Salon: Actually, it’s a pretty good deal…

Here and there you can still find people who actually think before they put their hair on fire…


… it’s also worth remembering that there’s a clear disconnect between the loudest voices on left — the ones that have been branding Obama a sell-0ut — and rank-and-file Democratic voters, who still approve of the president’s job performance at a rate of about 80 percent. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan weren’t doing that well with their own bases at this same point in their presidencies.

the concessions that he won from the GOP are so important. As part of the deal, expiring unemployment benefits for millions of Americans will be extended for 13 months. Just as importantly, there is now a real prospect that the Senate will act on repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and ratification of the START treaty before this month’s lame duck session ends. Is extending tax cuts for the richest Americans (and blowing another hole in the deficit in the process) a steep price to pay for all of this? Absolutely. But that’s politics: Obama took the best deal he could possibly get. And he got enough out of it that Democratic voters, who still like him enormously, can rationalize their way to supporting it (or at least not feeling betrayed by it) — no matter how much grief Obama takes from liberal activists and commentators.


// snip

Note that the deal also includes a reduction in the Social Security payroll tax and an expansion of the earned income tax credit and the college tuition tax credit. This is on top of the extension in unemployment benefits. These measures have one thing in common: They are stimulative in nature.


Some of the most vocal liberals will argue that Obama should have refused this deal, dared the GOP to let all the tax cuts (an unemployment benefits for millions of Americans) expire, and used his bully-pulpit to convince Americans that Republicans did it all in the name of protecting millionaires and billionaires from a tax hike. This wouldn’t have worked, though. As the 2010 midterms demonstrated (hardly for the first time), when the economy is stalled, voters look for reasons to blame the man in charge — whether it’s logical or not. Obama is in no position to win a P.R. battle with the GOP right now. That’s just reality, and on Monday, he dealt with reality and came away with the best compromise he could get.




69 thoughts on “Salon: Actually, it’s a pretty good deal…

  1. We have mastered the art of complaining. We are fed by the New Media and they tell us what the controversy of the day is and we let them lead our emotions. A week ago the Repubs voted to obstruct ext UI for millions in this country and the left instead of rising up to protest against this action where UI was going to be held hostage for those tax cuts instead turn on the Pres and tell him its his fault because he didn’t fight. We can get 200K people to stand on the Mall because an entertainer tells them that they need to rally to be civil but we can’t get 200K people to organize and go protest all over the US at these obstructionist Repub and Dem Congriscritters offices in there own back yard. No one wants to do the hard work to bring about change because it has become far too easy to sit behind a computer and complain. There should have been hundreds or thousands of liberals protesting at each of these offices over the last week. If the shoe was on the other foot the tea party (as astroturf as they are) would be tearing the roof off the Capitol in DC. They would be at every Dems office putting fear in them like you wouldn’t believe but our side puts it all on the Pres to fight (that’s their big strategy) and then complain because they believe he doesn’t.

  2. Cool…I’m much less pissed now.(Still a little bit. But there were things in the agreement I didn’t know were in it. Good things.)
    Part of me still wants to see the clash, but a. that’s petty. and b. Sadly, I’m sure I’ll get another chance. Sigh.

  3. I’m coming to the conclusion that the Loud Left wants complete annihilation of the Republican Party, and anything that prevents that is scorned.

    They want the Republicans to grovel and admit that the Democrats have been right all along. They want complete and total domination of the legislative process.

    That will never happen. Republicans are people too, and many of them genuinely care about this country. Many of them are as smart as Democrats and they aren’t going away.

    As deaniac mentioned on The People’s View, Ted Olson’s work on defeating California’s Proposition 8 is a stark lesson in how you don’t want to make lifelong enemies of your opponents. His work has been inspiring.

    This is not a great compromise, but it’s far better than no bill, which is where we were headed.

  4. Just want to make this point. At 62 and I can say without much hesitation the left mastered the art of complaining a long time ago.

    As LBJ so eloquently put it:

    Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a talented carpenter to build one.

  5. It’s the same case with HCR, finreg, DADT, DOMA and other serious issues. Wish left were same as teabaggers in one thing – showing up for the fights. Throwing bombs from sidelines never helps one’s causes.

