Obama and the Dems may, and it's a big may, be finally coming around. Progressives, led by the AFL-CIO and the PCCC have dialed up the pressure for the past week. It looks to having a noticeable effect on the debate.
Take it away, Greg Sargent:
This is encouraging: One of the most powerful labor leaders in the country just said that he's in direct talks with the White House and Dem leaders about throwing down the gauntlet and holding a vote just on extending the middle class tax cuts -- and that all parties involved are seriously considering it.
AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumpka told reporters moments ago on a conference call that he's been aggressively lobbying the White House and Dem Congressional leaders to hold such a vote. Liberals are pushing for this course of action -- rather than a fake "compromise" on extending all the Bush tax cuts temporarily -- because it would represent a genuinely confrontational approach, forcing Republicans to choose between supporting Obama's tax cut plan and opposing a tax cut for the middle class.
Asked if he had been discussing this vote with the White House and Dem leaders and whether he'd received indications it's a real possibility, Trumka said "Yes" to both.
"We've made our intensions clear," Trumka said. "We've talked to them. No one that I'm aware of has said it's not good strategy."
"We're going to push them," Trumka continued. "We will fight for it."
What I like best about this strategy is Trumka's framing - that extending the Bush tax cuts = TARP 2:
Trumka added that continuing the tax cuts for high end earners, even temporarily, is a non-starter.
"It's absolutely insane that in these tough economic times, some people want to continue the George Bush tax giveaway for millionaires," Trumka continued. "It doesn't create jobs. It's bad policy and it's bad for the economy."
Trumka, in a formulation that just might stick, labeled an extension of the high-end cuts "Tarp Two."
"Instead of bailing out the banks, we're bailing out the people at the helm," Trumka said.
This issue a gift for Obama and the Democrats. They just have to open it. The progressive pressure is having an impact. We need to keep it up.
UPDATE: If you haven't signed this petition yet telling President Obama to stand and fight, please do. Over 140,000 strong are standing firm. Let's get it to 150,000!
UPDATE: Wow, rec listed! Thanks, everyone! Here's a quote from FDR that should serve as inspiration in this fight:
"I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."
Keep up the pressure!