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What's the greatest benefit for Obama in extending the Bush tax cuts?

President Obama has shown he is will extend the Bush tax cuts in exchange for jobless benefits. But his other motive may be a deliberate strategy to reach a concrete compromise with Republicans, and portray himself as the last reasonable politician in partisan Washington. The political calculation is that in collaborating with Congressional Republicans, Obama may make political gains with voters, even if strong liberal supporters may be furious.

By Ryan Kellett  |  December 6, 2010; 6:06 PM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Here's my own poll of NEGATIVE effects of Obama's tax cut deal:

1) He singlehandedly destroys the Democratic Party (good or bad, depending on political affiliation)

2) Reveals a deep-seated Dr. Phil Complex (curable if he stops watching TV)

3) Renegs on a huge campaign pledge (only relevant for those who believe in tooth fairies)

4) Displays an unwillingness to learn from modern history of Presidents who Capitulate to Hostage Takers (can be dangerous to the republic)

5) Underfunds Social Security for generations (only to those who care about actually receiving benefits into a system they have been paying into a relying on for years)

6) By needlessly exploding the deficit effectively cripples the ability of government to do ANYTHING. (Accomplishing the goal of the GOP since time of President Wilson)

WAY TO GO OBAMA! When you leave there'll be no one left to turn out the lights.

Posted by: ethanquern | December 8, 2010 1:23 AM

This will have minimal impact for Obama. There are plenty of issues that will quickly eclipse this in the public mind, and I doubt seriously Obama will react sufficiently to any of them.

Posted by: FormerDemocrat | December 8, 2010 1:48 AM

Thanks for all your "white-washed" choices.
The accursed son/traitor of Noah IS the "Devil-in the-Details."

Posted by: bigisle | December 8, 2010 2:50 AM

I firmly believed in his capacity to implement CHANGE.Now I pity him for his changed attitude.

Posted by: vasudevarao_v | December 8, 2010 5:40 AM

Obama wouldn't be in this predicament if the Dems in Congress had acted on the measure prior to 9/30/2010 as required by law.

Why have laws if the Progressives and Dems can simply ignore them without any consequences?

The Republicans repeatedly tried to bring the issue to the floor but the true party of "No" refused to let the American people be heard.

Posted by: | December 8, 2010 6:19 AM

I have heard the argument that Obama has lost his core base.

Bull crap. I think he just gained it back. The progressive liberals didn't elect this president, the independents did. This vote, which was a compromise, just won these people back.

Progressives, YOU ARE A MINORITY. And for very good reason. Your parasites. Just like the right wing is a minority.

If anything, I think deals like this will guarantee Mr. Obama's re-election. If he listens to only the parasite left, he won't be reelected.

Parasites, ack. I mean progressives. Your dead in the water. You just became what you have always been. Insignificant cry babies.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | December 8, 2010 6:23 AM

We democrats must stop living in a make believe world. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is impotent and cannot swing an election in most of the country. The Democrats lost seats in congress because most voters believe they have gone too far to the left. If the Democrats are to be successful they should get rid of Harry Reid and Nancy Policy and replace them with more centrist Democrats. They should stop the appearance that the only thing democrats care about is gay right, immigrant’s right and saving the environment at the expense of issues that most American care about. I have been a democrats most of my life. In the last election I cut my donation to the Democratic Party by 90% and voted for only 80% of Democratic running for office. The last election should be a wakeup call that we democrats have allowed the progressive wing of the party to control the dialog.

Posted by: alleva | December 8, 2010 7:49 AM

Mr Obama gains NO/ZERO benefit here; the 'Publican echo chamber will turn this all around, bury the fact that the very rich are the true beneficiaries, and accuse the Democrats of increasing the deficit.

I should hope that the Democratic House and Senate would torpedo this surrender and go after the 'Publicans for the whores they really are.

Posted by: mini2 | December 8, 2010 8:59 AM

If there's any benefit at all to this deal, it's that it does make him seem bi-partisan and willing to compromise.

The major downside is that this deal should never have happened in the first place - this issue should have been dealt with well before the midterm elections when the House Democrats had the voters. They are far, far, far more to blame for this deal than Obama - if they hadn't refused to act out of political cowardice during a time in which they could have extending the tax cuts for the middle class but not the super-rich, than this deal never would have happened.

