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Posted at 3:38 PM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Guess who else supports Obama's tax-cut deal?!

By Stephen Stromberg

The president wants you to know that Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx (D) has endorsed the tax-cut deal he just brokered with congressional Republicans. Well, in that case.

Since Tuesday, the White House has made sure that reporters saw seemingly each and every nice thing that anyone of any note has said about the president's tax framework. Wednesday, we learned that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) also favors the plan. So does Michigan Rep. Gary Peters, a first-term Democrat. I hope the White House press office continues. Because I won't be sure how I feel about this tax compromise until I hear from the District of Columbia Fraternal Order of Police, the Montana Public Service Commission and incarcerated former Illinois governor George Ryan.

Perhaps the White House wants to make sure that the odd non-Washington media outlet sees the news of a local luminary backing the president, reporting it back home. Still, the White House has some standards. Wednesday it mostly highlighted the endorsements of Democrats. That's unusual. It tells you whom the president's political team is worried about. Look at how few prominent national Democrats the White House has mentioned so far. They've got Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, sure, and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, too. But neither of those is particularly surprising.

Obama might simply be trying to control liberal outrage at his tax deal, which some say could result in the left Cartering him in 2012. He probably has more immediate concerns, too; he could be worried that other elected Democrats -- the kind who actually make a difference on whether this proposal becomes law -- won't vote for it. It's probably some of both. So he's demonstrating that it's possible to be a Democrat and approve of an extension of tax cuts for the wealthy, as long as you get enough in return. The snowball's just beginning to roll down the hill. It'll gather size and speed with a little push from the president. Still, to stretch this wintertime metaphor, that snowball's starting off pitifully small.

If the president can rally enough Democrats to vote for his plan in this lame-duck session of Congress, though, he might be in a better political position than his apparently desperate efforts to gather policy endorsements now suggests. He has to bet that in his deal-making with the GOP, he may help convince someone else that he's worth reelecting: the centrist voter.

By Stephen Stromberg  | December 8, 2010; 3:38 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Comments

Campaign professionals have to be reactive; you don't get through a modern American election campaign, particularly one for the Presidency, without being able to come back quickly with a reaction to attacks or unexpected events. The Obama White House is shot through with campaign professionals, and its chief claims his long campaign for the Presidency as the major event of his professional life.

Here's the question, though: even campaign professionals don't have to be only reactive. Everyone has known for years that the Bush tax cuts were due to expire. President Obama's team had a long time to work out a tax plan of his own, even time to put it before the voters prior to the last election. True, his Treasury Secretary was preoccupied reminding the country about how he staved off a depression in the fall of 2008, so someone else in the administration would have had to come up with an Obama tax plan.

Nobody did, and that mystifies me. It's a fact of life that some politicians handle confrontations better than others, but if you knew far in advance that a confrontation was coming, and you had the means to ensure that it took place more on your terms than on those of the opposition, why wouldn't you use them?

Posted by: jbritt3 | December 8, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Where are the Tea Party fanatics now? Is a huge tax break that explodes the deficit really more limited government? Or is it the greatest imaginable destructive act our government could undertake for the sound future of our country?

Posted by: AgentG | December 8, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

This is slightly off topic, but what does the compromise do to Boehner's Pledge to America. Particularly the part about taking back all unspent stimulus. Since we are adding another cool Trillion to the deficit over the next two years, it makes the pledge a joke (although most believed it was anyway). What does the Teabag party think about all of this additional debt? Will Jim DeMint team with Bernie Sanders to filibuster this? Kind of blows the earmark BS out of the water. Maybe Rand Paul can send his "followers" to stop Nancy from entering the House. Now that would be photo op. Nancy on the concrete with a foot on her head.

Posted by: chucko2 | December 8, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

@Stephen Stromberg...

The tote board looks a little light. This Liberal Democrat out in NM is enthusiastically in favor of the President's plan.

Posted by: jade_7243 | December 8, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think Obama is showing much better political foresight than his Democratic congressional colleagues. A good general chooses not only his battles, but his battlefields. This is not an arena that Democrats have shown much proficiency in. Obama has moved the tax cut battle to an election year, and has taken the leap that the economy will set the battlefield into a much better context. Maybe the enconomy won't have improved by then, but chances are it will have improved and will be showing a much better upward trend as well. This will take the air out of the Republican's main argument - that tax cuts for the rich are necessary to stimulate jobs. The deficit argument will overwhelm the jobs argument by 2012.

Posted by: truthwillout | December 8, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

President Obama had to know he would break witht the "We will never win at anything" branch of the party sooner or later. Why stick with losers?

But where will the go? Palin? (As Tom Toles suggests?) Or some other loser?

Or just shut up and write checks.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | December 8, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

President Obama had to know he would break with the "We will never win at anything" branch of the party sooner or later. Why stick with losers?

But where will they go? Palin? (As Tom Toles suggests?) Or some other loser?

Or just shut up and write checks.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | December 8, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

The Tea Party is here and very happy to see all people being treated equally as stipulated in the US Constitution! The section of the Constitutions pertaining to taxation clearly states the what the communist are calling for is clearly not allowed since it reiterates the concepts of equality.

Posted by: davidholt123@comcast.net | December 8, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

JBritt's analysis is spot on. As the enormity of what's happening sinks in, I'm bewildered and disturbed over the Dem's lack of stategy on this as much as I am to the imminent outcome.

