Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Obama’s Compromise: 2 Scenarios—for His Defeat or Victory.

         President Obama’s agreement to compromise on taxes…which in  large measure is a GOP victory…could either push disaster for him in 2012 or success depending on which way the cookie crumbles.
         The “compromise” was pretty much a Republican victory. First, he agreed to extending for two years expiring income tax cuts for all Americans, including the rich.  Mark that a plus for the GOP.  Doubly so since the extension will go through 2012.  Democratic strategists wanted the extension to end before the next presidential election so they could use the slogan “stop continuation  of tax cuts for the rich” as a slogan.  They got clipped on that one.
        Second, Obama won extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed without paying for them with spending cuts.
         Third, the compromise included a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes—from 6.2% to 4.2% which would  substantially increase take home pay during that time.  This has been billed by the media as an Obama “surprise” which purportedly took the GOP by surprise—but it has been part of a Republican package and advanced by prominent members of the party for as long as the recession has been with us. I call it a Republican surprise notch in the belt.
         Fourth within a package of tax breaks for lower income earners and the poor such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit is a plum Republicans want—easing of the so-called “death tax.” The first $5 million would pass over to heirs tax free, anything over that taxed 35%--a real boon.  Dems wanted a $3.5 million threshold with a 45% tax on everything higher. Advantage: GOP.
           Americans should give credit to Obama who shucked off the impression he has given thus far in his term—that he is an ideologue Lefty and unwilling to compromise.  The compromise squares with the reality of a divided government—House GOP, Senate marginally but not overwhelmingly Dem.
           What’s the likely impact of the compromise on 2012?  Two scenarios.  The first could be victory for Obama.   If the compromise stabilizes markets and starts a slow push to an improving economy and employment, it may add numbers to his sagging popularity which together with his rehabilitated image could either win reelection or make him much harder to beat than has been surmised heretofore.
             The second depends on Obama’s hard-Left base with much turning on white liberals who believe passionately that the rich should pay more taxes.   Labor will probably stay put.  Blacks are an indentured Democratic class that will stick.  Hispanics will stick. But the reaction of the neo-Marxist affluents such as moveon.org and the Daily Kos which have direct tug on the media will decide 2012.
       Already there is much grumbling with moveon.org We’ll have to check Kos today to see how it plays.   A brief look at Ed Schultz’s stormy face on MSNBC last night told me Obama’s got some hefty work to do.  The statement from Mitch McConnell after the compromise was exultant;  Harry Reid’s was so terse and low-key you’d suspect it was put together by committee.
              If the Left dissents…as is likely given its now rising discontent with Obama…it would seem inevitable that the president would attract serious primary opposition.  Probably not from Howard Dean but from Russ Feingold, the defeated Wisconsin senator, who could well fill the role played by Eugene McCarthy against LBJ in 1968 where McCarthy not only lost but was beaten by Johnson as a write-in….but the size of McCarthy’s vote was so trumpeted by the Leftwing media this caused Johnson to forfeit.   Feingold would be the ideal candidate for the Left.  
         It would be highly unlikely that a Feingold challenge could prevent Obama’s re=nomination  but could do one of two things…cause Obama to call it a day and announce he’s out of contention…or so weaken him that he’ll lose the election.
              I think a wounded Obama, surviving a primary challenge, can only be defeated by a relatively calm, steady Republican challenge.   That would mean something like a ticket of Romney and Barbour.   Boring you say?   To which I respond: You betcha!  Which brings to mind the former Alaska governor.  Exciting she may be…like a Calamity Jane in Buffalo Bill’s circus but not here, friends and not now.
           Not Palin, definitely not Palin.  We wouldn’t need a Fall 2012 with the media covering the indomitable Sarah clubbing a wriggling salmon to death after which Bristol holds its still beating pathetic heart in her cupped hands as she did on Sarah Palin’s Alaska, where after close inspection of the throbbing organ Palin herself pronounced: “weird!”…or the ex-governor counseling a sobbing Bristol after yet another broken love affair—which looking at the saucy, cavorting, unrestrained Bristol in seductive net stockings I imagine could well be in the cards.

1 comment:

  1. Not Romney.

    Definitely not Romney.

    Daniels? Pawlenty? Both livable.