Pres. Obama explains why he did it

If you are still struggling (as I am) to decide how you feel about Pres. Obama’s decision to strike the big horse-trade with the Repubs and tax cuts, unemployment benefits and a player to be named later, and if you haven’t heard enough directly from him about why he did it, take four minutes and let him directly explain, in the video below, made explicitly for his supporters (and wavering supporters) and distributed by one of his political arms, Organizing for America.

“I have no doubt that everyone will be able to find something in this compromise that they don’t like,” Obama acknowledges, and he explicitly address “the argument that we should have fought on,” rather than strike this deal, and see if the country would rally against the Republican position. His final choice:

“I’m not gonna make the American people collateral damage to political infighting in Washington. I’m not gonna play games with the lives of the American people.”



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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/08/2010 - 02:56 pm.

    So what’s new?

  2. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/08/2010 - 04:18 pm.

    “I have no doubt that everyone will be able to find something in this compromise that they don’t like,” Obama acknowledges, …
    Alright then, so why do this “compromise.”

    The illogic of his logic is simply astounding.

    There’s only one word for this president: pathetic.

  3. Submitted by donald maxwell on 12/08/2010 - 05:24 pm.

    He says he doesn’t want to play games, but then goes ahead and plays.

    If he really wanted to get rid of the tax cuts for the top, he and Congress would simply let the whole package expire. We are only weeks from a new Congress. Pressure would then lie entirely on the Republicans to bring back middle class tax cuts and extend unemployment, which they could do retroactively. The pressure would be heavy, with a President saying he is ready to sign bills to do that. And if (which we all doubt) he made really clear what he would sign and not sign, he would have a lot of power to influence the outcome.

    I don’t think we really know where Obama’s interests lie. Republicans are the party of tax cuts. Democrats are not going to get elected by doing tax cuts, because the Republicans do it with so much more vigor and conviction, they will get the credit anyway.

  4. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/08/2010 - 07:37 pm.

    What I don’t understand is … they’ve bailed out banks, insurance companies, Wall Street grifters, and automobile manufacturers … all the while justifying their actions with the “direness” of the economy. What has all that stimuli done so far? We’re still at high unemployment, we’re in fact in a recession.

    Not surprisingly, Republicans use the expiration of unemployment benefits as leverage for possibly making Bush-era tax cuts permanent. And the Democrats don’t seem to realize that there is no real clamor out there for tax cuts from the middle class because they may not be as substantial or meaningful as they would be for the super-rich. If anything, there is serious doubt about the validity of the tax cut demand from the middle class. The Republicans, on the other hand, may have received their marching orders and are only doing the bidding of their masters.

    And when it comes to the Executive Branch of the Government, what we see is the abandonment of principles and convictions. It has all gelled into a series of one spineless compromise after another. “Yes, we can” has been changed to, “You think, maybe.”

  5. Submitted by Neal Gendler on 12/08/2010 - 08:44 pm.

    Setting aside (only) for a moment the suffering it would cause the unemployed, I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better politics — and better for the nation’s huge debt problem — to let the tax reductions expire. The Republicans surely would reinstate those reductions in January, and Obama could veto them. Would the GOP have the 2/3 majority to override? I think there’s reason to doubt it.

    Then a real effort could be mounted to continue benefits for the unemployed. There’s a lot more ppopular appeal in preventing people from starving than there is in giving tax breaks to millionaires.

    This agenda would require much stronger leadership and a far greater use of the presidential bully pulpit than Obama shown me. Yes, his administration has accomplished a good deal, as he says, but most Americans make less than $250,000 a year, and many, perhaps most, know someone who’s been sent, at least temporarily, into the world of unemployement or underemployment.

    IMHO, Obama has a huge well of popular support — no matter what the last election suggests — that he barely has tapped if he narrows his initiatives and focuses on domestic matters that affect the majority of Americans.

  6. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/08/2010 - 10:21 pm.

    @#5 -“Then a real effort could be mounted to continue benefits for the unemployed ….”

    “This agenda would require much stronger leadership and a far greater use of the presidential bully pulpit than Obama shown me.”
    Well said, Neal. I couldn’t agree more.

    One area that has not even been considered is: The economy as a national security matter.

    A national state of emergency should have been declared for the “economic crisis” in much the same manner as it would be for national defense. Then non-supporters could be shamed as unpatriotic. All the tools of the “bully pulpit” would be used to get what the President needs. That’s what the Republicans would have done if the shoe was in the other foot. Mr. Obama should have learned from the masters; appeasement is for wimps and losers.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/09/2010 - 09:47 am.

    There are just so many problems with this statement. First, he’s had two years and control of congress to solidify the middle class gains he’s bragging about and instead he’s locking in a tax structure that benefits the wealthy more than middle class.

    Second, the tax cuts or raises one or another are going to save or crash the economy. On the contrary, the growing deficit will make necessary government spending and stimulus impossible. He’s not saving the fragile recover (what recovery?), he’s more likely guaranteeing continued recession.

    Third, it’s his own failure to stand and fight for the last two years that made whatever “gains” he’s made so vulnerable to a single election cycle.

    OK so one can say what’s done is done, he shouldn’t try to make up for the failures of the past by hammering the middle class now. But that’s a political calculation and he’s acting like it’s not. What he’s telling us is that this is the best he can do with a Democrat controlled congress. That means he’s telling us he’ll completely impotent when the Republicans take over the house. If that’s true, we elected the wrong guy. If it’s not true, does he not realize the effect of that message?

    Obama seems to have fundamentally misread the electorate that sent him to the White House. He’s always seemed to think that people voted for him to go and compromise. He says it again and again. What he fails to realize is that we didn’t send him there to compromise, we sent him there to pursue the agenda he outlined in his campaign. He seems to be under the bizarre impression that we voted for him so he could abandon his agenda rather than fight for it. He expects me to believe he just saved me with a compromise. I’m getting screwed anyways. He just rendered himself a lame duck half way through his first term. He doesn’t get it.

  8. Submitted by Neal Gendler on 12/09/2010 - 01:54 pm.

    Two more thoughts:

    1. A Democratic majority doesn’t mean much any more because the Democrats can’t seem to agree on much of anything. We saw this with the Clinton health-plan proposal and again with the Obama proposal and yet again with the inability to unite around the original idea of ending tax reductions for households making for than $250,000. Meantime, the Republicans are very disciplined, crossing their arms and saying “no” with hardly any defections.

    2. Obama’s performance makes me long for the skills of the much-reviled Lyndon Johnson. Leave aside the Vietnam tragedy for a moment and think about all he accomplished — or at least began — domestically, starting with civil rights and voter rights. LBJ would have accomplished Obama’s original tax program no matter how many arms he had to twist to do it. He’d spent most of his adult life in Congress and knew how to make it work. And, Vietnam aside, most of his agenda was for the betterment of Americans, especially the poor and the disenfranchised.

  9. Submitted by Sue Halligan on 12/09/2010 - 02:42 pm.

    As an old anti-war activist, I never thought I’d say this, but I too long for a Lyndon Johnson these days.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/10/2010 - 10:07 am.

    It’s just so weird. It’s almost like they thought they run as liberals and then deliver a third Bush term and no one would notice. You can see Obama’s actually stunned by the liberal reaction to his presidency. I’m no big fan of Clinton but he was right when he said: “Change? Give me a break”.

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