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Obama Scolds His Base....Again

By The Reverend Published: December 8, 2010

Obama scolding the very people who put him in office.....

So this notion that somehow we are willing to compromise too much reminds me of the debate that we had during health care. This is the public option debate all over again. So I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health care for all Americans, something that Democrats had been fighting for, for a hundred years - but because there was a provision in there that they didn't get, that would have affected maybe a couple million people, even though we got health insurance for 30 million people, and the potential for lower premiums for a hundred million people, that somehow that was a sign of weakness and compromise.

The health care reform bill passed without one single GOP vote. Democrats....if they were compromising too much...were compromising too much with themselves when they kept a public option out of the bill. When a Democratic President tells the American people he thinks a public option for health insurance is vital to holding private insurance rates down...which he did repeatedly...and that same Democratic President has a 60 vote Senate majority with which to pass a bill that contains the public option, and yet that President doesn't attempt to use his power to leverage those 60 Democratic votes for the public option he says he's in favor of....then it's not "compromising too much" that's the problem. It's that Obama never really wanted the public option to be part of the deal in the first place.

And that's exactly the case.

Tom Daschle: " It was taken off the table as a result of the understanding that people had with the hospital association, with the insurance (AHIP), and others. I mean I think that part of the whole effort was based on a premise. That premise was, you had to have the stakeholders in the room and at the table. Lessons learned in past efforts is that without the stakeholders' active support rather than active opposition, it’s almost impossible to get this job done. They wanted to keep those stakeholders in the room and this was the price some thought they had to pay."

Obama's problem has not been that he compromises too much.....it's that he compromises way too soon.....in fact, it can be said that Obama's first step in any negotiation is to give away something valuable to the other side to incentivize them to engage. I've called it unilateral bipartisanship. That is Obama's style. He disarms his "opponents" by first giving them what it is that he knows they really want. In exchange, Obama expects those same opponents to be less combative to his overall policy goals.

And that's what Obama has now done again with his latest compromise with Republicans over tax cuts. The moment the Senate couldn't get enough votes, twice, to break the GOP hostage taker demands....Obama quickly conceded to tax cut extensions for the filthiest of rich....BUT.....he didn't stop there. Behind closed doors, Obama also agreed in advance to give Republicans and their 2% constituency an inheritance tax cut bonus.....an egregiously rub-our-faces-in-it ransom demand from Republicans who knew they were dealing with a pushover.

Not one person on the left thinks that compromise is not essential to the art of negotiation. Liberals expect compromise.....it's conservatives who do not believe in compromise. But what liberals don't expect is pre-emptive surrendering to the other side before a fight can be had over the merits.

Obama, who ran on lofty words of being a transformational leader, has proven to be little more than a Third Way, Clintonian incrementalist.....partially because he is a pre-emptive, back room compromiser.....who, apparently, doesn't like it very much when that fact is pointed out.

Finally today: I am looking for an answer. It is true that George W. Bush passed his deep tax cuts in 2001 using the reconciliation process. The reconciliation process only requires 51 votes in the Senate to pass legislation. Is there a legitimate reason why the reconciliation process cannot be used in the current Senate to pass tax cut extensions only for those under $250K?

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