Obama’s made a deal on the whole ‘tax cuts’ issue and every leftie in the USA (and some here, who just echo their leftie cousins there) is screaming betrayal. Oh, and triangulation.
But is it? Greg Sargent writes:
The reason Obama’s attacks on the left smack of triangulation is that he persists on painting the left and the right with the same brush: He presents himself as the last reasonable man trapped between two sides blinded to reason by ideology. Hence his insistence yesterday that he won’t be held to any unreasonable “ideal.” But as irksom as this is, it isn’t really the same as positioning oneself ideologically by arguing that the left is wrong on policy substance, as Bill Clinton did.
Obama’s argument with the left, at bottom, is more a dispute over what’s achievable, and less an argument over what is desirable to achieve. Obama opposes extending the high end tax cuts, just as the left does. His disagreement with the left is over whether there’s another way to achieve the goals Obama and the left agree on: Extending the middle class cuts and extending unemployment benefits.
I suspect I’ll have to repeatedly point out to lefties in the UK for the next two years that Republicans control the lower house and can easily block legislation in the Senate. Well, not yet, from January they will, but the point still stands that Obama could not pass the ‘Bush tax cuts’ legislation without some Republican support.
That is the reality. And there is no point pretending that as President he can just be in a stand-off with the Republicans all the time, because real people would be hurt by not getting unemployment benefits. The problem, it seems to me, is that Democrats just don’t have the discipline or backbone to hit back at Republicans. That isn’t just an Obama problem – it’s a problem with many Democrats.
But what can you do? At this stage, all Obama can do is compromise, push bits through, get re-elected, and push more stuff through. Who said governing was easy? But he is not disagreeing with the left in order to triangulate – like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair did. That was triangulation; this is pragmatism.
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Filed in: Current affairs,United States