  6. I made a lot of people at DK mad the other day
    when I called them leftwing teabaggers.
    I was just over there and you wouldn’t beleave the Obama bashing Diarys.
    I started checking the UIDs of those diarist over the last couple of weeks and you would not beleave the very high UIDs for some of them.
    I think the people over there are getting played by some trolls and they’re falling for it hook line and sinker.

  7. I don’t go to Salon much any more. Thank you BWD for pointing out this article. Finally a bit of calm and rational analysis.

    Reading the article though, I told myself that republicans in the Senate won’t vote for that deal I’m afraid. They will want to wait in January when they have more political power and can obtain more of what they want.

    The only incentive they have now to vote for the deal is that President Obama is paying a political price for it ( the “screaming” of liberal activists, and the media narrative about “the caving”)

    Will that incentive be enough ??

  8. I saw a diary there over the weekend about Obama stepping down after one term. It “felt” like a troll diary to me – so I checked the history of the author. Apparently not.

    My take-away from that was that right now – you can’t tell.

    And that’s the problem.

  9. Very good analysis. I stand with the President 100%.

    This morning I opened an email from that disgusting dailykos site. I thought I had unsubscribed to them since I have unsubscribed to all those far left wing nutty sites and organizations. I will keep my monies in my pocket from now on, only organizingforamerica, will continue getting my monthly donations.(pleasse go on there and sign the petition to repeal dadt and make calls to support the dream act ) (The professional left don’t even care about that stuff, but will be the first ones to trash talk when it comes up.) Anyways, sorry I am digressing….. back to the email, It began like this “PROGRESSIVES and REPUBLICANS are JOINING TOGETHER to defeat the deal”, WAIT WTH is this?…was my first thought, shoot I didn’t bother reading past that sentence. I just quickly replied to them that they have lost any semblance of respect I had for them and they can take their emails and shove it.
    This time I made sure I hit the Unsubscribe.

    They are officially an outside group to me. I consider them nothing more than the same as Redstate and all the others that are too far whatever to be taken seriously by me anymore. Soon they will be forgotten in my memory only to be remembered if someone brings them up on the net, since nobody I know irl gives a crap about them and I don’t watch American tv news.

  10. BWD,

    I missed you. I am so glad you are back in the saddle.

    Yesterday, immediately after President Obama said there was a framework for a deal, too many on the left pounced and acted true to form. They freaked out. But it is interesting to see now that the dust has settled, several articles describing the “details” makes it clear that neither side got everything they wanted. I found the posts from Ezra Klein and Steve Benen sobering.

    The essence of governing is the art of compromise. After all, this is not a dictatorship. If the tax cut issue could have been done by executive order, we would not be having this debate.

    One more thing, I can barely watch television anymore. Last night, Sam Seder filled in for Keith Olbermann. It was clear that he was furious about the deal. He could barely contain his rage. I really thought his head was going to explode.

    I was anxiously awaiting Rachel Maddow, but Ed Schultz was filling in so I made skid marks to the remote control. I knew some major Obama bashing was coming. I watched an episode of “Criminal Minds” instead.

    In the morning CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and MSNBC all suck. I am getting most of my news from you and the internet and print media. I hardly visit DailyNO’s anymore. It is so toxic over there now.

  11. Agree. I’ll be impressed when I see people showing up at town halls instead of internet sites.

  12. I could rec all the comments here so far. I wish there was a rec function but I’ll try to put a few supportive comments up here.

  13. I’m very proud of this President for making that hard choices when no one else cared to. This President cares. You can see and hear his compassion. I love that about him. I actually feel like he is looking out for my well being and the future. I may not agree with all of his decisions, but I am blessed to have him as President as oppose to the alternative. People on the left and the right need to grow up and learn to see things realistically. I really believe that President is trying to put this country back on track with the way it should be governed. I voted for him on the pretense that there would be bi-partisanship. This country can not and should not be govern by idealogy and the president gets that. It took several decades worth of bad policy to create the mess we are in (due to partisan politics) and it is going to take sometime to get us back on track. Change is hard and the President told us that this would not be easy. I’m amazed at the number of people who apparently paid absolutely no attention to his speeches. Maybe if they did, they wouldn’t be so angry.

