Probably the most aggravating aspect of President Obama's deal with the
devil hostage-takers of the Republican Party is the way both the act itself -- and Obama's churlish spurning of the people who elected him at yesterday's press conference -- has been the opening it has created for the crass opportunists of the right-wing pundit class.
Guys like Sean Hannity, whose greatest aspiration of the past couple years has been to separate Obama from his supporters, have been all too happy to take that wedge Obama has handed them and drive it right down our gullets.
Take Hannity last night:
HANNITY: All right. Amidst all the controversy on Capitol Hill surrounding the extension of the Bush tax cuts, one thing is crystal clear. This deal marks a major defeat for the anointed one who let political gamesmanship get the best of him.
Well, now he's backtracking on one of his central campaign promises. But apparently that's not how he sees it.
Let's take a look at this exchange from his press conference earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN FELLER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: You've been telling the American people all along that you oppose extending tax cuts for the wealthier Americans.
FELLER: You said that again today. But what you never said was that you oppose the tax cuts, but you'd be willing to go ahead and extend them for a couple of years if the politics of the moment demand it.
So what I'm wondering is, when you take a stand like you had, why should the American people believe that you're going to stick with it? Why should the American people believe that you're going to flip-flop?
OBAMA: Hold on a second, Ben. This isn't politics of the moment. This has to do with what can we get done right now.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: What can we get done right now? Now that sounds like the politics of the moment to me and the president's base is fed up that he caved in. A brand new survey "USA Today" poll shows that a whopping 74 percent of those who contributed to the anointed one in 2008 oppose the president cutting a deal to extend tax cuts for small business and, quote, "higher income earners."
And even more frightening for the president, 51 percent of those contributors said that the tax cut deal will make them less likely to contribute to the anointed one's reelection campaign in 2012. Well, that's music to my ears.
Hannity later invited on our favorite Faux defender of all things Democrat, Lanny Davis, who managed to point out that Hannity's logic wasn't exactly clear: Did he, as a conservative, really want Obama to stick to his guns?
Remember, this is the same Hannity who just a couple weeks ago was declaring Obama too doctrinaire to ever compromise:
HANNITY: Well, look, I would argue and I have argued that Bill Clinton changed after '94 and the Republican Revolution. I contend, and my analysis of President Obama is that he is a rigid, left wing, radical ideologue.
And I've said it many times on the program. I've never seen any inclination in his adult professional life that he has a willingness to be pragmatic to move to the middle to change.
Do you see that in him? Because I don't see it.
It's clear that, in a right-wing field of pundits full of rank opportunists, Sean Hannity is one of the most rank and ham-handed in his obviousness. And it's a reminder of what we all are up against.
It's too bad Obama doesn't seem to have figured that out; he appears more than happy enough to castigate his thoughtful liberal critics as "sanctimonious" and hold his supporters up for ridicule, exposing them to this kind of garbage. But we mustn't let our justifiable anger at Obama become a tool for right-wingers like Hannity and his fellow Fox pundits to divide and conquer. Obama may not be smarter than that, but the rest of us need to be.