Barone assesses the president's role in the tax deal
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:14 AM
Michael Barone's latest Washington Examiner column focuses on President Obama's decision to cut a deal with Republicans on tax rates:
[H]e recognized the reality that in order to prevent a tax increase on those with incomes under $250,000 he had to prevent a tax increase on those over that line as well.
This has infuriated liberal Democrats like outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., but they share some of the blame themselves. They probably could have passed their version of the tax bill earlier this year, before the economic recovery stalled in the spring.
But with the economy faltering, there's a strong argument against raising anyone's taxes -- strong enough to have persuaded many congressional Democrats.
Obama had to abandon his goal of raising taxes on high earners not because Republicans opposed it but because not enough Democrats supported it. Pelosi couldn't summon up a majority on the issue back in September, and Harry Reid could get only 53 of the needed 60 votes this month.
Democrats, not Republicans, are responsible for extension of all the "Bush tax cuts."
Still, Obama in his surly statement Monday evening and his unusually brief press conference Tuesday afternoon was at pains to attack Republicans.
The president who first came to national attention for expressing respect for those with whom he differed insisted that he was eager to "fight" Republicans and described them as "hostage takers," with the American people as hostages. Not much evidence of civility.
And he addressed most of his remarks to what last month's election revealed as a narrow segment of the nation's electorate, the Democratic base.
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