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Bernie Sanders valiantly and prolifically on Friday spoke to the American people and for the American people about a set of values that I firmly vow are my values as well.  The Democratic caucus in the house last week stood up for the middle class and the working poor and against continuing to give the wealthy even more money in the form of tax cut extensions.  I agree entirely with them on principle, albeit with less profanity.

  Yet this week it is also my wish that both houses of Congress pass the tax compromise and get it done before the end of the week.

One of the biggest mistakes that President Obama has made in his first two years as our President was beginning with the assumption that our problems were so severe that both sides of the table would come together and get things done because it is in the best interest of our nation.  After all that is what they were sent to Washington to do.

  It did not take long for him to realize that this would not be the case.  Republicans were far more interested in regaining power than furthering progress within our nation.  They were far more interested in votes than jobs.  Republicans were far more interested in their wealthy campaign donors than the middle class.

  The Republicans would soon discover that they were very good at something.  They were good at stopping legislation.  They were good at stopping progress.  As good as they were at this, they were just as skilled at the art of the con.  They beautifully managed to persuade a sizeable percentage of the people that they were for them.  The Republican’s would protect them from the great evil of liberal ideology.  Working class people and unemployed people would somehow be persuaded that they should vote for the very people who have been trying to destroy Social Security and Medicare for generations.  This is the American way they were told.  Anyway this is the "real" American way.  People were casting votes for politicians whose primary agenda is to destroy their security.  Amazing, yet true.

  When polling is done on just the issues, we find that the American people agree with the vast majority of Liberal ideas.  Two years ago we were wondering if the Republican’s would survive.  Two years later we know that the answer is yes.  A group of skilled politicians many no sense of morals or honor have skillfully controlled the narrative, the story and the 2010 elections.

  Meanwhile few of us left-leaning citizens did little more than shake our heads in disbelief at the coverage of the Tea Party while sitting on the couch.  This is not good enough.  While Republican’s could say listen to our people, they are angry and upset over what is going on, liberals could say little but, "did you see that story on Rachel last night?"

  The loss of independents in the 2010 election had absolutely nothing to do with the policies presented by the current administration.  The loss was due to the perception that Washington is still broken.  The loss was due to the fact that the process was and is ugly.

  The definition of compromise was turned into doing only what both sides agree on.  Which quite frankly, is not a hell of a lot?  Effective compromise should involve both sides giving up something to get what they want.

  Anyone who thinks that stalling this compromise and leaving it subject to months of debate and bickering on the house floor is good for our Country is delusional.  How many will suffer?  How much would this hurt our economy?  Do we really want to find out?

  To me the greatest part of this compromise was that it buys us a considerable amount of time.  We do not have to turn around in three months and fight for another extension on unemployment benefits.  We can concentrate on other things.  If we squander the time but do not address infrastructure investments, making Social Security more secure, or bringing our troops home from Iraq, then yes it will be the worse for us.

  Moderate Republican’s in Congress have stated that ratification of the New Start Treaty, repeal of DADT and the Dream Act are non-starters until a tax compromise is reached.  I for one want to address those issues before the New Year when we will have to deal with a Republican controlled house and a weakened Senate.  I fear we are running out of time.

  One member of Congress whose compassion, and in most instances, whose judgment I respect immensely is Anthony Weiner.  He has recently attempted to malign the President by calling him the Negotiator-in-Chief.  He claims that this is not his job.  The hell it isn’t.

  The President dispatched his people to negotiate with both Democrats and Republican’s to craft a compromise.  They got it done in short order.  There are parts Democrats do not like and there are parts Republicans do not like.  The most impressive part with this was that it got done at all.

  Democrats when arguing for a second stimulus in the last few months have stated that the deficit really does not matter unless we get the economy going.   Now the Democrats are saying the very same things that Republicans were saying.  We cannot afford to pass this debt onto our grandchildren.  Meanwhile they are staunchly in favor of other more stimulative programs which also greatly add to our deficit.  At least, by all appearances, both sides are being a bit disingenuous.

  The environment is different now.  The President realizes this.  It was not good for the Democrats before when dealing with Republican wannabes Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, and Blanche Lincoln.  Do you think it will be easier with John Boehner in charge and an empowered Mitch McConnell?

  Now we are hearing that Obama is a turncoat.  Obama is really a Reagan republican.  Obama is a failure.  Yet we do not ask why Harry Reid does not pass only the middle class tax extension via the budget reconciliation process.  This is the way the original tax cuts were passed under Bush with Vice-President Dick Cheney casting the deciding vote since it was tied at 50-50.  He could do this.  Yet he does not.  We fail to ask why Nancy Pelosi mystifyingly "punted" the vote on tax cuts for the middle class tax extension until the lame duck session

  For the next two years we will have to suck it up.  Pass legislation we do not like in order to pass legislation we do like.   Doing nothing is not an option.  Stalemate is not an option.  We must allow our President to work with the other side.