  14. Also check out Ezra Klein, and others they are saying this was a good deal he explains why and he got some things that republicans did not want. one article on the Obama diary is taunting it as a second stimulus.

  15. Chicating go and read some articles coming out to day blasting the left, and saying this was a pretty good deal. The left jumps to fast and don’t think, they want revenge, President Obama wants progress.

  16. This makes me feel better.

    I’m going to write to him today – a real letter with a real stamp – to tell him about this site and the support for him here.

    He should know if he doesn’t already, that someone out there has his back.

  17. There is some sanity in the world. Like most, I wish the billionaire give away could have ended, but people are forgetting the price real human beings would have paid if this hadn’t been done. And if they think the Republicans would have caved if Obama had called their bluff, guess again.

    The Republican Party, as currently instituted, doesn’t give a darn about anybody but the wealthy and transnational corporations.

    This actually becomes a great opportunity for Obama and Democrats, if they are willing to grab for the golden ring. He can go out there and say, “Look, I didn’t want to extend the cuts for the wealthy, but I couldn’t turn my back on the people who are really suffering out there and the Republicans have shown they really don’t care about them, so I had to.” Then for the next 2 years, every Democrat should be hollering from the rooftops about the hypocrisy of Republicans, the callousness of Republicans. They should be reiminding people that the only reason unemployment benefits were extended, the only reason they saw a cut in payroll taxes, the only reason they still have a tax cut is because of the Democrats. If it were up to the Republicans, they could all go to hell.

    And I truly hope that the groundwork is laid early that improvement in the economy is not because of the extension of the tax cuts, but because of all the other policies put in place by the Dems and Obama. Don’t let the Republicans try to get credit.

  18. I’ve noticed a few of them are the wishy-washy ones. The people who want to be on the side that appears to be winning and, more importantly, is getting the most attention, and getting attention is where a lot of the Kossacks heads are. Are you the most popular person on the blog?, then I want to be your friend. It’s high school stuff. Very disappointing but some never grow up and out of that frame.

  19. i said that yesterday. They are being bambozzled over there and if you challenge them you can tell. they have no ideas or solutions.

  20. LOL – thank you for the LBJ quote. It’s perfect. I agree that the high-profile “progressive” blogs suck up a lot of people’s energy with pointless complaining and that they are a net destructive force in terms of any actual progress being made. They traffic in daily online outrage and flame wars, and selling books, and being on TV talking trash about the Democrats “from the left.” And people are beginning to notice that a lot of them are ‘former’ republicans, who still seem perhaps more interested in making money with their business ventures than in supporting real progressive change or even serious politics. Their strategies are tactics are almost always tone deaf and completely unworkable in the real world.

    Their strategy on tax cuts being a prime example. It would have been a disaster. Any idea that an across the board tax hike would be “blamed on the republicans” and therefore benefit President Obama or democrats is completely wrong. He would be creamed at the polls by people pissed the HE broke his promise not to raise middle class taxes. Average voters would NOT be blaming the republicans.

    If they believe that strategy would work, they are politically clueless.

    If not, and they know better, then maybe they’re just in it for the money and notoriety. Some I think are true left-wing ideological purists, who want to to destroy both parties, and don’t mind making alliances with the tea-partiers to do it. In any case, their constant, relentless “hair-on-fire” response to everything that happens, and predictable use of destructive and ridiculous political tactics, and constant attacks on Obama rather than the republicans in Congress, should tell readers how seriously to take their rantings. And thank God Obama doesn’t listen to them either.

  21. Chicagobama– You are right, at least about me: I want the Rethugs reduced to a tiny rump party of dying-off rich southern white males (I say this as a rich white old guy, raised mostly in the south during segregation); further, I want the Democratic party to the left of where it is now. At that point, I’ll be a proud member of a Socialist-Green coalition party.
    Until then, you are right, and BWD is right-on.
    Thank you both. I spend way too much time on DailyKos, and too much energy bemoaning the pony that did not arrive January 2009.

    Again, thanks.


