Wednesday :: Dec 8, 2010

True To Form

by Steve

Almost a month ago, Deacon predicted that Obama and the White House were strategically capitulating on the Bush tax cuts in an effort to get the issue of taxes off the table at the start of the next congress, so that Obama could start his 2012 re-election campaign. Deacon's been proven correct.

Yes, Obama's failings as a negotiator and strategic thinker got him into this predicament, but no one should be surprised at the "deal" he struck nor his lash-out at the progressive base yesterday. The man managed to cut a deal that did not include anything for the long-term unemployed nor any agreement about the debt ceiling, and he actually thinks the GOP was pushed into voting for 13 months of UI benefits, when in fact they would have eventually been shamed into doing so anyway. But be very clear about this: Obama started the 2012 campaign yesterday by trying to seize the middle and reclaim independents, and he's happy to run against his base and triangulate against them.

He's assuming that there will be enough votes in the middle in both houses to get this deal through, and loves to see the teeth-gnashing from Jim DeMint and the progressives, because it plays to his re-election efforts and natural inclinations. Let the GOP look fractured as DeMint filibusters the agreement; Obama wants that. Let the liberals fume about selling out one more time: Obama wants that too. His team knows that the public supports extending all the tax cuts for two years and the UI extension by large margins (66% in favor).

Obama wants to move off of these issues and into 2011 by occupying the middle and daring the GOP to fight him on things like the debt ceiling, spending cuts, and repeals of his accomplishments. His political team wants to run the 2012 campaign on these issues and have the grand debate about Catfood Commission choices, portraying himself as above petty party politics and wanting to get things done. They're also banking on the economy improving enough to give him some slack by mid-2012. So there should be no surprise at what happened with this deal: it's simply Obama being Obama.

Steve :: 7:39 AM :: Comments (11) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!