  We can make the best decisions based upon realities or we can wither on the vine due to our ideologies.  We can pat ourselves on the back for sticking to our guns or we can lick our wounds for weakening the economy.

  Passing an extension of tax cuts for the rich is a bitter pill to swallow but one that I believe we should.

  Whatever we decide we should be very careful.  Independents are watching and 2012 is not that far away.

Originally posted to Dan Bimrose on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 01:16 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Thanks. I appreciate the diary. (0+ / 0-)

      I don't really buy the arguments, though.

      I don't think this is a compromise in the sense that you define it - the GOP gave up nothing, and the poison pill of the payroll tax holiday is extremely destructive.

      We'll see how it turns out, but looking at the past two years, given the policy outcomes, I see two major possibilities:

      * Obama is basically a progressive, but couldn't get anything resembling a progressive agenda passed with gigantic majorities in the House and the Senate.  Obviously if this was his best effort at a progressive agenda under those conditions, then the next two years will be even worse.  Under this scenario he is an incredibly inept president and our Congressional representation is, as a whole, useless.

      * Obama is basically a Blue Dog, and used the need for 60 votes to posture to progressives as someone trying and failing to get acceptable outcomes.  Under this scenario he got pretty much what he wanted and is a competent, even skilled but basically conservative president.  Under this scenario the next two years will look remarkably similar to the last two years, but more so... he now has a GOP House to work with instead of that nasty, sanctimonious purist collection of fools under Pelosi, and he can bring Blue Dogs to the table to cover any defections in the GOP ranks from over-zealous, not-in-on-the-scam Tea Party Representatives.  Presumably he could still use the 60 votes excuse with progressives, even while actually getting things through more easily because of the GOP senators willing to go along to get along (hey they get what they want anyway, right?).

      Now, I know that Obama supporters will take issue with both characterizations; certainly this comment isn't substantive enough to convince you of this point of view.  And obviously you can come to other conclusions based on what you've seen these past two years, especially if you are hell-bent on obtaining a positive evaluation.  But... I just don't see the next two years having any better of an outcome, from my point of view, in terms of policy.

      It will be interesting to see what goes on the next two years, culminating in the 2012 elections - however, at this point Obama has pushed me toward indifference about the outcome of that particular battle.  If he's done his political calculus well, he'll pick up more moderates than he loses progressives.  Presumably these middle-of-the-road fans of just getting something, anything done will be so moved by incremental steps in both (good and bad) directions and the fact that there are votes from both parties on trivial and/or bad policies (which are apparently the only policies that can pass) that they will be falling all over themselves to donate and volunteer for Obama.  At this point, I can't imagine donating again to his campaign - since I'm a small donor, that's of little import in itself and I would guess that Obama himself considers the support of die-hard progressives of dubious value anyway.

      I am inclined to think that the President has not postponed the showdown for as long as everyone assumes.  When the debt ceiling fight comes, and it it will come this spring, I fully expect there to be atrocious cuts in a variety of crucial programs.  Whether Obama is getting his ass handed to him or whether he's gladly serving liberal programs up on a silver platter to prove his moderate bona fides is both debatable and largely not significant.  The outcome will not be pretty in either case.

      Policy-wise, the GOP is going to feast this year.  Broad victories that validate their worldview, endorsed by a Democratic president and passed with big bipartisan margins.  These same policies will, of course, set up future crises to be exploited to further their agenda down the road in a destructive positive feedback loop.  Welcome to the new bipartisan consensus.

      Blue Dogs, Conservadems and Obama supporters will be very sure that it (whatever it is) is the only thing possible, it is inevitable and it is actually good if you look at it in some very narrow, specific light.  They may even get frisky and really try to sell it as fantastic... ripping the band aid of all at once and what not, entitlement reform and tax reform!  Common sense!  We just couldn't keep it up, yada yada yada.

      For progressives, it'll be more non-potable water served up with everyone shouting DRINK UP! and feigning surprise at our desperate, thirsty flailing.  WHY SO UNREASONABLE? **choke**

      Obama - getting rolled like a chump by mouth-breathers since 2008.

      by teknofyl on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:41:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Compromiser in Chief (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Poet, dabtl, The Uncola

    I get the feeling that if Obama were president in 2001, he would have worked out a deal for Al-Qaeda to blow up just one of the World Trade towers instead of both.  And there would be a "clap louder" Kossack faction cheering him on, and a "pragmatic" faction saying that preventing one tower from being blown up is better than Bush was able to do, so we should open our wallets and stop asking questions.

