“He has darted now to the far right, economically.”
—Joe Scarborough, conservative Republican
This morning on Morning Joe, the discussion, naturally, focused on President Obama’s deal with the right-wing in Congress.
Joe Scarborough, speaking from the right, summed up his view of Mr. Obama:
After this, you cannot say he’s a socialist. The right has been calling him a socialist forever. This is income redistribution, but it’s taking it back to the rich.
I mean, millionaires are getting tax cuts. Billionaires are getting tax cuts…They’re lowering the estate tax. They’re giving payroll tax breaks for the next couple of years. My God, I would be afraid to campaign on this, as a conservative with a 95% lifetime rating—actually, I did campaign on stuff like this…it is stunning…He has become a Jack Kemp Democrat. He needs to embrace it.
Now, there’s no doubt that Scarborough has overstated the case. President Obama did not become a supply-sider overnight. He made this deal with the devil because, as he said, “these are not abstract fights for the families that are impacted“:
As for now, I believe this bipartisan plan is the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do for jobs. It’s the right thing to do for the middle class. It is the right thing to do for business. And it’s the right thing to do for our economy. It offers us an opportunity that we need to seize.
Obviously, Mr. Obama was in a difficult place. He acknowledged that, “political wisdom may dictate fighting over solving problems,” but, he said,
I’m not willing to let working families across this country become collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington. And I’m not willing to let our economy slip backwards just as we’re pulling ourselves out of this devastating recession.
Fair enough. Except that the main reason the President found himself in this position at the end is because he was so weak at the beginning. After the November 2 election, he essentially waved the white flag and invited Republicans to come in to finish the rout.
And, being Republicans, who know how to play hardball politics, that is exactly what they did. Yesterday, here’s how John Boehner played it:
It’s encouraging that the White House is now willing to stop all of the job-killing tax hikes scheduled for January 1.
Get it? That’s the way it will play out, as this thing goes forward. Obama will get exactly zero credit for any benefits from this deal. Republicans will take all the praise and leave him with the ill effects. Despite what Scarborough says, Obama will still be a big-spending, liberal, socialist, anti-American scoundrel.
In his statement yesterday, liberals would have at least liked to hear our President call out the Republicans for what they have done. But this is the closest he could get:
Now, Republicans have a different view. They believe that we should also make permanent the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. I completely disagree with this. A permanent extension of these tax cuts would cost us $700 billion at a time when we need to start focusing on bringing down our deficit. And economists from all across the political spectrum agree that giving tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires does very little to actually grow our economy.
This is where the debate has stood for the last couple of weeks. 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.
All of that is, of course, true. But it lacks the fighting force of Boehner’s “job-killing tax hikes” rhetoric.
Now, Republicans have a different view. And I not only completely disagree with their view, I believe it is chicken crap. They want to give the richest Americans, who already are cashing in big time in this otherwise dreary economy, a $700 billion dollar bonus. Wait. That’s worse than chicken crap. That is a Joe Dirt, wagon-sized turd ball is what that is. There isn’t an economist this side of the Heritage Foundation who thinks that it will help the economy.
And, yes, I screwed up at the beginning of this thing and allowed the Republicans to play me. I know that. And I’m sorry. But now it has become abundantly clear to everyone in this town that Republicans are willing to screw 99% of the American people just to put more jingle in the pockets of their country club friends, no matter the impact on the deficit that they claim to be so damned worried about. And I just can’t let that happen.
I promise to do better next time. For now, I’ve got to do what I think is right for the American people. But I will not let the Republicans do this to me again.
And I will not let them do this to you again.