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.