When President Obama made the tax cut deal with Republicans, many on the left felt betrayed that Republicans got everything they wanted while giving up only the unemployment benefit extension. The president made the best deal he could under the circumstances, and if he had waited until the new Congress started in 2011, Republicans would have made no concessions whatsoever and millions of Americans would have lost the unemployment benefit extensions.
President Obama made the deal in part to show the American people that he was willing to compromise for the good of the country. Republicans said they would not vote on anything until the tax deal was passed in both houses, and then they would consider other legislation like the Omnibus spending bill, START treaty, DADT repeal, and the Dream Act. To no one’s surprise, the tax deal was passed and the Republicans balked on any other legislation because they wanted to be home for Christmas.
Senator Reid scheduled work through the holidays and Republicans threw a religious fit. They demeaned Reid as being sacrilegious and accused him of insulting Christians by expecting them to keep their word and do their jobs like every other American. Despite the compromise, Republicans lied and Jim DeMint admitted that he was running out the clock to prevent business from being conducted before the new Congress started work. Incoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner, said that he rejected compromise or cooperation in spite of the compromise President Obama just made with Republican leaders.
Now the American people are seeing what lies in store for the country for the next 2 years, and it doesn’t resemble compromise or cooperation. Republicans in the Senate and the House have no intention of working with Democrats because they want to portray President Obama’s administration as being ineffective. What the Republicans are demonstrating is the hypocrisy and deceit they have been guilty of for the past two years.
Before the tax cut deal was signed, it was evident that Republicans were not going to keep their end of the bargain because they proceeded to obstruct the president immediately. Their complaints about working over the Christmas break had little to do with religious convictions and everything to do with obstruction.
Jim DeMint threatened to have someone read the entire Omnibus spending bill for the sole purpose of wasting time, so Harry Reid postponed the bill so the Senate could spend time on the START treaty, Dream Act, and repeal of DADT. Even with Reid shelving the spending bill, Republicans wanted the START treaty read aloud in an effort to waste time so nothing else could be accomplished. They even brought up the tired objection that Democrats were ramming something down their throats at the last minute in order to get the bills passed.
President Obama now holds the upper hand in the minds of Americans because he compromised and gave concessions that enraged many on the left, but ultimately worked for the benefit of all Americans. He said earlier this week that he did not like extending the tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and would fight to prevent them from becoming permanent. It may work out better for him in the long run because he kept his promise of bipartisanship to benefit the American people, and Republicans are the ones complaining unemployed people get their benefits extended.
One thing is for sure, if the president had not made the tax cut deal when he did, the Republicans would not have compromised on the unemployment benefits and the wealthy tax cuts would be permanent. The Republicans in the House and Senate have no intention of working with Democrats or the president on any issue, so as egregious as the deal is, it does provide relief for all Americans before Republicans take over the House in January.
It is important that President Obama communicates to the American people his attempts at compromise and bipartisanship because it will expose the Republicans as the obstructionists they really are. There is real promise that because the tax deal is done, the repeal of DADT will happen this year and if Democrats can work together as a bloc, they may get the Dream Act passed and ratify the START treaty as well. If they are unable to pass any of those bills, the blame will lie at the feet of Republicans, and the President will be able to show the American people why they are wrong to vote for Republicans.
Regardless what happens during the lame duck Congress, the president has helped the American people and the economy if only on a limited basis. The tax cut deal did not only give the wealthy their tax cuts for 2 more years, it gave every American a tax cut and will help businesses during the recession. It is disappointing that the deal didn’t punish the wealthy, but President Obama wasn’t elected to punish the wealthy. He was elected to work for all Americans and the deal he made with Republicans goes a long way toward that end.
The president is well aware that Republicans intend to block and obstruct anything he does, and this deal will mitigate the damage Republicans may do. Even if they succeed in obstructing Obama for the next two years, the people will remember who compromised and conceded his personal position for the good of the American people.
Hopefully, the American people will see the Republicans for the obstructionist liars they really are and will vote accordingly. Obama’s detractors on the left should remember that he is president for all Americans and has to do what is best for all Americans. As hard as that is to swallow, it is reality and it may ultimately help to further the cause of the left. It cannot hurt, and Republicans are on notice with the American people that if they don’t work with the president for all Americans, their win in November will be their last for a long time and that is a wonderful prospect.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.