« Four Lions: suicide bomber slapstick | Home | Christian Bale and Dicky Eklund »

December 7, 2010


How have the Democrats caved today?

Obama caves on taxes

Today's "deal" between Obama and Republican members of Congress is yet another example of Democratic insecurity and timidity that is starting to border on some kind of pathological political personal disorder. OK, Obama felt like it was more important to get extended unemployment benefits than to go to the mat over the Bush tax cut issue, and everybody seems to like the payroll tax cut (even though it doesn't help poor people in any particular way.)

But also lowering the estate tax for multi-million dollar inheritances?! As the Times wrote in an editorial, "That is not compromise. It is capitulation."

Here's a perfect illustration of how desperate the Democratic self-esteem problem has gotten. On NPR this morning, former Democratic representative and current political commentator Martin Frost said, "The worst thing that can happen for Democrats right now would be to block anyone from getting a tax cut because we're mad about the wealthy getting tax cuts, and then have the economy continue to deteriorate – then we'd be in real trouble."

But, Morning Edition asks, wouldn't the Republicans actually be blamed for refusing to compromise and raising taxes for the middle class?

Martin Frost replied, "You're asking me why the Democratic Party isn't very good at messaging right now? I don't have an answer for that."

That's it right there: even when the Republicans make it glaringly obvious how little they care about anybody but rich people, the Democrats still willingly take the blame for bad policies and a bad economy.

Democrats need to stop being so weak and start feeling strong and powerful. This party needs a hot bath, a cute new outfit, lots of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and some inspirational posters with unicorns on them to hang up around the congressional chambers.

Believe in Yourself poster

categories: Economics, Politics
posted by amy at 11:04 AM | #

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


You're right, certainly, about Dem messaging and self-esteem. But I think this deal was the right move.

if Obama had held firm on taxes, unemployment benefits would have been cut off. And that would have caused the economy to utterly crater. Yes, he could blame the GOP, but the next election is a long ways off---by the time it came to vote, no one would remember whose fault it was, they'd just see how crappy the economy was and pull the lever for President Palin.

Posted by: That Fuzzy Bastarrd at December 7, 2010 5:38 PM

As of right now, the Dems still have the White House, the Senate, and the House, and yet they're coming up with whole new tax cuts for the rich that weren't even on the table.

I agree that we've got to keep unemployment benefits flowing, I just wish they had called the Republicans' bluff and let us watch GOP greed cut off 2 million unemployed people right before Christmas. If the Dems held firm and got their messaging together, they could have made the Republicans squirm a little.

Posted by: amy at December 7, 2010 6:03 PM

Maybe they could've made them squirm. Or maybe the GOP would have just said "Dems did it", the usual "some say/others say" would be on the airwaves, and homelessness would shoot up. That strikes me as too big a gamble to take for the sake of messaging.

Posted by: That Fuzzy Bastarrd at December 7, 2010 8:19 PM

You know what word I hate? Messaging. "Message" is a noun. I apologize for my usage of a made-up word.

I think when people say "messaging", they really mean something closer to "advertising".

Posted by: amy at December 7, 2010 10:16 PM

Heh---actually, I think this is exactly the context that calls for neologisms! It's not exactly advertising we're talking about, because it's not paid blocks of media. When Boehner has a press conference, he's clearly not "advertising". I have an automatic fondness for made-up words m'self---makes the language feel alive!---but here, it's also the most descriptive.

Posted by: That Fuzzy Bastarrd at December 8, 2010 1:24 AM

What I think I meant to say is another perfectly good and flexible noun/verb, "spin". That oily engine of the political meat grinder.


Posted by: amy at December 8, 2010 9:21 AM

Blame the spineless Democratic wonders in Congress. Too many of them weren't willing to let all of the cuts expire for that gambit to work as a bargaining chip. The mouthy progressive types are few and far between.

Me, I really like having a President who's all about getting shit done and less about scoring points for team D.

Posted by: Matt Saunders at December 8, 2010 10:49 AM

I'm all for getting shit done as long as it's the right shit. Extending unemployment checks is important, sure, but what this deal means is that no price is too high. The GOP can name its price and know they're going to get it.

Posted by: amy at December 8, 2010 11:08 AM

I don't think that's true at all that "no price is too high". If they'd offered an extension of benefits in exchange for Social Security being moved to private accounts, or the Human Life Amendment passing, or the estate tax being repealed, that would be too high. A two-year extension of the Bush tax rates? Fine. Again, I don't like it, but this is not an existential threat.

Posted by: That Fuzzy Bastarrd at December 8, 2010 11:51 AM

Plus a lower estate tax rate than even Bush got, plus a payroll tax cut that means poor people actually get a little bit less in their paychecks than they would have through the Making Work Pay program.

In today's Times:

"In fact, the only groups likely to face a tax increase are those near the bottom of the income scale — individuals who make less than $20,000 and families with earnings below $40,000."


I understand about political negotiation, and this deal isn't the end of the world, but this feels more like the party in power running scared than a good-faith negotiation process.

Posted by: amy at December 8, 2010 11:55 AM

Well yeah, I think the party in power is running scared---they just got completely pounded in the election, and would've gotten pounded even worse if Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell weren't such fruitcakes. Given just how bad things are for the Dems, this is a better deal than I'd hoped for.

Posted by: That Fuzzy Bastarrd at December 8, 2010 8:29 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)