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Posted at 8:33 AM ET, 12/ 8/2010

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

Does the public support Obama's tax cut deal? White House officials have been predicting that the public would support the deal once they realized what Obama is getting in return for temporarily extending the high end cuts, and the new Gallup Poll suggests they might have a point.

It finds broad public support for two major elements of the compromise, with 66 percent favoring both the temporary extensions of the tax cuts and unemployment benefits. One other key point: This compromise was reportedly all about winning back independents, and they strongly support both provisions.

* But the public supports ending tax cuts for rich to fix deficit: The new Bloomberg poll surveys attitudes towards the Bush tax cuts in the context of the deficit, and it finds that a solid majority, 59 percent, favor reducing the deficit by putting an end to the high end cuts.

So let's hope Obama -- who has vowed to rejoin the argument over taxes and the deficit in a big way in 2012 -- makes good on his threat.

* Opposition to tax deal mounts among conservatives: Jim DeMint comes out against the deal on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, which is potentially a big deal: DeMint is a de-facto spokesman for the Tea Party wing of the GOP and the deal is going to need a lot of GOP support if it's going to survive in the Senate.

* And the Senate math remains daunting: According to vote counters, at least 30 Dems in the Senate firmly oppose the deal right now, meaning passage is anything but assured. Bright spot for the White House: The deal can still be tweaked to win over current opponents.

* House Dems draw a hard line: Nancy Pelosi and her caucus appear unwilling to accept the GOP-favored estate tax proposal in the tax cut deal, another sign that Pelosi will continue to aggressively challenge the President in defense of core liberal priorities.

* More scorching criticism of Obama from Dems: Obama's sharp rebuke of Dem critics yesterday isn't doing much to quiet the likes of Anthony Weiner:

"There's this general sense that we need the President to be the leader of our country, to be the leader of our party, and to be the leader of the values we believe in, and he seems to go from zero to compromise in 3.5 seconds. I'm not saying that you never compromise or that you never do deals. This is Washington, that's how laws get passed. But he and his team just don't seem to be that good at it."

Key takeaway: No matter how many times the President rebukes his liberal tormentors, this line of criticism isn't going away.

* But the White House keeps pushing back on liberals: David Axelrod makes the case that the liberal demand for more of a fight on the tax cuts would have produced a "political Kabuki dance that would have ended up with a compromise not nearly as good as this."

* Repeal of don't ask don't tell not going to happen this year? Paul Kane reports that the crowded Senate schedule has left repeal of DADT increasingly in doubt.

Punting on this would be a truly awful move by Dems. Repeal of DADT is probably the best way, if not the only way, to mute the criticism of the President from the left and give the base a sense that the lame duck session was not a total disaster.

* No mandate for the GOP to set the country's agenda: So finds a new National Journal poll:

Asked who should take the lead on the major issues facing the country, those surveyed divided almost evenly, with 45 percent saying President Obama and 44 percent preferring congressional Republicans.

* Did Obama fail to fight? It's become a cliche to say that Obama failed to fight on the Bush tax cuts, a claim the White House adamantly rejects, but Matt Miller makes an interesting case for what Obama could have done differently to challenge the GOP.

* A primary challenge to Obama? The idea is ridiculously far-fetched, but as Matt Bai reminds us, history shows that primary challengers tend not to care if they have any chance of winning and have a host of other reasons for taking the plunge.

* For Obama supporters, frustration is all about jobs, jobs, jobs: Dem pollster Peter Hart conducts a focus group on the tax cut deal and finds that what Obama supporters really want is the economy to pick up, suggesting again that in terms of public opinion, unemployment trumps all.

* And Elizabeth Edwards, remembered: Think Progress has a must-read that focuses specifically on her policy legacy and her centrality to the push for health care reform.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | December 8, 2010; 8:33 AM ET
Categories:  2012, House Dems, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights, taxes  
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Next: Does Obama have contempt for the left?


The major thing the country can take from the episode this week is this: When the nation voted for Compromise, no one envisioned Obama kicking and screaming, blaming everyone - and actually using "terrorism" and "hostage-taking" to describe negotiations.

Instead, Obama sold the nation on the idea that he was some big character who could bring everyone together.

That has turned out to be the biggest joke of the 2008 election - AND THIS WEEK WAS THE PUNCH LINE. The liberals apparently have no idea how much damage they are doing to their party this week.

Obama has brought blame to a new art form - one which makes nonsense look practical.

What is even worse, we have witnessed the COMPLETE IMPLOSION of any credibility that the democrats have left. Something happened to the democrats. The democrats lost their agenda during Reagan. They put together the new liberal agenda, which is really just a piecing-together of special interest agendas, and it turned out to be deeply flawed. But something happened to the democrats during the Bush years that they convinced themselves that if they lied enough, they could control the country and press their agendas through. Politics in a democracy just doesn't work that way.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 8, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Let's be clear:

47% of all Americans do not pay Federal income taxes.

So the "liberal argument" is whether the people in the 50-60 percentile should pay more vs. the people in the 90-100 percentile of income.

The "liberals" are NOT fighting for the poor. The poor ALREADY pay NOTHING. The liberals are pitting the Middle Class against the Rich. It is that simple.

So, for Obama to get up the way he did is just wrong.

The numbers simply do NOT support what Obama is saying - It is that clear.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 8, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Greg writes:

Asked who should take the lead on the major issues facing the country, those surveyed divided almost evenly, with 45 percent saying President Obama and 44 percent preferring congressional Republicans.


If you want to say this means the Republicans do not have the "mandate" to set the agenda too - however the real story here is that Obama doesn't EITHER.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 8, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

/see who posted first 3 comments
//doesn't bother reading

Posted by: cao091402 | December 8, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse


I can read pretty fast

Are you referring to Tea Leaves ?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 8, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

"So let's hope Obama -- who has vowed to rejoin the argument over taxes and the deficit in a big way in 2012 -- makes good on his threat."

That's humor, right?

Posted by: wbgonne | December 8, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"A primary challenge to Obama? The idea is ridiculously far-fetched, but as Matt Bai reminds us, history shows that primary challengers tend not to care if they have any chance of winning and have a host of other reasons for taking the plunge."

Yup to the latter points. But, no, it is far from "ridiculously far-fetched."

Posted by: wbgonne | December 8, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

It's not humor but it made me laugh.

Posted by: Papagnello | December 8, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Apparently the estate tax levels were lower than accountants and financial planners were preparing their clients for. I had thought Democrats were wanted 45% / 3.5M exemption and Republicans were at 35% / 5M exemption. I wonder if Obama planned some wiggle room in this so that he could throw the Left a bone to bring them on board.

Also, since both DeMint and Olbermann hate the plan, it must be centrist. Looks like triangulation is going to be the strategy from now on.

Posted by: sold2u | December 8, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse


I find it interesting that Rep. Wiener has been on more TV Shows and has gotten more headlines in the last 3 days on this issue than he got for the entire month before the House and Senate actually voted to extend only the lower-income cuts.

I'm sure the White House would have appreciated this sort of passion and message discipline from Dems before he had to cut a deal.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 8, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

There is no earthly reason to capitulate on the Bush tax cuts, none, zero. The idea that taxes impede the economy is unsupported by any evidence and specifically that the rich will invest in job growth is a spitting-in-the-face insult to the intelligence. Recent history speaks most plainly on this .. given more to spend, the last place the wealthy put their money is in America. They spend on imported luxuries and they invest in countries where the workplace foremen carry cattle prods.

Doubling down in Afghanistan may have been more depraved but the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy is pure betrayal, and Obama has shown himself a BUM.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 8, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

From Tomasky...

"Anyone who thinks this country is ever going to elect a president more liberal than Barack Obama is in fantasy land. And if Obama hasn't been liberal enough for you, as he has not been for me on many occasions, then figure out an effective way to make him be more liberal. But all this spoon-banging over a deal that a) was inevitable - you lose an election like the D's lost this one, you're going to eat some [word for poop] - and b) came out in fact considerably better than anyone anticipated, accomplishes nothing beyond emotional self-satisfaction, which of course for some people is the real point of politics."

