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Is it Time for Democrats to Fight Obama?

2:13 pm in Uncategorized by Cenk Uygur

You want to hear something really depressing? If John McCain had won the presidency, there is almost no chance he could have gotten the Bush tax cuts extended for the rich. Think about it. How was a Republican president going to get an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate and House to pass those tax cuts that they hated under Bush?

No, only a Democratic president could get a Democratic Congress to agree to tax cuts for the rich. So, in this sense, progressives are worse off for having a Democratic president than a Republican one.

Then, at least we would have known who we were fighting. Remember, Bush could barely, barely get these same tax cuts passed when the Republicans controlled both the Senate and the House!

Funny how the rich and powerful win no matter who is in charge and what party they claim to be from. And think about how much the political spectrum has shifted to the right that Bush had to use reconciliation and then barely got the tax cut through a Republican Congress whereas now a Senate with basically 59 Democrats just passed the same tax cuts with ease. Washington has fallen off a right-wing cliff and the media hardly noticed.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said this about the estate tax provision:

“We had the president–George W. Bush–we couldn’t get it done then and we’re getting it done here.”

Ouch. Their victory is so overwhelming that the Republicans are brazenly bragging about how they couldn’t even get Bush to do what Obama has done for them.

Finally, you have to ask why Democrats who were willing to fight Bush are crumbling in front of Obama? He claims to be the leader of your party, but honestly who cares? If he is doing the exact opposite of what you claim to stand for, why does it matter what he calls himself?

Democrats would certainly have fought a surge in Afghanistan if Bush was in charge. They would be complaining about warrantless wiretapping if Bush continued that program instead of Obama. They would have hated the monopoly that drug companies got in the health care legislation (because they went nuts over it when Bush made the same deal). And they would have gone apoplectic over these huge tax cuts for the rich. But under Obama, the defense contractors, the rich and the powerful have gotten almost everything they wanted and nary a peep was heard from the Democrats in Congress.

Here is the new memo – fight him, he’s not on your side.

When I asked Rep. Jim McDermott some of these questions last night, he seemed at a loss for what to do next. You can feel his frustration and confusion as to how we got here with a Democratic president. Here are some of his quotes:

“Well, I think a lot of us are, in the caucus, we’re not quite sure why this is happening. It doesn’t make political sense what he did, and it doesn’t make economic sense.”

“I think that we are in serious trouble because the president simply does not seem willing to go after some things that I think he’s going to have to if he’s going to get anything done for the people of this country. He simply has, in my view, given up the willingness to fight for economic justice in this country.”

“I think it’s going to take us a while to get over what’s happened here, and I really think… it is very hard to think how you’re going to deal with the next round here, because the president has now shown that he can be bullied, and I don’t want my president to be bullied.”

“And I think he… we would be all much better if we were able to say, you know, that we’re not going to back down, and that there’s no excuse for us giving up like this. I mean, that’s the hard part for me, is that it’s giving up without a fight.”

“[W]hen you start giving in on the kinds of things he’s giving in on, you really worry that there is no way back from that. And I’m, I mean, that’s why I said it was… this was Gettysburg, because it really is… that was the turning point in the war. And it really is a question of how you continue to rally your troops if you keep giving in on things that people really care about.”

Until you get to a point where you’re not sure he has the same idea of what “people really care about.” He might have a different idea, a Republican idea. Or at the very least, a Washington idea of what people care about – so-called centrist compromises that somehow always benefit the establishment.

To watch the interview click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2dida2x3Sw

The Hidden Cost of Capitulation

2:27 pm in Uncategorized by Cenk Uygur

Now that the president has signaled yet another collapse in agreeing to tax cuts for the rich, there is a hidden cost to this capitulation. He is now stuck defending this deal for the rest of his term. I predicted this on the show yesterday and today it’s playing out exactly the way I imagined, with the president sending out advisers to talk about what a great idea it is to give tax cuts to the rich.

Once you sign off on a political position, you own it. This could be a corollary to Colin Powell’s doctrine on foreign policy. Powell said if you break it, you own it. In this case, if you make it, you own it.

The president claims he will fight hard against these same tax cuts two years from now. It’s hard to stop laughing long enough to make a point against that, but I will try. If you are sending out your people to talk up polls about how the right the Republicans were on the tax cuts for the rich now, how are you going to send out the same people to talk about how wrong they were – and how wrong you were – two years from now?

These are the things that make me wonder if President Obama has a firm grasp on basic political fundamentals. Yesterday he said that the political reality is that he just didn’t have the votes in the Senate (by far his favorite excuse). He even said “I can’t win” in the Senate. That’s a damning reversal for a man who ran on “Yes we can.”  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Is Barack Obama Stupid?

5:49 pm in Government, Politics by Cenk Uygur

New CBS News poll out confirms every other poll we’ve seen on the topic – the American people are solidly against tax cuts for the rich.

53% of respondents said there should only be tax cuts for the middle class and no tax cuts for people making over $250,000. That’s the number most people in the media are using, but that’s not quite accurate. Another 14% said they don’t want tax cuts for anybody, including the top bracket. So, the reality is that an overwhelming 67% of the country don’t want tax cuts for the rich (including 52% of Republican voters!). Only 26% said that everyone should get a tax cut, including the rich.

So, let’s do the math for people who are a little slow. That’s 67% to 26%. That’s a crushing 41% lead. If it was an election, that margin would be so large they would think it was rigged. The group that doesn’t want tax cuts for the rich is more than two and half times the group that does.

If that weren’t enough, there is an internal memo being sent around to Democrats on the Hill by Anzalone Liszt Research that shows that 77% of Americans would let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire if the extra money went toward helping small businesses and balancing the budget. 77%!!!

Now, as a politician, how stupid do you have to be on the other side of this issue?  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

The Big Republican Lie on Tax Cuts

3:18 am in Uncategorized by Cenk Uygur

Republicans have repeated the lie that tax cuts are always good for the economy so often that all of Washington seems absolutely convinced that it’s true. The conventional wisdom is so established on this that all a Republican has to say is, "Everyone knows you don’t raise taxes in the middle of a recession …" Or in good times or in mediocre times or ever. All tax cuts are always good.

Republicans add another layer of absurdity to this as they say that tax cuts always lead to more revenue for the federal government because of supply-side economics. The economy expands, people make more money and the government collects more in taxes even though it takes a smaller percentage. Great theory – how about if we cut taxes down to 1%? Would the government still get more revenue?

The question isn’t whether tax cuts or tax increases are always the right answer. The question is at what level of taxes to do we stimulate the economy, collect enough revenue to run a functioning government and let people keep as much of their income as we can. No one, not even the world’s biggest liberal, wants to pay more in taxes personally. We just want to find the right balance so that everyone wins.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →