Obama sold out

December 09, 2010

I am hard-pressed to recall an article printed in this great newspaper with which I've disagreed more vehemently in terms of style and substance than your editorial " Democrats: the new party of no?" (Dec. 7).

As a former field organizer for the Obama for America campaign, I have long since tired of the lecturing by this administration and its defenders in the media that we must simply accept what has now become a litany of capitulations and failures to achieve that which we were promised during the historic 2008 election. The supposed "good" you identified, i.e. the unemployment benefits extension and payroll tax cut, are revealed as pathetically weak upon the slightest inspection. The unemployment benefits should and could have been done standing alone on its merits, but that wouldn't serve the nefarious goals of Republicans (and now regrettably their Democratic cohorts) to extend tax cuts for the rich. To say nothing of the fact that they are good for 13 months while we get a full 2 years of tax cuts for the wealthy?

Why exactly is this acceptable or even a decent compromise?

The payroll tax holiday? While it offers nearly twice the savings of the Making Work Pay tax cut it replaces, it will nonetheless lead to higher tax bills for individuals making under $20,000 yearly and families making less than $40,000. Why? Because those persons' payroll tax savings are less than the $400 or $800 they will lose from the Making Work Pay credit.

To oppose millionaires and billionaires reaping yet another windfall on the backs of all other Americans is far from peevishness. It is to stand on true convictions that are not for sale to any benefactor. It is to actually stand for "greater good" and not just talk about it.

It is as interesting that each and every time progressives and/or liberals demand those policies that were promised in a campaign, and that are then overwhelmingly supported by "independent" or moderate voters alike, and even some Republicans, they are told to be realistic about governing. I do not recall ever hearing the lecture to Republicans that they must forego a single one of their signature issues for the sake of governance and compromise.

Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that after this "compromise" Republicans will abandon their successful yet incredibly destructive strategy of just saying no to every single thing this administration seeks to do. Rather, it reinforces the notion that this approach will succeed no matter what.

Basic politics says that you can't just count votes based on how the opposition says it is going to vote, occasionally their bluff (or hostage taking) must be called. You go to their home states and fight for what you "say" you believe in and dare them to defy the majority of people who agree with you.

But that is not appealing to this administration. Far better to pummel your friends and supporters. Our country faces massive challenges, accumulated over decades of inattention to middle-class concerns combined with action on behalf of the economically powerful. To see that fundamental dynamic reinforced by a purported defender and champion of the middle class is just too much. Swallow our bile? I think not. Particularly when the top 2 percent continues to feast at our expense on the sweetest of champagnes.

Robert Johnson Jr., Windsor Mill

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