Posted by: bernielatham | December 8, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse


I find it interesting that Rep. Wiener has been on more TV Shows and has gotten more headlines in the last 3 days on this issue than he got for the entire month before the House and Senate actually voted to extend only the lower-income cuts.

I'm sure the White House would have appreciated this sort of passion and message discipline from Dems before he had to cut a deal.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

That's what irks me the most about this. Most Democrats hid out before the midterms, and left Obama out there to pretty much wage this battle alone.

If they weren't going to support him rhetorically, the least they could've done was hold a vote on this as he was asking.

But they didn't even do that!

Now, they're mad at him because the situation is what is, as if they had no role in making it this way?

Posted by: associate20 | December 8, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse


Senator Mark Pryor is NOW for repeal of DADT!!! Reid may bring up the Defense Act up for a vote today.

Posted by: maritza1 | December 8, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe I've spent the last 6 years supporting and defending Obama.

Posted by: SDJeff | December 8, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

RE Weiner, see also his conduct during the health care debate. Identical.

Re Miller and a 'tax duel,' yeah, I'm sure the GOP leaders would have agreed to a televised debate.

To repeat a phrase used frequently after 2008, elections have consequences, and Congressional Dems need to accept the fact the the post 2010 terrain does not allow them to dictate the terms of any deal. Perhaps they are now in the 'anger' phase of post-election response?

Posted by: BillB10 | December 8, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

The more I think about this the more I believe Obama is brilliant. The GOP was obviously trying to drag negotiation until the last day so that no other legislation could be passed this session. Just the tax cuts. So they stayed with the ridiculous demands and wouldn't budge. Obama decides if we are to end this quickly, lets take the negotiations public. So here we are, the negotiations are public and Obama must defend them so he is not accused of not negotiating in good faith.

However, what does this do? What does it give the liberals? I haven't figured that out yet...

Posted by: soapm | December 8, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Can we reach bipartisan agreement that politicians and pundits should never again be allowed to use the phrase "Kabuki dance" or "Kabuki theater" to describe politics?

Get a new metaphor!

Posted by: jbossch | December 8, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

When I saw Middle Man Strikes Back, a Tom Tomorrow comic in Salon yesterday morning (, little did I know Obama would actually be acting out the comic by the afternoon.

The simple truth is Obama has ALWAYS given liberals the back of his hand; from the FISA fight BEFORE he even won the Democratic primary, to turning a blind eye to the war crimes committed by the previous administration, wholesale adoption of the Bush security state, extra-judicial assassinations of American citizens, escalating the endless wars, watered down health care reform, individual mandate without a public option, no medicare negotiation of drug prices, no drug re-importation, killing off the employee free choice act, more NAFTA (KORUS) style trade deals, supporting DOMA and DADT in open court, tax cuts for the rich accompanied by deafening silence as his deficit commission recommends cutting social security and eliminating middle class tax policy (health care, mortgage deduction exemption), etc., etc., etc...

This is just a short list off the top of my head.

Again, and again and again Obama has made it crystal clear liberals aren't welcome in the Democratic Party anymore.

He already chased me out of the party. I was truly amused by the stunned silence on the other end of the phone the other day when a DCCC rep called looking for a donation and I informed him I was no longer a member of the Democratic Party because I was a liberal and a member of the ACLU and the Democratic party had nothing to offer me anymore. Funny, funny stuff.

I will be looking for an alternative in 2012. And at this point I really don't care if I have to write in Mickey Mouse.

We desperately need a real second party in this country.....

Posted by: unymark | December 8, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Re: Matt Miller

Miller actually brings out a strategy that I've thought would be a good idea for Dems in general for a while now. Pressing the issue by taking the policy fights to the GOP and bringing the press along.

I've determined there are 2 main reasons Dems don't do it:

1) Because of the club mentality of the Congress (and DC in general), this sort of tactic is seen as "rude" or "ambushing". They try to maintain the aura of disagree-without-being-disagreeable, and this tactic would break that.

2) If the President or Congressional Leaders did it to regular members, it would be "punching down", which is a no-no in CW political fighting. It would elevate the opposition, and dimish your own standing.

Now...I do not agree with those two reasons, and think they both should be flexible.

The "Gentleman's Club" mentality of DC needs to end, especially when it's members are making decisions that they fully understand will hurt millions of Americans for political gain. Then, every member has a responsibility to call them out, even if it makes others in the club uncomfortable.

I half think that punching down is a bad idea, but if you're in a position of power (like the Presidency), you really have no where to punch but down. You have to pick your spots, sure, but you can't exert power without engaging the opposition at some point.

So obviously I think Miller's example is a good idea. I don't think the President even needs to do it. Washington has turned politics into a game, broken down into x's and o's. Daily press conferences aren't about news, it's about what play is being called, or what player is being subbed for. The entire town is in jammed in a rut, replaying the same game between two teams over and over again.

Until someone on the field is willing to change the game, there's built in limitations to what anyone can do. Dems need to stop letting the media determine what gets talked about, and start trying to "make news" by being, creative, direct, and slightly unpredicitable.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 8, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Kabuki accurately describes what is going on


The whole scene is quite remarkable.

Somehow or another, the democrats convinced themselves that the best way to get their agenda in place was to deceive the center to vote for them - BAIT AND SWTICH.

That is a fundamental "House of Cards" which has collapsed - and more deceptions and lies do not help. The democrats do not understand that.

The other thing: the liberal agenda is really a Coalition Agenda of the liberal special interest groups - blacks, hispanics, gays, womens, environmental etc. I suppose the democrats have a "high tax wing" which is so upset with the taxes too.

What is clear: there is little coherence or logic between the parts of the liberal agenda - they represent the individual interest groups. However, the individual groups rely on the whole for the votes to get their agenda put into place.

Somehow or another, the center of the political spectrum is not part of this coalition - they have slowly been pushed out.

The dynamic is clear - when there are a certain number of seats at the table - or a certain number of positions in government - the parts tend to divide up the seats among themselves - there is little room for anyone else to claim even one position because those are usually contested among the interest groups.

So, the "outsider" and "insider" dynamic is in full force - and the democrats have been purging their ranks for at least 20 years now.

Could Bill Clinton ever rise up in the democratic party TODAY ??? I wonder - and perhaps not.

The result now is that the whole thing is NOT working - the coalition can not work together - AND the coalition refuses to do what it has to in order to retain the center. The liberals already threw out the Blue Dogs last year - sacrificed them. Now they are all falling apart.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 8, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Good question from Benen:

What's Plan B?

I don't mean this to sound snarky and this isn't a rhetorical question; I'm genuinely interested in understanding the back-up strategy. When I posed this question yesterday to some Capitol Hill aides I know, they said they'd recommit to fighting even harder for the original Obama tax plan -- permanent breaks for those under $250k, Clinton-era top rates for those above $250k. If/when this week's compromise goes down, Republicans, they said, would likely cave and accept the Democratic approach. They'd have no choice -- it'd be a choice between the Dem plan and higher taxes for everyone. Dems would regain the leverage they lost before the midterms.

And that could work. The plan came seven votes shy of 60 the other day, but when push comes to shove, maybe those seven additional votes would come together, and Dems would win this fight over taxes.

But what then? How would extended unemployment benefits pass for the millions of jobless Americans who need them? What happens to the economic stimulus? What's the strategy for getting quick approval for an expanded earned-income tax credit and the continuation of a college-tuition tax credit? With almost no time left on the clock, after winning the fight on tax policy, is the plan to simply punt on New START ratification, DADT repeal, the DREAM Act, food safety, and health care for Ground Zero workers, hoping for the best in the next Congess?

I understand very well what opponents on the left want to do to reject the tax deal, and why. I'm less clear on what happens next.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 8, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@Greg - on the theme of capitulation... you folks really do need to get some functioning mechanism in place to rid your blog of the troll above.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 8, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"So let's hope Obama -- who has vowed to rejoin the argument over taxes and the deficit in a big way in 2012 -- makes good on his threat."

He won't. What is this, the revenge of the Clintons?

We thought we elected Barak Obama. Since the Republicans are so hard to fight, the center right Democrats decided to take on the left. That is standard fare but when Obama joins in, that is well, it is kind of sad. Hey Barak, how did you beat the Clintons? Was it the hard working, you know...oh I won't go there.

Obama will never get re-elected by pandering to the center right because he does not appeal to the center right and now he does not appeal to the left. He appeals to the people whose candidates got crushed in November. Now he is debased. No one knows who he is, apart from a nice guy and a good dad.

Don't get me wrong, I really like him, I just won't support his candidacy or vote for him - a very painful reality to a person with a drawer full of Obama schwag.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 8, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse


I wonder if McConnell knew that Obama would run to the microphone in attempt to claim credit for the deal before he got the democrats behind the deal.

On Monday, it was Obama's ego getting in the way again


There is another subtle point here - the White House appears "sold" on the stimulus aspects of the tax cuts.

That is important.

Obama and the White House are looking at re-election - and they have perhaps decided to get another stimulus into the economy - the politics on Capitol Hill clearly indicate that this set of tax breaks is the only kind of stimulus which is politically possible.

From an ECONOMIC point of view, a set of supply side policies would probably work best.

These Middle Class tax-cuts might go into the economy fast, however they have LOW job-creation multipliers - EXCEPT IN CHINA.

That is the rub, Middle Class tax cuts stimulute China, not the US economy. And clearly that adds to our debt

In a Free Trade Economy, Keynsian Economics just doesn't work that well -

Obama (who is an idiot to begin with) thinks he can twist Keynes into a socialist-type Middle Class Stimulus - and somehow he has come up with a good policy which fits his class-struggle prism.

The result is a COMPLETE FAILURE OF A POLICY - one which stimulates China, and adds to the US foreign trade deficit and foreign debt.

In addition, this policy ADDS to the existing imbalances in International trade which HAVE TO BE BALANCED in order for a recovery to take hold with a firm foundation.

Obama's policies are actually HURTING THE RECOVERY by making the trade situation worse, not better.

A far better strategy would be to focus on fixing the Trade deficits and supply-side incentives which apply to the US economic growth and job creation only.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 8, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@shrink - OK. So what WILL you do?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 8, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

" a very painful reality to a person with a drawer full of Obama schwag"

I threw away my custom-made Obama T-shirts 3 days ago. Major bummer.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 8, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Is it because I'm a resident foreigner that I perceive so much of the commentary over the last two days as petulant, immature and self-destructive?

There's zero chance of a viable third party forming in the US. As Tomasky says above, there's also just about zero chance you are going to get a President more liberal than the one you've got. The power structures and institutions around DC will crush anything that appears (take the Tea Party/Ron Paul threat that has been now subsumed - and that was a more real threat than anything on the left).

There is this truly weird adoption by many of you on the left of the conservative framing of what a President ought to look like (manly, verging on the dictatorial, taking no enemies). To be fair, it doesn't help that this is the media's framing too - for them it is simple and emotional and symbolic - the mano e mano thing. The media loves this framing and use it constantly in the "horse-race" coverage, in the constant winner/loser themes, in the perverse focus on "the art of politics as war". But it's incredibly stupid as a model for governance.

Those games have to be played to some extent. There's no denying the necessary engagement in these things. But when they come to trump a clear vision of actually running an immensely complex social and economic arrangement as the US now is, then it all gets as silly as choosing a car because you do or do not like the hood ornament.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 8, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The AP says...

"Republicans and business groups have been generally supportive of the package."

