Tax “cuts”, hostages and the left
It is a zoo in Congress right now. And the left is not happy with the deal President Obama made with the GOP. Heck, even some of the GOP aren’t happy with it.
Frank Rich likened much of what is happening with a hostage situation, although he cast Obama in the role of the hostage and the GOP as the hostage takers. His attempted point was to excuse Obama’s behavior (and GOP outreach) by invoking the “Stockholm syndrome”.
Obama then took the meme and included it in his press conference. However he declared the GOP’s hostages to be the middle class and the unemployed.
Today, Paul Krugman carries on the meme with another set of hostages. This time the hostages are a set of economic circumstances set up by the tax deal that will reflect badly on Democrats in an election year (2012). Krugman throws around a bunch of accusations featuring implied GOP dirty tricks or desires (for instance: “Republicans may try using the prospect of a rise in the payroll tax to undermine Social Security finances. “). But mostly he’s not at all happy with the shrinking President:
Which brings me back to Mr. Obama’s press conference, where — showing much more passion than he seems able to muster against Republicans — he denounced purists on the left, who supposedly refuse to accept compromises in the national interest.
Well, concerns about the tax deal reflect realism, not purism: Mr. Obama is setting up another hostage situation a year down the road. And given that fact, the last thing we need is the kind of self-indulgent behavior he showed by lashing out at progressives who he feels aren’t giving him enough credit.
The point is that by seeming angrier at worried supporters than he is at the hostage-takers, Mr. Obama is already signaling weakness, giving Republicans every reason to believe that they can extract another ransom.
It was at this point – as usual when I read things like this – that I start to chuckle. Because when “pundits” like Krugman write such stuff, I have to wonder upon what they base their belief that the sort of behavior they claim Obama is now exhibiting is somehow different than what he’s exhibited in the past. In other words, when has Obama exhibited behavior different than what he is now that would leave one to believe he’s “strong”?
That seems to be Krugman’s point – he’s exhibiting “weakness”. He’s “signaling weakness”. Yeah? Well when has he ever signaled strength?
It is a point made over and over here but the left, it appears, is finally unwrapping the package they’ve put in the White House and are finding the box is pretty much empty. I’m constantly amazed that they’re still discovering that.
Look at this, for instance, from an interview aired today on NPR:
"STEVE INNSKEEP: Can you accept some changes to this plan or is it the kind of deal you cannot change?
"PRESIDENT OBAMA: My sense is there are going to be discussions between both House and Senate leadership about all the final elements of the package. Keep in mind we didn’t actually write a bill. We put forward a framework. I’m confident that the framework is going to look like the one we put forward…
"Here’s what I’m confident about, that nobody — Democrat or Republican — wants to see people’s paychecks smaller on Jan. 1 because Congress didn’t act."
This is no different than the health care bill where he airily said "we need health care legislation" then mostly stayed aloof from the both the process and the fight. Well, as we said then, that’s not leadership. And nothing has changed despite the constant and almost daily surprise the left undergoes as it constantly discover this guy is no leader.
Heck, I know why this deal is in trouble with Congressional Democrats even if he and Paul Krugman don’t. He’s simply not a leader, never has been, and all indications are he never will be. He seems overwhelmed by the job and really has no idea how to proceed. And he’s frustrated by his natural base turning on him (which is why he saves his harshest criticism for them) and outmaneuvered by a minority opposition that should be easy meat for a talented politician (and leader).
Same tune, different verse – and when the song changes rather dramatically in January with the seating of the 112th Congress, it’s only going to get louder and worse – for the left that is.
Face it lefties – the only thing that might actually see a Democrat in the White House in 2013 is if that Democrat happens to win a primary in 2012 against Obama. If there are really any hostages taken in all of this it is the entire leftosphere – and the hostage taker is Barack Obama.