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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 12/ 7/2010

President Obama faces defeat

By Jennifer Rubin

President Obama's announcement last night was an obvious trial for him. He was glum throughout, and, as he is wont to do when he encounters defeat (in his post-election "shellacking" press conference, for example) he became peevish.

He complained that the mean Republicans made him do it: "And what is abundantly clear to everyone in this town is that Republicans will block a permanent tax cut for the middle class unless they also get a permanent tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, regardless of the cost or impact on the deficit." Actually, it's clear that a great number of Democrats in the House and Senate have abandoned the class warfare gambit, and now Obama must too. But not willingly, he declared:

I'm not about to add $700 billion to our deficit by allowing a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And I won't allow any extension of these tax cuts for the wealthy, even a temporary one, without also extending unemployment insurance for Americans who've lost their jobs or additional tax cuts for working families and small businesses -- because if Republicans truly believe we shouldn't raise taxes on anyone while our economy is still recovering from the recession, then surely we shouldn't cut taxes for wealthy people while letting them rise on parents and students and small businesses.

But Republicans weren't opposing tax breaks for anyone. Oh, no, nevermind. This speech was for the liberal base, I suppose. But do they appreciate seeing the president reinforce the obvious, namely that they've lost an election and the debate over soaking the rich? By complaining that he was held hostage by the Republicans, Obama emphasized his own political impotence.

Juan Williams once remarked that Obama wasn't the sort of fellow you'd want with you in a foxhole. When the crowd is swooning and the votes are going his way, no one can take a victory lap like Obama can. But when crisis hits -- for the country or for his and his party's political fortunes -- he too often resorts to grouching and a self-pitying tone. It's not going to win him new admirers, and it's quite likely to annoy his already disallusioned liberal base.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 7, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  President Obama  
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Next: More reaction to the tax deal

Comments

It's quite instructive to see that even many Democrats embrace the obvious - that cutting taxes stimulates economic growth.

Of course, we really need to get to work at hacking up the federal budget. But these tax rate extensions and tax cuts should provide a lift, albeit a small one probably.

I'm sure our favorite lefties on this blog will be in rare form today - you'll have to wait awhile longer to 'soak the rich' out of petty jealousy, guys.

Posted by: jmpickett | December 7, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

This is a good start but as jmpickett notes, we need to hack up the federal budget (and state and municipal budgets) and get the economy out from under the 4000 pages of regulation passed over the last two years.

Posted by: limatom | December 7, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

It is easy to talk about our President when you're sitting at your laptop writing an article for pay. I am a skilled professional with an excellent set of references, schooling and experience. However, I also live in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates. I am one of thousands of people with excellent experience and skill still unable to get a job. My friends that are employed are scared to make a mistake at work because it is clearly an employers market and getting thrown out is easy, they can replace you before they take your card key. I am married and the mother of 2 small children so please understand the $355 I receive from unemployment is a lifeline and not nearly enough for me to settle for as a free ride. I am accustom to living a comfortable life with provisions for my kids future. Since being unemployed I have even started graduate school to attempt to gain a educational advantage and still to no avail. I hear people talking about sending out a few resumes a week. I take on looking for a job like a full time job but when employers see how much I have earned in the past they are reluctant to hire me for fear I will leave when the better offer comes along and truthfully they are correct. I need to eventually get back to
my previous salary. In the mean time I applaud Obama for making the tough decision for those who need this extension desperately and choosing to ignore those that have steady income and no knowledge of the impact of losing this benefit. People on unemployment can't be lazy, in order to qualify for unemployment you must have worked for an extended period of time. I take insult to being called lazy. When I was in the office I was always the first one in and the last one out and now I hear people referring to a situation to describe a group of people as lazy. Seriously! Don't knock Obama for something you could never understand. He could have chosen to fight the Republicans, while people who have worked hard in this country systematically lose everything because he wanted to show the working people he is tough. It takes a strong man to make the tough decisions. Thank you Obama.

Posted by: sell00 | December 7, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

"It's quite instructive to see that even many Democrats embrace the obvious - that cutting taxes stimulates economic growth."

LOL obvious. Sure Cletus. You've been played again by the Koch brothers and the rest of your masters.

