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High Stakes Chicken

December 7, 2010

I’m mad at the necessity of President Obama’s tax cut deal announced yesterday.

But I’m disgusted at the blatant gambling that the Republican Senate and Congress has decided to play. Let’s look at the facts:

  • Polls say that a majority of the American voters do not agree with allowing the rich to continue their tax cuts;
  • The Republicans decided after having breakfast with the President that they were going to filibuster everything, including: unemployment insurance, nuclear disarmament agreements, etc. unless they secured the tax cuts for the wealthy;
  • The President is dealing with taxes being raised for everyone Jan. 1. That means people making below the poverty line, the middle class, and the wealthy;
  • He has a Democratic Senate and Congress that is majority Liberal, but has enough moderate and moderate conservative members that he can’t count on their full support on anything.
  • Independent voters polled (where elections are won) have decided they do not want the partisan fighting. They want pragmatic governance.

So with those facts in position, what was President Obama’s choices. He is playing a zero sum game. He was boxed in. Held hostage by a intransigent opposition party, who do not care whose lives they destroy to gain what they want. Now I’ve seen many liberals and progressives reflexively attacking the President. Which is stupid. Here is the reality of our current political world. Nothing can be done without 60 votes (a super majority in the Senate). The call to political idealism doesn’t help the least of us feed our families, it doesn’t help the hurting heal – it makes idealist feel superior, pure, courageous. But as President, Barack Obama clearly made the distinction between idealism and governance when he said that he was not willing to gamble with the lives of 2 million people in order to be politically purist.

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