Odd, usually the AP is so parsimonious, you don't expect this kind of redundancy.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 8, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Shrink, last night you made a reasoned and dispassionate criticism of my aversion to a Congress that was going to have to run the country on "Continuing Resolutions" because it had not even got all its committee work done on appropriations. Let me return the favor.

Wait and see who your choices are in 2012. Wait and see what this next Congress does.

I would not have played the hand the way BHO did b/c I would have been prepared, as a negotiator, to serve the ball into the forecourt of the next Congress. BHO always signalled that he was not prepared to do that. Perhaps his fear of what the next Congress would do was more realistic than mine. Considering the signals he gave, he played the exchange for all it was worth for Ds.

I do not like the result. But absent a Congress that will finish its work, as it has not done, btw, in recent years, according to "thomas", I am uncertain of the Prez's [any prez's] ability to do much on the domestic front.

I suggest that you wait and watch.

A big effort at tax reform, for instance, that raised revenues while flattening rates and eliminating "tax expenditures", and regularized our corporate tax structure so that the highest rate was not inflicted on the midsize corporations [really, it regresses for the big guys!] and loopholes and offshoring incentives were closed; that might pique my interest [for instance].

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 8, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Well Bernie, you have no idea, but it has nothing to do with being a foreigner.

What will I do? Last night I sorted and bundled about 100lbs of clothes donated to the indigent mentally ill. I put in new insoles and laces in some shoes and boots. I will agitate for peace, in fact, I will fight for peace, in a manner of speaking. I'll fight the Republicans and agitate generally for justice, equal opportunity, personal I have been doing all my life. Obama is a huge disappointment, but that doesn't change reality.

Oh look, here is another capitulation, what a shock...

"WASHINGTON — After three weeks of fruitless haggling with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Obama administration has given up its effort to persuade the Israeli government to freeze construction of Jewish settlements for 90 days, a senior administration official said Tuesday." NYT

Settlements, how they even get to use that word is beyond me.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 8, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Funny how a word enters the pop lexicon .. looks like the neologism of the day is "framing." Yeah, uh-huh, Lakoff, a very old idea "framed" by a new word and everyone yaps framing framing framing like it's something they were saying all along.

Framing my posterior pimples. Liberal my sagging sack. Obama isn't Republican ligjht, he's governing to the right of Nixon or Reagan and in the same arena as Bush the Lesser.

Agreed, shrink, only in my case it isn't a drawer of swag, it's a $1500 hole in my checking account that I could have inflicted buying books and music instead of helping to elect a guy who's extending tax cuts on people who work to end the middle class.

Not that I'll ever vote again anyway, not likely, this from the guy who never missed the smallest municipal primary since Carter lost his re-election. I won't go absentee and I hope to never set foot in America again.

Cằn Thơ, Việt Nam

Posted by: caothien9 | December 8, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

My final disenchantment came well before this .. it came when Obama sat like a truant schoolboy in the principal's office and let the smirking psychopath Netanyahu lecture him about criticizing Israel, channeling Dershowitz and explaing with condescending discursiveness that Israel is above criticism and reproach.

Yeah, settlements. Frothing religious bigots stealing land with American support. Morally unbearable. The settlers should be, quite simply, exterminated.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 8, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Hi ho! Greetings CFox, so glad to know your plan worked. All the best. Some day when my kids are a little older we'll check out your accommodation.

Mark, thank you. Hey, the last paragraph of your 10:12, sure that would pique my interest. Last Winter I remember tapping out long posts with you and others on how to save the American economy without destroying it.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 8, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

g0tte two dedicated guest rooms in this wonderful house, shrink, for American refug.. er, uh, I mean visitors. Arrange yer visa and flight and we'll meet you at the airport in Saigon with a rented van, or our car shiould you be traveling uh light.

Yeah it worked, CITES permits and all, and life is very very good here. Luxury, lesiure, peace.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 8, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"The bill also would provide $159 billion to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."


Posted by: shrink2 | December 8, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Good, that's one less vote for Obama in 2012. Any other takers?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 8, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse


No repeal of DADT.


