Obama intends to lose these negotiations. That's his tactic. What Obama wanted from the very beginning was to extend the tax cuts for the rich. Just as what he wanted from the very beginning was no public option. The entire act is to disrupt the process so that he can compromise away things that he professes to want, but really does not. It's really pretty ingenious in a sad sort of way. Here we have a neo-liberal in the White House posing as a Democrat while negotiating away the New Deal from right under our noses.
Nov 18 - Obama meets with Democratic leaders. Pelosi and Reid state that the House and Senate will vote on extending only the middle class tax cuts. Obama makes vague comments in support.
Nov 29 - In an "olive branch" to Republicans Obama announces he will freeze federal pay.
Nov 30 - Obama meets with Republicans. Obama sends Tim Geithner to negotiate a deal that everyone knows is to swap extension of unemployment benefits for extension of tax cuts for the rich.
Dec 2 - House passes extension of middle class tax cuts only. Obama says nothing. Senate schedules vote on tax cuts for middle class only for Dec 4. Obama says nothing.
Dec 3 - Obama goes to Afghanistan.
Dec 3 - White House starts talking about how important extension of unemployment benefits is. White House says that the Senate vote is doomed, and that they will get down to a deal with the Republicans once the vote fails.
Dec 4 - Vote in Senate fails. Obama says that he will make a deal by Jan 1, that everyone knows will be to extend the tax cuts for the rich in exchange for extension of unemployment benefits.
Dec 6 - Obama annouces his deal with the Republicans. It has everything in it the Republicans want and the details come as a complete surprise to the Dems. He goes on TV with an impassioned speech.
Dec 7 - He goes on TV with an even more impassioned plea for the "deal."
Dec 8 - He rolls out Biden and every strong arm tactic available to the presidency to pressure Democrats.
When did he ever fight for us?
Throughout this kabuki theater Obama never once used the office of the President to support congressional efforts to kill tax cuts for the rich, even though this was his bedrock campaign pledge. In fact, on the night before the Senate vote, rather than politic for the bill, the Obama Administration told the media the bill was doomed and that they were dealing separately with Republicans. You can understand why Democrats in congress are frustrated.
He is not on your side. Get used to it. Stop him.