This could persuade some independents that Obama is not the Marxist anti-christ the right makes him out to be but it will definitely alienate his base. He needs both to win re-election so he has to do something to energize his base in the next few years or they might just stay home in 2012 - unless of course the Republicans nominate Sarah Palin of course, then you can be rest assured that every liberals angry at this deal will suck it up and vote for Obama.

Posted by: cjpotter19 | December 8, 2010 10:03 AM

He benefits because the issue of continuing the tax cuts for the rich will come up again during the 2012 election cycle. The GOP will have to defend tax cuts for the rich while trying to peel back middle class tax cuts. It will be fun to watch them do that.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | December 8, 2010 11:05 AM

NewsBusters| Happy Talk: WaPo Asks In Online Tax-Deal Poll 'What's the Greatest Benefit for Obama'?

Posted by: StewartIII | December 8, 2010 8:10 PM

As a progressive, its interesting reading the comments of regressive right wing parasites who discern no contradiction in sucking the economic life blood of the poor and middle class to feed the rich and well connected.

Anyway, good job Mr. President in putting the country first, a notion so alien to right wing parasites.

Posted by: Citi__Street | December 8, 2010 10:33 PM

I know that President Obama is trying to get results and
help the American people. I know that the Republicans have been obstructing, filibustering, and stalling and delaying and doing everything that they can to destroy his presidency and America for that matter. i wish that there was a web page that shows the true damage that the Republican party has done to this country to include the Bush Tax Cuts which means in essence a smaller government though the military spending seems to be limitless.

The plan if I were president would be:
End both wars and leave the middle east to save $50B a month.

Write up the New Deal and have Congress pass it to create 100M to 150M jobs that pay enough to pay a mortgage and support a family with full medical benefits.

End illegal immigration. More than 1M illegals enter California and Texas every year for several countries.

Repair all roads and bridges and build more roads.
Build bullet trains to criss cross the entire country north and south and east and west between all major cities.

Build 2 trillion dollars worth of solar arrays for electricity for the whole country.

Build more hospitals which we will need and more medical schools since America is growing and when the economy recovers we will have a second baby boom.

We need to prepare for world war 3 now. We need to increase our inventory of bombers, jets, bombs, howitzers, machine guns, cruise missiles, tanks, shells, trucks, jeeps, uniforms, boots, mortars, rifles that don't jam. We need to double our freight railroad system to speed up the flow of goods between states. When world war 2 started in Europe America was woefully unprepared and caught flat footed. On Normandy we lost most of our troops to mortars and machine guns and mines.

We need to focus on engineering in school and math and physics and have English taught in all schools.

Posted by: America2010 | December 8, 2010 10:46 PM

He has ensured that Sarah Palin will be the next president of the US. The few independent voters he may get as a result of his cave-in to Republicans will more than offset by the Democrats who will just stay home on election day.

Posted by: rparker125 | December 8, 2010 10:58 PM

Mr. Obama consistently negotiates from a concession and then claims that he could not get anything better. I agree with the comment from Paul Krugman in the 12/5 issue of the NYT, "Last but not least: if Democrats give in to the blackmailers now, they’ll just face more demands in the future. As long as Republicans believe that Mr. Obama will do anything to avoid short-term pain, they’ll have every incentive to keep taking hostages. If the president will endanger America’s fiscal future to avoid a tax increase, what will he give to avoid a government shutdown?"

Given his record, does anyone honestly believe that Mr. Obama will stand up to the Republicans on the issue of upper bracket tax cuts in two years? I do not, and that is why I believe that the stand must be taken now - and not trust in a vague promise of courage two years down the road.

The Democrats in Congress need to turn down this "compromise" and save Mr. Obama from himself.

Posted by: jdcolv | December 8, 2010 11:43 PM

How about "other"? What a biased set of answers.

The fact is by compromising, Obama saved the economy from another downturn and avoided the market sell off (read: crash) that surely would have resulted from the increase in the capital gains tax.

He and the rest of the Democrats could have passed an extension before the election and gotten better results. But they didn't have the cajones to do that and adjourned instead- leaving the public to wonder what would happen.