  22. Calm and rational discussion of politics is what is so sorely lacking these days. It is very refreshing to see a few people are trying to bring it back. This deal was made, as usual for President Obama, with the needs of the nation as a whole in mind. He is not going to do a lot of posturing and blustering for the sake of ideology. That just isn’t him and never was. And that is why people voted for him. He is calm, centered and rational. I know the “progressives” would prefer an Alan Grayson but most of the nation would not. Belligerence is not attractive no matter which side of the aisle it comes from.

    The Republicans are ridiculous obstructionists. We all know that. But that is the reality that faces this nation right now and you can’t just ignore it or pretend it isn’t the case. Fighting loudly and losing is not more noble than getting the most important things you want to see done while compromising for a limited period of time on what the other side wants the most. That is what negotiating is all about.

    The far left didn’t understand the whole point of the Stewart/Colbert rally and got all upset with Jon Stewart about it. But it drew such a big crowd because millions of people agree with his premise that their is far too much “yelling louder” on both sides and we want sanity back. We want rationality, no more demonization, and politicians to attempt to talk to each other like human beings who all want this country to succeed but just disagree on the best way to do that. People who act that way can actually compromise and get things done and that is what democrat, republican and independent voters want. What infuriates the far left is precisely what keeps most democrats happy with this president. It is his ability to deal with reality and get the most possible done without a lot of drama. The drama addicts at Kos will never appreciate his brand of quiet competence. Luckily they are a small minority.

  23. Again, thanks for this site.

    While I continue to support and respect President Obama I still have misgivings regarding the President’s plan announced last night. It is helpful to come to this site and read why some support it. I respect that he, and most Americans, are in a difficult spot, and no solution will please everyone.

    I do feel this could have been handled earlier so it is interesting to read the comment pointing out that it was the legislators chose not to vote on the tax cut extensions at an earlier date.

    Part of my concern is that this plan would seem to open him and all Democrats to legitimate criticism that they are increasing the deficit and that they will have difficulty funding programs such as Social Security. I believe that he did not do an adequate job of explaining his decisions. And using the argument that the tax cut extension he is proposing is temporary fell flat for me since, of course, the Bush tax cuts were temporary but he is now proposing their extension – a pattern likely to continue. I also feel he could have a staked a stronger and more vocal position and put the Republicans on the defensive, particularly with the majority of Americans opposed to tax cuts for the wealthiest few.

    My representative, Peter Welch, and one of my Senators, Bernie Sanders, both strongly oppose the President’s proposal. I have a great deal of respect for both of them and they are both intelligent and reasoned individuals. Most of the comments here are logical and intelligent as well, yet from people who support the President’s proposal. So you can see that there is logic on both sides.

    I hope and trust you will all note that many who oppose some of President Obama’s actions, policies and proposals are not rabid and offering only knee-jerk reactions, but have legitimate concerns and come to a site like this to get a reasoned opinion from a different perspective. My concern is not with my opinion being right, but with being well and accurately informed so I can put my weight behind what I feel is the best position, and so I appreciate the perspective of those at this site and the resources you reference.

  24. Good point. What the country needs isn’t revenge, it is progress and that is what we are getting. We could have drawn a hard and fast line over the tax cuts and so would the republicans and then what? They weren’t going to give it up. The majority of the country isn’t with them now and it doesn’t matter to them why would the President giving speeches have changed anything? The tea party will have their backs no matter what they do and right now they are the power on the right. The president demanding the tax cuts go away would only lead to the tea party digging in their heels and demanding they be extended. They think Obama is a socialist, Kenyan, illegal alien, nazi after all, and will reflexively support whatever he is against and be as vocal as possible about it.

    So the only way around a republican roadblock is to negotiate with them. You have to keep your number one goal in mind and work toward getting as much of that as you can. The president wanted the UI benefits and the other stimulative measures for the middle class the most. The tax cuts for the rich are stupid and they increase the deficit but if by extending them for 2 years he can get the things he wants most and have the chance to run on getting rid of them for 2012 (when hopefully, the economy will be stronger and voters will be receptive to hearing his message because they are less fearful) then it’s for the overall good to let the republicans have some of what they want too.

  25. I have to get this link thing down please go to Obama diary and read the articles. even Krugman had to admit its a good deal and a lot more. Lets see what the left bloggers have to say now their idols , says its not bad.

