Standing up to the Republicans and winning

Obama, historically, hasn’t been one to stand up to the Republican party. Among other things, he didn’t push for single-payer health when he had an opportunity to do so, and, in my opinion, he didn’t go far enough in regulating the financial institutions that brought our nation to the brink of collapse. Despite the encouragement of the Progressive base, he’s played it relatively safe up until now, looking to build consensus with the Republicans, to no avail. Finally, last week, he stood up to the Republicans on the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the super-wealthy. He drew a line in the sand, telling Republicans that he would not extend the tax cuts currently enjoyed by the top 2% of Americans.

In spite of the fact that doing so was favored by close to 70% of Americans, most of us didn’t think that Obama would stand up and take the fight to the Republicans. But, he did. And, guess what? The world didn’t end… Despite several initial accusations of “class warfare”, it looks as though the Republicans are backing down. Congressman John Boehner, the man in line to become the next Speaker of the House, should Republicans pick up seats in November, said today that he would support the President’s plan to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, while allowing those for Americans making more than $250,000 a year to expire. Here’s a clip from NPR:

House Republican leader John Boehner says he would support extending tax cuts only for middle-class earners even though he considers it “bad policy” to exclude the highest-earning Americans from tax relief during a recession.

One of President Barack Obama’s chief economic advisers said Sunday he was happy that Boehner, R-Ohio, isn’t willing to hold hostage an extension of tax cuts for those earning under $250,000 a year, or more than 97 percent of earners, to try to gain a continuation of breaks enjoyed by the wealthiest…

Democratic leaders would relish putting up a bill that extends only the middle-class tax cuts and then daring Republicans to oppose it. In response, GOP lawmakers probably would try to force votes on amendments that would extend all the tax cuts and then point to those who rejected them…

Granted nothing’s happened yet, but I’d say this is a pretty good sign that Republicans are beginning to buckle on the issue, not wanting to give the impression that they’d sacrifice tax cuts for 98% of Americans in order to further line the pockets of their millionaire supporters. And, assuming that’s the case, my hope is that Obama learns something from it. I hope he realizes 1) that attempting to build consensus with the Republicans is a colossal waste of time, and 2) that he doesn’t need their approval to achieve positive change. The Republicans can be beaten. They aren’t invincible. When push comes to shove, they’re impotent little people, devoid of ideas, who are terrified by the prospect of being exposed. All it takes is a coherent message, and a President that isn’t afraid of taking the fight to them. When Obama goes on the road, as he recently did in Boehner’s home state of Ohio, and hammers the facts, people take notice. Sure, the fuckers at FOX News will edit your speeches to the point where you sound as though you’re saying the exact opposite of what you were actually saying, but it won’t matter. The truth, if you hit it hard enough, will begin to break through.

Anyway, I hope that Obama keeps it up. And, judging from the fact that it looks as though he’s leaning toward a nominating Elizabeth Warren to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Agency, I think it’s a distinct possibility… Who knows, if we’re lucky, maybe he’ll move to revoke the Patriot Act by the end of the year.

Oh, speaking of Boehner, did you happen to catch the piece in the New York Times today about his connections to lobbyists? It’s an interesting read… Among other things, it reminded me that it was Boehner who made headlines in 1996 for handing out checks on the floor of the House to Republicans who had voted down regulation of the tobacco industry.

This entry was posted in Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Knox
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Too little, too late?

  2. Edward
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Obama may be making headway in some areas, but I just read that he’s preparing to announce a $60 billion arms deal with the Saudis.

    So, soon, they won’t have to borrow our planes.

    Sorry about the 9/11 joke.

  3. From Kentucky
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Boehner was on Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer yesterday and got caught lying about the number of small businesses that would see increased taxes under the President’s plan. Start watching the video at the three minute mark.

  4. Robert
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The interests backing the Democratic Party could still rig the upcoming midterms as they did the Virginia US Senate election in 2006, and as the Rove/GOP did several states in 2002.

    Contrary to what many on the left might hope and expect, the mechanisms for electronically rigging major elections is still very much in place. For some reason, the Obama Justice Department has done practically nothing to restore integrity to the process, and of course those on the right are generally too stupid to understand or give a shit about genuine election integrity.

  5. Esther Trip
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    They don’t need to hack electronic voting machines when they can just go out and hire the homeless to run as Green candidates, thereby splitting the progressive vote.

  6. Edward
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Hold the presses. We haven’t won this one yet. Boehner may have said yesterday that he’d support it, but his counterpart in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, doesn’t agree. And neither does Leiberman. The following comes from the Huffington Post.

    House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) seemed to give Democrats an opening on Sunday when he said he would support President Obama’s plan for extending Bush tax cuts only to the middle class if that was his only choice.

    But his counterpart in the Senate is apparently willing to make sure Boehner doesn’t face such a choice. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) announced on Monday that he has the commitments from everyone in his caucus to oppose any tax package that doesn’t include an extension for the rich as well.

