I have three words to say to the stupid liberals who are loudly complaining about Obama’s compromise with Republicans over the Bush tax plans. Those three words are: READ MY LIPS.
As in George H. W. Bush’s infamous “read my lips, no new taxes.” It was the death knell of the first Bush presidency when Bush broke his campaign promise and raised taxes in a bad economy. Which brings me one of Obama’s key campaign promises — he promised he would not raise taxes on Americans who make less than $250,000 per year. This campaign promise has been Obama’s defense on all Republican claims that Obama was coming for our money. “I’m not coming for your money, Middle Class,” Obama said, “I’m only coming for the rich people’s money. They can afford it.”
What does this have to do with the current situation? If Obama had broken his campaign promise not to raise taxes on people making less than $250,000 a year, it would have been EXACTLY like Bush’s “read my lips.” It would have been the exact same blunder. And that is what he would have had to do if he wanted to play chicken with Republicans in the current situation. Everyone knew he couldn’t get the votes to keep the tax cut for the middle class only. His only other options were to take the compromise and keep all the tax cuts, or let all of the Bush tax cuts expire, raising everyone’s taxes. The second option would mean breaking his campaign promise to raise taxes on the middle class during a recession. Aside from having very real negative effects on the economy, it would have given the Republicans all of the ammunition they needed to label Obama as a reckless tax and spend liberal. His administration would be ruined in the eyes of all conservatives, all moderates, all independents and a fair number of liberals. Game over.
Quite simply, Obama did what he had to do. He got the middle class their tax cuts. He got the unemployed their benefits back. He won the right to remind the middle class that the Republicans were willing to hang him out to dry to benefit the rich but he, Obama, was willing to overcome ideology to save them. And he won the right to make another point that I’m sure we’ll hear Democrats making a lot in the next two years: the first act of a Republican Congress that was elected to get the deficit under control was to make matters much worse, and they did it to protect the rich.
A lot of liberals are complaining a lot. Well, fuck the liberals. I’m sick to death of listening to them bitch and moan. They claim to be fed up with their ideological opponents, and yet when you ask them to make a compromise they balk and accuse their president of being weak because he is willing to compromise Democratic ideological purity. Despite all their claims to want an open-minded, inclusive government that reaches across party lines and embraces all ideas, it’s enough to make you suspect that all these liberals really want is a liberal Bush who will shout down the opposition, force members of his own party to conform strictly to party ideology, and trample over anyone with an opposing viewpoint. Beware of this kind of liberal, because what they want most of all is to make Democrats more like Republicans. To reach the kind of purity they desire they insist on getting their news from liberal news outlets (Huffington Post, liberal blogs) which, just like Fox News, edit out anything that questions their view of the world.
There’s already proof that these people are disconnected from reality. For all of their complaining about Obama’s decision to compromise, I haven’t heard a single one propose a credible alternative. I’ve only heard a few of them suggest that Obama should have let all the tax cuts expire if he had to. That would have been Christmas for Republicans, twenty days early. The Republicans would have loved it if he had been willing to do it. They probably would have let him go through with it rather than back down. He wuld essentially have loaded the gun, pointed it at his own head and put the GOP’s hand on the trigger. That’s what all these liberal pundits, in their frustration, wanted him to do. Reality check, pundits. When your hand is lousy, you don’t go all in. You fold and cut your losses.
So, to all of you sane liberals out there: No matter how frustrated you are, don’t listen to these crazies or America will have two ideological parties unwilling to compromise and all of the current problems with government will get much, much worse. Obama had to compromise or he would have destroyed himself. The Republicans knew it, and they used it against him. It sucks he got beat but this was the best possible outcome in the circumstances. And if you want to blame somebody, don’t blame Obama (he did what he had to), don’t even blame Republicans (they did what’s in their nature). Blame the chickenshit, soon to be out of work Democratic Congressmen who wouldn’t vote on this before the election. Not like being pansies saved their jobs.