  26. jac, I understand where you are coming from and some of the concerns you have. In fact, you are an example of what could be called constructive criticism rather than the Obama is evil type of criticism that is out there, and I for one appreciate that.

    As I mentioned in my comment below, this could become an opportunity for Obama and the dems if they approach it right. At the same time, I think that is going to have to wait until after the lame-duck session. If Obama comes out hitting too hard right now, he may lose the opportunity for some things that are important, such as DADT, DREAM and START.

    Of course, asking Dems to approach something right is probably as effective as trying to hold back the tide.

  27. I don’t know why so many democrats were alright with letting all of the tax cuts expire? So many of the unfortunate needs them. I don’t know what i would do if i couldn’t rely on a tax refund next year. Thank you Mr President!!

  28. I got shouted down the other day by a group for calling out (but not by name) a person that seems to have a clique following.

  29. agree with the writer.

    the professional left is out and out losing it, and they don’t represent the rank-and-file Democrat, it’s clear.

  30. If the deficit was your real concern, then wouldn’t it have been better to let all tax-cuts expire ? Why settle for 700 billion when you could get 3 trillion shaved off the deficit ?

    With purity hacks like saint russ voting against the middle class tax cuts, there was no way the prez could have gotten those middle class cuts alone.

  31. bwd, thanks for putting together these links – I wasn’t even going to get on the internet this morning but of course I did.

    They (as well as a look out my window) prove that the world didn’t end yesterday and the sun once again rose in the east this morning. If we could harness the energy produced by the screamers and The Perpetually Outraged, fossil fuels could be phased out quickly.

  32. Mally – It’s not who you were posting to, but another ex-Kos. I was AnotherCT Dem from Black Kos there. (quit around six months ago. Actually was sacked) Great to see you. How is BK and SS?

  33. I’ve felt like there were trolls on Kos for quite awhile. It’s very discouraging to go there anymore.
    I wanted Pres.Obama to fight the GOP, but at the same thing I was very concerned about the ones whose unemployment was running out. We have to make tough choices sometimes. This just happens to be one. We’ll survive.
    I support our Pres.

    People forget :

    In 1935, the United States was still in the throes of the Great Depression, with unemployment at a staggering 17% nationwide.
    The President of the United States was Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Vice-President was John Nance Garner.

  34. I know what they’ll say : “Let’s throw Krugman under the bu!.” They will become alienated from EVERYONE. Who are they left with? Keith O, the former sports analyst, and Michael Moore, a major capitalist (unless all book and movie profits were sent to charities)

  35. Chicago, personally, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of people who claim to be the voice of the people just dong’t give a damn.

    I think they pretend and profess to be fighting for the little guy, but in reality, they are all jockeying for position. Who can ratchet up the ugly the most, gets the attention.

    Some don’t even bother reading before delving in and screaming about stuff they know absolutely nothing about.

    This morning Jeff Johnson on the Tom Joyner show talked about the choices the president had to make here for the sake of the American people. He said some Democrats in Congress were also criticizing the plan, but he said they want to speak now that they are out of power.

    Just look a this picture. What’s in it for this president, except making such a tough decision to help millions of people that could be going hungry this Christmas.

    How many of those screaming progressives were going o be willing to pay the mortgage for an unemployed family? How many were going to be willing to pay for medication for people struggling?

    I really don’t take these people seriously anymore. They want the same things those millionaires have. They too, want to line their coffers.

    Until I see them taking the Republicans on, as far as I am, they are just specks in the universe.

    Go figure.

  36. jac, I don’t have any problems with your post. If you read the posts here you’ll see that there are actually a number of people who share your view in general, but don’t turn their guns on the wrong person. As you noted, Congress punted this until now. You also said that the President doesn’t do a good job explaining his proposals. I do disagree with that to an extent. No, he doesn’t do primetime addresses every week, but if you read a lot of those godforsaken polls that come out about everything, more often than not people support his side of an issue. What gets me is that some on “our side” can’t face the reality that our Congress, specifically Republicans and conservadems, don’t necessarily respond to public opinion outside of their home states and have no qualms going against national interests, no matter how much support an idea has. People supported letting the tax cuts expire, and republicans stood against it, and quite frankly weren’t getting much heat for it from their constituents.