So now they're back, resoundingly defeated, yet still playing the usual class warfare games and refusing to face reality. They thought they could stick it to the Republicans by forcing them to vote against an extension of the rates for the middle class. That didn't work and they've been forced to cave.

As a result Obama will look exactly like what he is: a weak and ineffective President who let the far left members of the legislative branch run the country.

At least we don't have to pass it to know what's in it this time.

Posted by: nolongersubscrtibe | December 9, 2010 12:21 PM

Your poll didn't offer the answer "nothing".

The simple reality is that the Republicans should have asked to see his hidden history on behalf of the people.

Tax cuts will not fix the economy with No Confidence in this Administration.
Preppers Depression will continue until the people are confident.

Posted by: dottydo | December 10, 2010 1:58 AM

Where's the option for "None of the Above!"

The Obama-McConnell measure might actually hurt Obama in 2012 given that the stimulus is front-loaded in 2011 and the effects will wear off during the election year. Unemployment is likely to still remain above 8 percent. In its place we have $900 billion of new debt with minimal stimulus.


It would be truly audacious for him to simply let the job-destroying, budget busting Bush tax cuts fade into history and expire. That would save future taxpayers $4 trillion over the next decade. He could probably get the unemployment benefit extension anyways as a stand-alone issue just as has happened 6 other times over the past year with the GOP dragging out the clock and inflicting pain on those who rely on the support, but ultimately voting in favor of it anyways.

If Obama enacted a genuine stimulus with aid to the states, infrastructure spending, and unemployment benefit extensions, he could reduce unemployment significantly at a much lower cost. Unfortunately the window to do more probably passed in the Spring of 2009 when Obama had some momentum from his election, but instead wagered on a smaller stimulus and declared victory pre-maturely.

Ultimately voters are going to look at where the economy is headed and the state of the job market. Independent voters won't give a flying hoot about "bipartisaniship" if hiring slows down in advance of the election with the unemployment remains above 8 percent.

They didn't reward him for the 2009 stimulus even though it had the effect of stopping the bleeding from the Bush recession -- in combination with the structured bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler his measures saved 4 million jobs. But you don't get credit for jobs saved if the unemployment rate remains stuck at over 9 percent. This is especially true if the president squanders his credibility by overselling the effect of the stimulus -- as he's doing right now with the current package.

Posted by: JPRS | December 10, 2010 3:25 AM

There were no alternatives that reflect reality. He has guaranteed that he will be opposed in the 2012 primaries --hopefully by Chuck Schumer. He has lost my vote and that's a vote that has gone to the Dem nominee in every election from 1972 to 2008. This is feeling like 1968 when HHH so betrayed the Dem base by his position on the Viet Nam war that I wrote in Kennedy-McCarthy and many others either didn't vote or did something similar. Do I REALLY see any important difference between Obama and Romney? Not really. Either way all we get are GOP policies. Supreme Court you say? Too esoteric for me. Can they do much worse harm to our democracy than Citizens United? Not really. Your list presumes that there IS some positive from this preemptive capitulation on core principles. Think again.

Posted by: dolph924 | December 10, 2010 12:02 PM

This is the worst bill the Democrats could agree to. It does nothing to eliminate the national debt and almost assuredly eliminates Social Security, the Republicans goal in the first place. It establishes more tax breaks when the USA can least afford it.

The tax breaks established by Bush were a mistake in the first place and should be eliminated entirely. You will see the Republicans will fight for that to repay their election contributors. It will do the average taxpayer very little good.

Posted by: marlb9132 | December 11, 2010 11:53 AM

This is the worst bill the Democrats could agree to. It does nothing to eliminate the national debt and almost assuredly eliminates Social Security, the Republicans goal in the first place. It establishes more tax breaks when the USA can least afford it.

The tax breaks established by Bush were a mistake in the first place and should be eliminated entirely. You will see the Republicans will fight for that to repay their election contributors. It will do the average taxpayer very little good.

Posted by: marlb9132 | December 11, 2010 11:53 AM

" What's the Greatest Benefit for Obama ? " A one-way ticket for him and the Ugly " First Moose " to Kenya or into Chavez's Wild Kingdom .

Posted by: puck-101 | December 16, 2010 5:59 AM


He bloats the deficit to enrich billionaires at the public's expense.

Posted by: AxelDC | December 18, 2010 3:51 PM

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