricades, let’s be real. Killing the deal now would mean a middle-class tax increase, no extended unemployment benefits and no payroll tax holiday. Voters would surely feel they had been robbed – and Democrats, perhaps unfairly, would get the blame.

    As I said, this is painful. Democrats in Congress are understandably irate at being lectured so sternly by a president for whom ending the tax cuts for the wealthy was so important that it was non-negotiable – until he negotiated it away.

    It’s a sad story, for the country and especially for the Democratic Party. I believe the White House continues to underestimate the anger and disillusionment among the party’s loyal base – and the need for some victories, or at least some heroic battles, to lift the spirits of the faithful. Obama needs to train his newfound passion and outrage on his foes in the GOP, not on the friends and supporters that his press secretary once derisively called the “professional left.”

    Pyrrhic victories don’t make anything better, however. And that’s what killing the tax cut deal would clearly be.

    Just to emphasize Robinson’s point in the second to last paragraph — President Obama (and other Democrats) “need to train [their] passion and outrage” on the Republicans for what they just did here. In the end, Republicans demonstrated that their overwhelming top priority is not the deficit or the debt, not the economy, certainly not the working class or middle class. Instead, Republicans demonstrated as clearly as can possibly be demonstrated that their #1 priority, pretty much their only priority (other than “breaking” Obama) is helping the wealthiest and most powerful among us. No, the Democratic Party isn’t fighting hard enough for working people, not at all, but at least Democrats aren’t actively fighting to accelerate the growing wealth gap between the “bottom” 98% of Americans and the top 2%. Just remember, never have any illusions about this simple fact: Republicans are the “I’ve got mine, I’m gonna get even more, so f*** you.” They’re also the corporate welfare party, NOT the “free market” party, but that’s a subject for another discussion.

    • Hugo Estrada

      The tax extensions are bad, but the payroll defunding of Social Security is a fundamental threat to Social Security and our meager safety net in the U.S. This is a structural attack. This is a time bomb that the GOP offered and that Obama accepted.

      This is going to create a real crisis in Social Security right when we will see a massive number of boomers retiring. And the ones retiring right now won’t will be the ones who can’t keep working or were fired.

      And I know that most Social Security reforms are meant to cheat the young people while giving the older adults the same benefits. However, if the defunding is sustained, the money to pay current beneficiaries won’t be there, the debt will be bigger (thanks to the tax cuts for millionaires), and then the sad news is that grandma and grandpa will have to get a smaller check.

    • Teddy Goodson

      and roadside IEDs in this compromise, as I discussed in my own diary “But Is the Obama-GOP Deal Good For the Country?”

      Obama better hope his undercover stimulus in this deal works wonders, firming up the recovery and lowering unemployment by at least a percentage point, because that would put him in a much stronger position by 2012. There are other possible land mines lurking in this whole negotiation, also discussed in my diary, relating to political leadership, the power of the Presidency versus Congress and the Constitution, and even such mundane things as how the two party system works.  

    • Steve Vaughan

      by Congressional Dems that they have any cojones, now when it doesn’t matter, is infuriating.

      Where was all this tough talk for the last two years when you had large majorities in both Houses and the White House, yet caved every time the Republicans whimpered about something?

      The fact is, that if Obama had tried to fight this out, Democrats in both the House and the Senate would have deserted him on it and left him twisting in the wind.

      Is it a great deal? No. Is it better than Democrats taking the blame — and they would because they have no ability to unite around a cohesive message — for the “largest tax increase in American  history?” Yep.  

    • So we can get up and down votes on DADT and START, since the votes seem to be there.  We may be able to get START in the new Congressional year, but we’ll never get DADT repealed.

    • Jim Webb Dem

      of Eugene Robinson and by extension lowkell …. Democrats should focus on the cause and effect of this new Robber Baron age and go “progressive” like Teddy Roosevelt… framing the self serving Republicans for what they are …. kiss ass champions of the super wealthy.