    As it happens, the Kentucky Republican didn’t even need all those commitments. Earlier in the day, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) joined three other right-leaning Senate Democrats in announcing his opposition to any form of tax increases, giving Republicans more than enough votes to sustain a filibuster.

  7. Robert
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Esther Trip, I was talking about the interests behind the Democratic Party rigging the election, not those behind the GOP. The Republicans doesn’t have to rig anything this season. They stand to make considerable gains in fair elections this year.

    Also, in response to your main point, open manipulation of elections makes for very bad PR and runs the risk of legal action, as you can see playing out now in the failed attempt made by some Michigan Democrats to get a phony Tea Party on the ballot this November.

    What the GOP in South Carolina did this year to sabotage the Democrats there was a pretty isolated event and appears to have been done simply to eliminate a good amount of the coat tail affect on state races further down the ballot. (This is the incident I assume your comment was inspired by.)

    If, by your comment, you are trying to suggest that electronic rigging isn’t happening because it isn’t necessary, you are simply uninformed. It is a fact that it is happening, and it is also obvious the advantages it has over more overt forms of manipulation. It’s considerably cheaper, much less detectible, and requires far fewer conspirators. It doesn’t need to be necessary to happen. It simply needs to be advantageous.

    Don’t be surprised if we see electronic manipulations carried out in favor of keeping Democratic control of the US Senate and US House.

  8. Steph's Dad
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    If Mitch McConnell wants to hold 98% of Americans hostage so that he can get American millionaires another $100,000 a year, then God bless him. I’d get Clinton and Obama down to Kentucky on the first plane, and have them go into full attack mode. This is a political winner. Everyone knows that the top %2 of Americans should be paying more, and if McConnell wants to sacrifice himself, so be it.

  9. Steph's Dad
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Lieberman now says that he would not stand with Mitch McConnell and filibuster in hopes of getting permanent tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans. The others will crumble soon enough.

  10. MoveOn
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Election Day is just seven weeks away, and Democrats’ best shot is to expose Republicans as working only to protect millionaires and corporations. Luckily, Republicans have handed them a golden opportunity to do just that.

    With the Bush tax cuts set to expire in December, President Obama has proposed extending the tax cuts focused on families making less than $250,000. But Republicans—and even some corporate Democrats—are demanding a $700 billion giveaway to the richest Americans in exchange for Obama’s middle class tax cuts.

    We need the Senate Leadership to stand up to corporate politicians who are holding middle class tax cuts hostage in order to protect their millionaire donors. That’s what the president wants. And poll after poll shows it’s what the public wants.

    Can you sign our petition to Democrats in Congress that we want them to stand tall and bring the president’s tax cuts—that would cover 98% of families—up for a vote as soon as possible? We’ll deliver it to Majority Leader Harry Reid and the other Democrats in Congress later this week.

    The petition says: “Stand with President Obama: Don’t let Republicans hold middle class tax cuts hostage.”

    It’s not surprising that Republicans are unwilling to let middle class tax cuts pass without the giveaways for the rich—those giveaways are worth a ton of money. People who are already millionaires would get about $100,000 each if the Republicans get their way. And they know that trying to sell these huge tax giveaways as a standalone measure simply wouldn’t fly.

    Because even though you’ll hear Republicans complain that “you don’t raise taxes on anybody in a recession,” economists agree that the top 2% will just save the money, meaning it won’t help restart the economy, it’ll just go in their pockets. Struggling families, on the other hand, will spend their tax cuts. They need help now, and that will help our economy.

    But even though extending the tax cuts for 98% of families while returning the rates for the top 2% to Clinton-era levels is good policy and good politics, there’s a chance that the Senate leadership will delay a vote until after the election. This is the Democrats’ last chance to show voters who corporate politicians are really fighting for, so we need to let them know that we want them to have this fight and that we’ll help them win it.

    Can you sign our petition right now? We’re delivering it to Congress later this week.

    Thanks for all you do.

    –Nita, Duncan, Daniel, Joan, and the rest of the team

  11. Posted September 15, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Good news from the campaign front: It looks like Gary Peters is likely to hold on to his Congressional seat this November.

    There are three districts that the Democrats are fighting to hold on to, and things look very bad up in the 1st District from which Bart Stupak is retiring. The Democrat Gary McDowell looks to be a dramatic underdog in that race against Republican Dan Benishek.

    However, as I said, Democrat Gary Peters appears to be holding his own against Rocky Raczkowski, the GOP’s surprisingly weak selection in Michigan’s 9th Congressional District. Apparently folks in Oakland County remember what a bang-up job the GOP did for us all last time they held the reigns.

    The front line in the fight to stave off a Republican takeover of Congress is playing out in Michigan’s 7th District which includes all but the Southeast corner of Washtenaw County. Democrat Mark Schauer is the underdog but is within striking distance of winning that race and helping Democrats hold onto the US House. If you want to keep John Boehner and his cohorts from running the show again, this is where you can best make the difference. I urge everyone to contribute to Mark Schauer’s campaign in any way or form possible.

    Here’s the link to Mark Schauer’s campaign page:

  12. Fred
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Boehner stumbles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative American Under Maynardism