I blame Dems in general, not just Obama. This was such a winnable fight they chose to avoid. Instead we got beat over the head with deficits as an issue in the last election, and the GOP will start beating us up with smaller government as an issue next year. Yet I can't think of one Dem politician on the national level who could lead us out of this. And we need more than one, now.

Posted by: michaelmelius | December 8, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Look House lems, er dems, the Obama folks promised you cover for your health-care vote, so what's the problem?
Adding another trillion to the deficit makes sense in this 'weak recovery,' right?
Why worry about the voters' wrath, when you've got the Obama team at your back?
Then again, maybe you're seeing the light.
Let's hope...

Posted by: mtpeaks | December 8, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

They say that Obama is a distant cousin of Dick Cheney. Huess so since Obama is following Cheney's famous line of "Deficits don't matter." I am disappointed in that Obama did not push the Senate Dems on this earlier and wish they would get rid of Harry Reid, a totally ineffective leader. Obama can crow about the unemployment "conscession" he got, but the truth is that the biggest impression is that he caved to the gop. The repubs got what they wanted, extending tax cuts for the rich,whose income has skyrocketed since the bush cuts came in while the middle class income has flatlined. Also, they got another big concession on the estate tax. If the gop allows any votes on DADT or the START treaty before adjourning, I will be very surprised. They backed Obama into a corner and they aim to keep him there. The repubs care nothing about anyone not making 7 figures. The tea partiers have been had.

Posted by: mikel7 | December 8, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

WHERE ARE THE TEASPOONERS!!!!!!??? Huge deficit addition with NO benefit to 98% of Americans.

Posted by: mrtimmaulden | December 9, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

This isn't the first time Obama has played games by Negotiating Deals behind the backs of his Congress and Underhandedly Screwed the Pooch.

Obama did it on the Health Care Bill negotiating a Deal with Drug Companies, Insurance Companies and Others.

Obama bypasses his Congressional Delegation to Support a Republican Agenda.

Now Obama has Publicly Condemned Democrats for not Supporting Republicans?

Obama is just another Blue Dog RepubliCRAT.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | December 9, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Washington doesn't seem to have learned much from the sub-prime mortgage fiasco because that's how they are treating the National Debt. The way to bring it down is to incease income (tax revenue) and decrease expense (e.g. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.) Instead, they opt for a bigger mortgage and delay action on this debt one more time. Someday the mortgage will be called, to the chagrin of Congress. Want egg roll with that???

Posted by: WeeGeordie | December 9, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

When supply-side economics fails, as it always does, whom do we blame? The Democrats for making the deal or the Republicans for winning the negotiations?

Most people that bother to use facts in decision making realize we should be cutting spending and raising taxes to end the deficit. This current debate can be summarized in the following way:

America is the titanic heading for a giant iceberg, we can;

• President Obama’s solution – Quick build more life boats!
• Tea Party solution – STOP Engines and hope we don’t drift into it
• Republican Solution – break out the bubbly and give it to anyone that can pay for it; there are plenty of lifeboats for US.

The American people are saying: TURN THE GD BOAT!

The problem is we never listen to the people in steerage.

Posted by: NewThoughts | December 9, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: WeeGeordie:
"...to incease income (tax revenue) and decrease expense (e.g. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.)"
_______
Why does the left treat the government as though it were a traditional business that should seek revenues beyond its purview? Tax revenue as increased income? Wow! Your view of government's legitimacy is frightening.

Further, why is it that left-leaners always think ONLY in terms of cutting defense and leaving wars? After all, that is one of the few elucidated powers of the government in the Constitution! To protect us (it is irrelevant that you disagree with the wars).
It always amazes me that you consider nanny-state entitlements (about 70% of the federal budget) sacrosanct, but by God, get outta them wars...Unbelievable.
The left can no longer hoodwink the voting public. You aren't progressives. You aren't liberals. You folks are corporatist-fascists - don't think so? Review last year...Czar for this, Czar for that...subsuming industries right and left under the boot heel of a government hostile to business - unless of course, it happens to be one of Barney Frank's businesses - Fannie and Freddie...

Posted by: jay_thompson | December 9, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

There is no "tax cut" in income taxes. They will remain the same as they have been for the past ten years...you know, when the deficit started to climb and the economy and jobs tanked. The Repubs didn't make the tax cuts permanent because they knew they would increase the deficit. What did the Repubs harp about constantly this past year? You bet cha', deficits. Now they want to continue the deficit tax policies of the past and increase the deficit in SS. I guess deficits don't really matter. Don't worry, be happy.

Posted by: clairevb | December 9, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

He has to bet that in his deal-making with the GOP, he may help convince someone else that he's worth reelecting: the centrist voter.

===========================================

I think he understands that he lost the centrists who got him elected in the midterms.

For the first two years he governed like a partisan liberal (or more accurately he let partisan liberals Pelosi and Reid govern). Now he's doing what the people who elected him wanted in the first place.

Posted by: bbface21 | December 9, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"(I)if you knew far in advance that a confrontation was coming, and you had the means to ensure that it took place more on your terms than on those of the opposition, why wouldn't you use them?"

Good question, jbritt3.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | December 9, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Where were all those Dems who made up a majority in Congress BEFORE the elections-- they were trying to get elected, that's where. They were NOT trying to help their constituents. Now, they wanna pin the whole thing on Obama. With "allies" like this, no one can succeed. This is all so bogus -- Congress needed to step up and grow up. They didn't. They still do. Dems, stop whining and DO something.

Posted by: luvzkidz | December 9, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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