  37. SS is defunct. robinswing and amazinggrace quit the site awhile back, for the same reasons bwd did.

    BK is going strong. still an oasis in the desert.

    good to “see” you CT dem!

  38. Oh, Lord, their god Krugman says it is a good deal — ha, ha, — watch them try to stick it to him too. Soon they will be saying Krugman needs to be primaried. LOL!! Don’t you know it, they are smart, everyone else is stupid.

    You know these days it is in vogue to call the president every name in the book. And every Tom, Dick and Harry are being pushed to primary him. From Elizabeth Warren to Grayson, Feingold, Peter Pan, Harry Potter, and lord knows who.

    So, these are the people I am supposed to take seriously? Not!!

  39. I have a select number of sites/bloggers that I read for critique of Obama and his policies, but those bloggers/critics sound like you not like the FDL crowd. Part of the reason some people defend Obama is because the criticism are just so over the top that we can’t help but push back. Your critique didn’t go there so its all good.

  40. You are still are one handsome addition to a blog, giggle, MR.

    I’ve got serious medical issues to deal with, unfortunatly. But the positivity of BWD’s blog is a tonic.

    I am sorry about SS.

  41. I’ll believe it when I see it. Repealing DADT, and a short term unemployment extension will pale in comparison to the drubbing we’re going to take when Obama is blamed for the exploding deficit.

  42. Yes! Hi Mallyroyal. metor blades got mad at me and i refuse to agree to his warning. I had makesense a long time before.

  43. Nah! Krugman is a permanent member of the left. They will just ignore what he said instead of criticizing him too. I’ve seen it before.


  45. When someone says “Primary Obama”. My response is “Who’s your candidate?” (not a hypothetical one, but one who’s actually running.)

    Crickets. They need to put up or shut up.

  46. I love Alan Grayson. Really. He’s a firebrand and a wiseass and I, personally, love those qualities, especially since I think he is funny as hell. But I think being President requires different qualities…qualities like Obama has. Also, Grayson is a loyal Democrat…I doubt he wants to hurt his party with a primary war.

  47. LaLaFi, I am Left of Left and I was hoping that DADT and START treaty would be added, but with this deal I can purchase my cake shop late 2011. Wish me luck.

    As a side note, it is freezing in Washington and image not being able to pay the electric bill. I am sure the Prez was thinking about this. I am thinking the House will add a soc sec increase to the bill.


  48. Again, I thank you BWD for a thoughtful informative post. I agree with what you posted about PBO’s choices and why he had to agree to what he agreed with. Like it? No, but I don’t think he had much of a choice and he did get more than I thought he could from it. I think the part of the post mentioning those that said he should just say NO didn’t use the midterm elections as an example of how the general public responds as it was totally evident that the GOP were obstructionists but they still came out ahead.

  49. jac, the way i look at it, the millionaires’ tax cut extension, if it’s for 2 years, means it’ll come up again for extension in 2012;

    but if the prez and the dems do a good job between now and then, i.e. that the jobs/economy improves enough, then that election should insure sufficent strength in congress for opposing further extensions

  50. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure. He barely hides his contempt for President Obama.

  51. I disagree with your conclusions (the flip side to the deficit concerns is that POTUS can point to this incident as indicative of the GOP’s lack of genuine concern, and I think that the fears that POTUS is going to slash SS is overblown), but this comment is respectfully stated and offers a critique, not a condemnation.

  52. I am still and always will be a strong supporter of our President. He has always stood for all Americans. His decisions have shown insight and restraint. As a Democrate, I will back Obama no matter. True Democrates will rally behind Obama and meet the challenge. The gloves are off. We need to get ready for 2012. Lets get democratically dominant!

  53. Get your head out of your ass and put two and two together. Time was not chosen. It occurs.
    Congress does not sit by and wait for Obama to make a schedule. Quit trying to get a job writing about correct political standing and stick with what is in front of your nose.

  54. He is already blamed for the deficit Bush left. If the people don’t have work they wont pay taxes.

    I believe that as the economy improves, he will start on the deficit.

  55. I love this blog so much. Thank you so much for starting it.
    I had been looking for a positive blog like this, that appreciates all President Obama is doing.

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