Posted by: battleground51 | December 8, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Less vote, fewer water. Grammar much?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 8, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I caught a TV clip of Mitch McConnell(The guy that President appointed as the new Senate Majority Leader, since that is who he struck the sell out with)

Mitch eyes were gleaming with delight. He could barely stop from gloating, but around his pursed lips; the canary feathers were clinging.

Posted by: Liam-still | December 8, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse


Mitch's eyes were......

Posted by: Liam-still | December 8, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

CF, sure sounds like fun, we are about 2 years out, but time flies (I remember like it was yesterday sparring with jerks like svreader about Obama's unelectability (racist cover) and how voting for anyone but the Clintons was sure to put the country in the hands of the forces of evil), see you there!

Posted by: shrink2 | December 8, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

All, very good post from Adam Serwer on Obama's attack on the left yesterday:

Posted by: sargegreg | December 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey guys, Greg wanted me to let everyone know the next post is up:

Posted by: Adam Serwer | December 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

shrink, append at yahoo dot com dot vn to this moniker and gimme a jingle

Posted by: caothien9 | December 8, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Obama calls on Congress to extend middle-class tax cuts

"Flanked by members of his Cabinet and his economic team, President Obama adopted the same "hostage" rhetoric his spokesman has been using to urge Congress to pass an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class immediately.

The president has proposed extending tax cuts for individuals making up to $200,000 and for households that earn up to $250,000, arguing it makes more economic sense than spending $700 billion over the next decade to extend the tax cuts for the top 2 percent of Americans. All the tax cuts will expire this year if Congress does not take action.

"Extending these tax cuts is right. It is just," Obama told reporters after a Cabinet meeting. "It will help our economy, because middle-class folks are the folks who are most likely to actually spend this tax relief for a new computer for the kids or for maybe some home improvement."

That is from SEPTEMBER..

If only Congress had actually heeded the call way back in September...

This is more evidence that the left needs to figure out how to hold Congress accountable, and stop blaming Obama for Congress' failures, and it needs to stop allowing Congress to use Obama as a scapegoat for its own failures.

(That last part was especially for you Anthony Weiner.)

There's no excuse for not addressing this issue earlier this year, as the President called for it to be.

Posted by: associate20 | December 8, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

But associate20, don't you believe that Obama has contempt for the left?

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@caoth: "Obama isn't Republican ligjht, he's governing to the right of Nixon or Reagan"

Um, no, he's not governing to the right of Reagan. Nixon, yes, because most presidents have governed to the right of Nixon, who governed to the left of LBJ (I don't recall LBJ instituting wage and price controls during his administration). But Obama isn't initiating right-leaning policy at all, he's just capitulating. Initially, he wanted comprehensive healthcare reform with a public option. That's a very left-of-center proposal. Just because he gave up on it doesn't mean he's governing to the right of Reagan, it just means he gives up very easily.

It could be a lot worse for the left. Republicans could be focused on advancing a deeply conservative agenda instead of always winning the next election, and have easily twisted Obama's arm to being the most conservative presidency since Ronald Reagan, in return for some magic beans and a few beaded necklaces.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 8, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, I used to think a primary challenge was highly unlikely and unrealistic, to be thought of as at the very edge of the proverbial table -- not completely off of it, but largely out of mind.

I am no longer there. A serious conversation about this entails major questions about the massive financing hurdle and the fallout in the Dem coalition, but a theoretical challenger would have some very potent contrasts to make.

It's a surreal thing to type, POTUS crossed/is crossing the line.

Posted by: michael_conrad | December 8, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh please, we can give you any polls we want, depending on how we word the question, did any of the people called, know that next they will have to retire 2,3,4 5 years later because we are giving the rich tax cut ?
I don't think so

Posted by: tqmek1 | December 8, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Bernie asks:

"Is it because I'm a resident foreigner that I perceive so much of the commentary over the last two days as petulant, immature and self-destructive?"

Talk about a hanging curveball just waiting to be slammed out of the park.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 8, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

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