Posted by: Observer691 | December 7, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Very immature column.

Posted by: Observer691 | December 7, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

If the people with the money start hiring now as the Republicans said they would. That will be a good thing and it will help the Republican take control of both houses an the presidency after Nov 2010. That might be the Democrats best strategy to let them take it back.

If history is right, it takes the Republicans several years to drive us into the deep ditch. Democrats are only beneficial when we are in the deep ditch. Pres. Obama's problem is that we were just falling into the ditch and the political chatter has erroneously identified him as the ditcher.

We should have elected McCain as he would likely have had a 11 or 12 percent unemployment rate and the Democrats could have a much better chance of solving Americas problems.

The one track mind of the Republicans (No tax is too small is their motto) gets us into trouble.

The current tax rate that was implemented when we went to war in Iraq might have worked if we hadn't had an unfunded war.

We should have a constitutional amendment to require all wars to be paid for by all citizens and now just volunteers.

The good news is we can now see if the Trickle down theory works. It has never been proven.

Posted by: LL314 | December 7, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"Juan Williams once remarked that Obama wasn't the sort of fellow you'd want with you in a foxhole"

Neither was Dick Cheney, but he'd be happy to be the guy behind the front lines selling shovels to the guys who were!

Posted by: 54465446 | December 7, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

To all of you who clamor for higher tax rates, there is a place on your tax return where you can send additional money to the Treasury. Why don't you put your money where your "principles" are and pony up? Then again, many of you are probably in the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax.

Posted by: alexandria6351 | December 7, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Lady you are obviously out of touch with the state of people struggling to make it day to day. The post should fire you so you can need unemployment and see what its like to wait on news about your livelihood after going on interview after interview and being denied employment. You are truly a confused individual if you felt the President should have left us face down in the dirt while wealthy polititions fight for MORE wealth. Not that you even care to probably read these comments but I had to get that off my chest. UGH!!!!!

Posted by: toshacourtney | December 7, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@sell00

For you to get back to your former professional situation government will have to repeal ObamaCare, dramatically modify if not repeal FinReg, and very significantly cut back on the racking ball of regulation and gifts to their trial lawyer and labor allies. None of this is going to happen with Obama in the White House and I wish you and the many Americans whose lives this administration is devastating lots of luck. For at least the next 2 years most people in this country will be in desperate need of such.

Still, the Republican victory and the prevention of a huge tax increase on productive people, businesses and investment will help many people recover their jobs. Be grateful to them and work toward Obama's defeat.

Posted by: cavalier4 | December 7, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: alexandria6351
To all of you who clamor for higher tax rates, there is a place on your tax return where you can send additional money to the Treasury. Why don't you put your money where your "principles" are and pony up?

My principles are if I pay 39%,you pay 39%,we're supposedly a nation,not a pile of independent contractors. I am for the discontinuation of all the Bush tax cuts for everybody. BTW,this is not over until Congress puts a bill on Obama's desk that he signs. My info says that the Senate Dems will fillabuster it if it gets thru the house,if it gets thru the House.

Posted by: rcaruth | December 7, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

@: Observer691 | December 7, 2010 9:23 AM
"Very immature column."

And yet, here you are again, Cletus. How mature does that make you?

You want fries with that?

Posted by: HenriLeGrand | December 7, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

cavalier:

If you think that the Fin Reg has in any way impeded Wall Street, it's only because they learned quickly from Lloyd Blankfein's making as ass out of himself, public relations wise.

Believe me, while they were moaning in public they were popping corks on the champagne in private on the most harmless regulatory bill imagineable.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 7, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a weakling. He draws a line in the dirt, then backs up and angrily draws another. I'm sure our adversaries around the world are taking note.

A smart politician like Bill Clinton would have acknowledged that the voters had spoken and treated the compromise as an accomplishment, not reacted like a sulking loser. When Obama attempts to demonize Republicans as hostage takers, he makes himself look feckless by caving to them.

Obama's illusion of strength and leadership is gone and can't be restored, any more than the "hope and change" schtick. Politically, Obama has turned into Bush after the 2006 elections.

Posted by: eoniii | December 7, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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