  •  What compromise? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, bear83, dabtl
  •  One of the biggest mistakes President Obama.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, bear83

    ...has made is simply not leading.  

    I read a comment linking to a timeline detailing the path that led to this fucked up compromise and I was reminded of the sinking feeling I got when President Obama stepped back and decided to let Congress decide how to handle this.  That was when he should have stepped up and taken control.  They all knew this was coming and he chose to pull back and Congress just didn't step up to the plate.  They let their opportunity pass and are now scrambling.

    He fucked up.  Congress fucked up.  They all disgust me at this point.

    "History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again." ~Maya Angelou

    by abbysomething on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 04:03:37 AM PST

  •  Sorry, No Sale (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, teknofyl, bear83, bluezen

    The President lost me some weeks ago.

    He is little more than a Bush clone in my opinion.

    If he wants my money and support, he needs to earn it.

  •  Repubs play Opposition Party better then we do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluezen

    Don't remember  that the Dems stopped anything cold during the Bush Era . Or that the repubs "caved" to us on anything.
    They stick to their guns and stick together better than we do, no doubt about it

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 05:35:38 AM PST

  •  The WH never hesitates to find fault with (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, bear83, mmgth

    liberals and progressives -- even when it excludes them from negotiations -- but, curiously, has only words of praise for Rs who adamantly refuse to compromise on anything not on their agenda . . . and wonders why there's dissent in the ranks of Ds . . . really?

    If the Prez only responds to incalcitrance, then the Ds should give him more of it -- just say "No!" everytime he wants to compromise w/the Rs and maybe he'll have to compromise with us for a change.

  •  It is a bitter pill to swallow (0+ / 0-)

    But the very important UI extensions and extensions of renewables grants make it a bit easier for me to do so.

    "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

    by Lawrence on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 05:46:17 AM PST

    •  Isn't that just wonderful for you! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teknofyl, bear83

      Wish I also rated some sort of relief. Guess us 2nd class citizens don't count. Oh well...

      .. bet they'll remember me come 2012 though.

      And I'll remember this screwing they gave me.

      Why do they only call it "class warfare" when we are fighting their unquenchable greed?

      by The Uncola on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 06:07:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, renewables are not important to you? (0+ / 0-)

        Otherwise I find your post confusing... why do you consider yourself a "2nd class citizen"?

        "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

        by Lawrence on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:16:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I haven't ... (0+ / 0-)

          .. a cent of income since February, what's confusing about that? And this shit sandwich has absolutely nothing in it for me, NOTHING, NADDA, ZILCH.

          I don't "consider myself a second class citizen," but it's pretty damn clear to me that the Democratic Party does.

          But you got yours, right? So everything is good.  

          Why do they only call it "class warfare" when we are fighting their unquenchable greed?

          by The Uncola on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 08:59:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  feels like leaving something on the table (0+ / 0-)

      I think the repubs want the tax cuts for the rich so much we could get help for the 99ers here too.

    •  It's only a bitter pill for Democrats (0+ / 0-)

      There's nothing in the bill to make Republicans swallow hard. No victories for Democrats. That's what makes this such a bad deal - the GOP didn't give up a damned thing.

      There should never be a tax benefit for companies that screw over American workers.

      by bear83 on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 06:32:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A bitter pill? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, mmgth

    No, you don't swallow things that are bad for you. This "bitter pill" has seen us go from a real unemployment of 5% to 18% with millions of full time workers becoming part time workers. Not to mention the debt, the decaying infrastructure, and the decline of the average citizen's power.

    "When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." -Ben Franlin

    We are exchanging the long term health of the country for some short term efficiencies with a strategy of the next micro-chip is being developed in someone's garage. Its not.

  •  There Are Parts Republicans Do Not Like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, mmgth

    And just what part of the "compromise" would that be? The Republicans got everything they wanted - the estate tax was kept low, tax cuts for their millionaire campaign contributors were preserved for 2 years, the defunding and dismantling of Social Security has begun under the guise of a "payroll tax holiday" (and just wait for the hollering about tax rates "going up" when this one expires), and, barring a sudden pickup in the economy and increased hiring, the Republicans get to hold unemployed Americans hostage again in 13 months to extract more concessions from Obama. Bonus for the Republicans: this "compromise" increases the national debt. In the 2012 election, Republicans will use the convenient idiots in the Tea Party to scream about our soaring national debt and blame it on Obama and the Democrats.

  •  This "compromise" is a crap sandwich (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teknofyl

    Doesn't matter that the sandwich has mustard on it. It is still a crap sandwich.

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