Many people who identify with the Democratic Party are upset by the way President Obama has been handling Republicans, health care, Wall Street, taxes and a host of other issues.
Clarence B. Jones is the former personal counsel, adviser, draft speech writer and close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and (as Susie noted already) he thinks it's time to consider a primary challenge to Obama:
Time to Think the Unthinkable: A Democratic Primary Challenge To Obama's Reelection
Paul Krugman is frustrated that President Obama has caved in to Republican blackmail on the Bush tax cuts that were implemented in an unscrupulous fashion. Let’s Not Make a Deal
Back in 2001, former President George W. Bush pulled a fast one. He wanted to enact an irresponsible tax cut, largely for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans. But there were Senate rules in place designed to prevent that kind of irresponsibility. So Mr. Bush evaded the rules by making the tax cut temporary, with the whole thing scheduled to expire on the last day of 2010.
Last but not least: if Democrats give in to the blackmailers now, they’ll just face more demands in the future. As long as Republicans believe that Mr. Obama will do anything to avoid short-term pain, they’ll have every incentive to keep taking hostages. If the president will endanger America’s fiscal future to avoid a tax increase, what will he give to avoid a government shutdown?
So Mr. Obama should draw a line in the sand, right here, right now. If Republicans hold out, and taxes go up, he should tell the nation the truth, and denounce the blackmail attempt for what it is.
Yes, letting taxes go up would be politically risky. But giving in would be risky, too — especially for a president whom voters are starting to write off as a man too timid to take a stand. Now is the time for him to prove them wrong.
He also wrote that Democrats might have to look for leadership elsewhere. Freezing Out Hope
It would be much easier, of course, for Democrats to draw a line if Mr. Obama would do his part. But all indications are that the party will have to look elsewhere for the leadership it needs.
Frank Rich is also very shrill at the moment. All the President’s Captors
But as Madrick adds, there has never been a sitting president over that period who has had to run with an unemployment rate as high as 8 percent — which is precisely where the Fed’s most recent forecasts predict the rate could be mired when Obama faces the voters again in 2012. You’d think he’d be one Stockholm Syndrome victim with every incentive to break out.
Obviously the President didn't get the memo. Ezra Klein argues that this deal could actually work as a stimulus for the economy and the Obama administration is taking the long view about the 2012 elections and not worrying about losing a couple of news cycles over it. Can the White House win in 2012 by losing on the Bush tax cuts now?
The irony of the situation is that the White House may strike a better deal because they handled the politics so poorly. If they'd showed more backbone early on and publicly demanded that the Republicans extend a package of tax breaks from the much-hated stimulus bill, it might've made it impossible for Republicans to agree to anything of the kind. As it is, the White House defined an extension of the tax cuts for the rich as a loss for them -- and now they're going to extend those tax cuts, and lose. They were not playing for this outcome.
But though they're coming out on the wrong side of the short-term politics and the wrong side of the tax policy, they may be coming out with a win on stimulus that no one expected, and that may ultimately matter much more for both the economy and Obama's reelection campaign.
Actually, if you've been paying attention, Obama may not lose news cycles since most Beltway Villagers believe that millionaires should indeed keep their Bush wingnut welfare and would love for it to be made permanent. On the other hand, Progressives that make up Obama's base are the only people that are screaming about not extending the Bush tax cuts and will never, ever compromise of the cutting of benefits to Social Security and Medicare. The only really hard choices the country has to make, according to the Beltway elites, are all for the sake of reducing the federal budget deficit. The suffering for the sins of the free markets, naturally, will be laid at the feet of the working-class families of America, and not for the Villagers and their friends.
We can never punish those very important Wall Street stock pickers and corrupt bankers. Peter Orszag wrote as much in his NY Times column about fixing Social Security, "The program that isn't broken".
I turned on John King via CNN and heard the same gibberish that Digby did. She was kind enough to write out a transcript.
I've been writing that the Bush tax cuts should have been dealt with as soon as Obama took office since he ran so hard against them during the general election. Digby and I talk all the time about this issue and we're in total agreement on this point.
At this point the President, the Democratic moderates and the GOP are in agreement that tax cuts are the only way to stimulate the economy, that regulations are bad, that social security must be cut, and that the best way to fix the economy is to cater and pander to the wealthy, the corporations and Wall Street. I think we've finally achieved bipartisan heaven.
Since they are going to rip Barack Obama to shreds regardless, I hope for his sake that he really does believe this, because he's going to be Wall Street's living martyr for the cause. Too bad about all the people, who will have to suffer much harsher punishment.
Update: And by the way, Ezra and others continue to misunderstand what the Republicans were really after here. As I've said ad nauseum they want the tax cuts to be temporary because they want to have this fight over tax cuts to continue into the presidential campaign. If the President agreed to extend the tax cuts permanently, the issue would be off the table and that's not to their advantage. (Believe me, the business community is not really *uncertain* about anything at this point.)
Yes, it's better that they didn't extend them permanently, but are liberals looking forward to this argument two years from now? (And will there ever be any circumstances that will make it easier for them to expire than there were in the spring of 2009?) It's a missed opportunity, and one which I suspect was always planned to miss. The Bushies knew what they were doing when they rigged this one and it would have taken a Democratic party and a president much more brave and populist than the ones we have to undo it.
Paul Krugman checks out the new deal and thinks it's not as bad, but still disappointing.
So, was this worth it? I’d still say no, although it’s better than what I expected over the weekend. It still greatly increases the chances of the Bush tax cuts being made permanent — especially because the front-loading of the stimulative stuff actually worsens Obama’s 2012 electoral prospects. Overall, enough sweetener has been added to diminish, but not eliminate, the bitterness of the disappointment.
Americablog has a twitter reaction from some Liberals and it ain't pretty.
Chris Bowers writes: Rebellion to tax cut deal spreading on Capitol Hill
Does the White House really believe it'll help them in 2012 to run against extending the Bush tax cuts? The payroll tax holiday sounds like another vehicle that Republicans can use to try and destroy Social Security, We've been hearing rumblings about a primary challenge in grass-roots progressive circles lately. The liberal elites will dismiss this as insane because the GOP doesn't have a credible candidate at this point to run against Obama. I understand what a primary could do, since it took a wrecking ball to the Democratic Party in 1980, but I'm curious to see what you guys feel at this moment. So here's a snapshot poll on the topic.
Should There be a Democratic Primary Challenge to President Obama?