dangerous debt compromises
by E.J. Dionne Jr
What we are witnessing here is the
political power that comes from the Republican Party's single-minded
focus on high-end tax cuts and the strategic incoherence of a
Democratic Party that is confused and divided
and not getting much help from its president.
Obama seems to have decided that showing how conciliatory he can be is
more important than making clear
where he stands. The administration's strategy is rooted in a fear of
what Republicans are willing to do,
which only strengthens the GOP's bargaining position.
The president figures that congressional Republicans would be quite
happy to let taxes on the middle class
rise on Jan. 1 if that's the price of continuing to fight for the tax
cuts for the rich. In a game of chicken,
Republicans are willing to gamble - even if the economy would take a
He's right to fight for a restoration of unemployment compensation for
about 2 million Americans whose
benefits have expired, and for other stimulative measures. And, yes,
the Senate should ratify the New START
treaty with Russia before the end of the year - though what does it say
about us when the president has to
offer a tax-cut payoff to get a key foreign policy initiative through?
Once Obama started his bending over and caving in on every
issue, the GOP knew they had him.
Now all they have to do is say "Boo!" and
Obama will call another press conference to apologize
for holding such a hard line and not reaching out enough to these good
and decent Republicans.
Here's our dilemma: Obama is NOT going to change - so the question
should senior Democratic senators ask him for a meeting?"
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