I frankly didn't think President Obama had it in him. His recent clash with GOP leaders over the so-called Bush tax cuts was a masterstroke of political maneuvering. He was, of course, helped greatly with the approach taken by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican; Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican; and incoming House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, who kicked away all the leverage gained with a November trouncing of the Democrats at the ballot box.
They agreed to a one-sided deal, in which the Democrats gave up almost nothing and got in return some $200 billion in new spending, a resurrected death tax, as well as extending supposed "one-time" tax credits to people who don't pay income taxes. And they made the deal three weeks before the end of the lame-duck session, allowing Democrats to queue up all the pet legislation (Dream Act, Disclose Act, card check) they want to pass to satisfy the fringe-left political base that they serve.
To make matters worse, Mr. Obama has been portrayed as making a Clintonesque move to the center when, in fact, he hasn't moved an inch from the far-left Marxist positions that are at his core. He is now better positioned than ever to battle the incoming GOP House of Representatives. Their wish to put the brakes on or actually cut spending just got that much harder because of what the outgoing Congress is doing.
The sad fact of this whole debacle is it could have been easily avoided with the exercise of some common sense. Mr. McConnell should have slow-played the tax cuts to the end of lame-duck session, filibustering everything to the last minute. Even if no deal is reached by year's end, no problem. Let the new Congress deal with it and make whatever deal is reached retroactive to Jan. 1.
It's better to pay a little more for a couple of weeks if need be and get a better deal in the long run without all the added spending than to accept a flawed deal now and give the Democrats two to three weeks to ram through their destructive legislation.
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