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Tue Nov 27, 2012, 08:11 PM

Michael Tomasky on How Obama Shouldn’t Back Down Vs. the GOP

Michael Tomasky on How Obama Shouldn’t Back Down Vs. the GOP

by Michael Tomasky

Elections are supposed to have consequences. So why does the GOP think it can strong-arm the president into compromising on entitlements without first giving in on taxes?

On the one hand, it’s possible to look at all these Republicans distancing themselves from Grover Norquist and his famous pledge as an encouraging sign that they can read and understand election results. On the other, let’s not get carried away. The “compromise” they are offering is no compromise at all, really. And what they want in return from Democrats—which they are keeping intentionally vague—shows very clearly that they haven’t yet quite accepted the idea that elections have consequences.


Norquist’s anti-tax position all these years has been so totalizing that he has counted lots of things as tax increases that aren’t explicitly tax increases....It’s an extreme definition, and it’s the very fact that it’s an extreme definition that allows Republicans breaking from it to appear to be taking a bold position while they are in fact doing nothing of the sort. Because under the big headlines about Breaking From Grover, the actual news content is that they will consider increased revenue but not increased rates....But it’s not enough. Barack Obama ran on raising rates on dollars earned above $250,000 from 35 to 39.6 percent. He said it a thousand times. The other guy said the opposite a thousand times. Obama won a clear victory. It was a victory for raising tax rates, period. But Republicans won’t grant that they lost and their pet position lost. And just you watch—even as they give a little temporary ground on this deduction limit business, they’ll continue to push for Simpson-Bowles-ish lower overall rates in the long term, rates closer to what Mitt Romney was proposing, which were resoundingly rejected on Election Day.

So all in all, that’s a pretty lame olive branch. As I said, it looks semi-reasonable only because the opening position, the position they’ve held for 20 years, was so utterly unreasonable. So that’s what they’re offering. Actually, it’s what a few of them are offering—no sign from Mitch McConnell yet that he’s offering anything like this. But let’s move on from that and now discuss what they want in return, which is even worse...they want Obama and the Democrats to agree to sizeable cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Now, here again, we had an election. The stakes could scarcely have been clearer. One side said, basically, we will protect Medicare and Medicaid. The other side said, we will go after them. It was a little more complicated than that, but that was roughly the size of it. The side that said we will protect them won.

So now, having won, the Democrats are supposed to cave in? Sure, they’ll have to play a little ball. That’s politics. But the party that lost the election—lost the presidency, lost Senate seats, and yes, held on to the House, but lost seats there too—doesn’t get to dictate terms.

- more -


The Bush tax cuts expire in exactly five weeks.

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Reply Michael Tomasky on How Obama Shouldn’t Back Down Vs. the GOP (Original post)
ProSense Nov 2012 OP
msongs Nov 2012 #1
ProSense Nov 2012 #2
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #3
ProSense Nov 2012 #4

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 08:24 PM

1. he's cool on compromising on "entitlements" long as the tax cuts go...well brudda, they are NOT

entitlements, they are earned benefits that have been paid into for decades by working Americans. Remember them, working Americans who were given promises by elected politicians.

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Response to msongs (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 08:48 PM

2. Hey,

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Response to ProSense (Reply #2)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:00 PM

3. So one Congressman (and not Obama) said that Medicare age increase should be off the table, as


well as Social Security.

In your view, does this Congressman now have the authority represent the White House views as well as his own?

If he doesn't have the authority to represent the White Houses views, what difference do his views make?

And where is this phrase "off the table" coming from?

The last time that some of us heard it was when the Congressmen from the Democratic Party re-took Congress in 2006 and Pelosi immediately excused all that Bush and Cheney had done, and excused all that they could do in their remaining two years, by letting it be known as the Speaker of the House that impeachment was "off the table."

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