Wednesday, December 8

Obama and the Enemy of Perfection

Yeah, I heard Keith and I heard Rachel on how much a bad deal this tax deal is. I think they both amazingly impassioned and energized and dead wrong.

Keith position seems to be that Obama should have barnstormed around the country campaigning against the Republicans. a) He spent all summer doing that already and b) there's not enough time to put the screws to them before the rise of Speaker Boehner and all bets are off the table.

Rachel proclaimed repeatedly that this deal wasn't as good for Dems and the middle class as Obama said ti was, but these are the number via thinkprogress.

What Obama GOT in this deal helps 30 TIMES as many Americans and provides them with $80 Billion more than Republicans got from it.

Here's a newsflash. Obama is not a Progressive. He never said he was a Progressive. He came to Washington to get things done, and if that means cutting a deal - then that's what it means. The principles people seem to think he's betrayed aren't His principles. He's a pragmatist and a problem solver, not an ideological crusader.

What he's done here might not be good for Democrats, it might not be good for his Presidency, but it's good - or at least far better - for the nation than the various alternatives.

This nation wasn't founded in perfection. It doesn't exist in perfection now. The original Constitution as it was ratified as a Deal made between the North and the Southern States. It included a clause that specifically prohibited Congress for makling one law.

Congress was NOT ALLOWED to ban the importation of African Slaves until 1808.

It also included the 3/5th apportionment clause for taxation and representation of African Slaves, as well as the Fugitive Slave Clause which required Northern States to act as the police and recovery squads for slaves who escaped from the south.

It was because of clauses such as these that the Dred Scot decision was made where it was said that the Constitution Does not Recognize Africans as Citizens protected by the Laws of the State whether they be Slaves or Free.

Quite literally they didn't count. They had no rights.

That was because of the deal, but would standing up for the principle of true equal rights at that time have prevented the nation from forming as a single unit? The Articles of Confederation with it's incredibly weak central government had alraady failed. Would the Southern split that led to the Civil War have simply occured 70 years earlier if Northerners and anti-Slavery proponents have dug in their heel against the cold hard stump of principled perfection.

Admittedly it's hard to say in hindsight, but I dare say this wouldn't be the nation we have now if they had.

When Obama says that compromise is what this nation was founded on, he's absolutely correct. And sometimes, many times, it's not pretty.

This is a point that only Lawrence O'Donnell made last night.

Among all these Liberal Pundits, from Jane Hamsher to Ezra Klein, not one of them could name a single time where a Democratic President successful strong armed a pack of wild Republicans in the way they insist the Obama has to do now. The one possible case was to go all the back to Woodrow Wilson.

So basically, we're asking Obama to do the near impossible - and everyone's getting pissy because he knows it's functionally imposible in the time left in this session.

Obama is absolutely correct about Social Securiy and Medicare both begining as very limited, flawed and imperfect programs. Obama is correct that "We can't stand entirely on principle" and essentially hoist the American people high on the petard of our perfection. He's also correct that this is the Public Option debate once again. In all honesty, that debate didn't end and the heartburn from it is still clearly compounded by this latest deal.

I know I've pointed out repeatedly that the Final Health Care Bill actually DOES HAVE A PUBLIC OPTION it's simply managed by the Office of Personnel Management instead of HHS and subcontracted out, rather than administered directly by federal employees, but in all other aspects, premium controls, medical loss ration, economy of scale and cost containtment - It's the Same.

Contrary to Rachel's claims all the Repubs are not in love with every aspect of this deal.

“We cannot add on something like a year of unemployment benefits.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

“If we’re going to extend the unemployment insurance beyond its normal level, let’s at least pay for it and get this nation off its ruinous spending path.” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) — the de facto leader of the Senate GOP and a past opponent of jobless aid — told National Review shortly before the deal was struck that the inclusion of unemployment benefits could influence his position. “The question [for Republicans] is: At what price are you buying?” he said.

“I would definitely look at how they were going to cover the expense of extending the unemployment [insurance].... I firmly believe we need to live within our means.” Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.)

Arkansas GOP Rep.-elect Steve Womack said “There’s a limit to just how much this country can afford,” and went on to say that enough was enough when it comes to jobless benefits

Club for Growth? Against It, because they wanted MORE.

(The Plan) didn’t make both the Bush tax cuts and the estate tax repeal permanent. Their plan: “Instead, Congress should pass a permanent extension of current rates, including a permanent repeal of the death tax, and drop all new spending.” The only “new spending” included in the plan, of course, is a desperately needed extension of lapsed unemployment benefits that will ultimately help at least 7 million jobless Americans and prevent the loss of another 600,000 jobs next year

Heritage Foundation? Against it because it Wasn't Enough for them.

“By allowing for only a two-year extension of current tax rates, the President’s agreement provides no long-term certainty that is essential for economic recovery. Heritage, too, denounced the inclusion of jobless benefits, calling them a “permanent entitlement” while repeating the canard that they will discourage the unemployed from seeking work at a time when unemployment is at 9.8% and there are five job seekers for every one available job.

And the worst part is the Obama's own base, is REALLY against it.

A new Survey USA poll finds that 74 percent of those who contributed to Obama’s presidential campaign are against his tax cut deal. The poll also finds that 57 percent of contributors are less likely to donate to Democrats who support the deal, and 51 percent are less likely to donate to Obama in 2012 because of the deal.


Yes, this deal is essentially a can kick down the road - it's a stalling tactic for 2012 when (with luck) we can win back the House and set this ship back on course by Raising the top marginal rate to 42%. These rates can't continue forever, and if someones going to take a hit - it ought to be the ones who can afford it.

But we're not going to do any of that without an energized and fired up base. That won't happen unless we look at this as just one battle in a long war, one where we gained for more than the other side did, and certainly prevented them from taking for more than we could have ever afforded by making ALL the Bush tax cuts permenent as they would have certainly attempted next session.

This deal ain't perfect, it potentially continues to blow a hole in the deficit and it's stimilative are questionable (although it does include all of the most stimulative tax policies available as documented by the CBO)

But I can guarantee that loss of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, the Making Work Pay Credit, the Payroll Tax Holiday that essentially gives everyone a 2% raise and cutting off Unemployment Benefits for the Next year while making the Bush Cadillac Paris Hilton Tax Bonuses Permanent would have been much, much worse.

I know that defending Obama from the Center can be a dangerous thing to do around these parts, and I've had my head chewed off more than once for agreeing with him and his positions - but this is how I see it.

It ain't pretty, but it's a victory.


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