I tried. I really tried to see the good in this Obama-McConnell deal, but the bad outweighs the good in too many ways.
As True North from Canada in the Thom Hartmann chat room said as I was preparing for this morning’s show, “FDR presented the New Deal, Obama presents the Raw Deal.”
I listened to my friend and colleague Randi Rhodes yesterday, who staunchly defends this plan. There are many Dems who think Obama got as good as he could, and praise the stimulative portions of the deal, the guarantee of 13 months of unemployment benefits and the few other morsels thrown our way. But I can’t help recognizing that our president doesn’t know how to negotiate.
Not only did he cave in on one of the most essential points of his economic platform — tax cuts, especially for the wealthiest among us — are not stimulative, do not create jobs and add an unjustifiable amount to the federal deficit, but he also gave the GOP a big fat wet kiss with respect to the estate tax. If Obama had done nothing at all, it would have gone back to 55% after an exemption of $3 million per person. Thanks to President Obama’s “negotiating skills,” the estate tax will now come back in at 35% with a $5 million exemption per person. Huh?
And with regard to those unemployment benefits… they’re extended for 13 months. Why not two years, as you gave the wealthy their tax cuts? And this is something that the Republicans would have caved in on anyway, had you not put the barn before the horse (or however that cliche goes…as you can tell, I’m not good at them!). Senator Sherrod Brown explained that last piece to Rachel Maddow last night:
As you might remember, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow were both off the air Tuesday night. I can’t confirm this, but I believe they were invited to the White House to get briefed on the deal by a senior administration official. (In his special comment, Keith refers to a conversation with just such a person the day before, the same day that many bloggers participated in a White House-initiated conference call to the same end.)
Apparently, they were unimpressed. Although the stalwarts of MSNBC’s prime time lineup had heretofore given Mr. Obama more leeway than I thought he deserved, they apparently reached their tipping point with this so-called compromise.
Keith delivered the most scathing Special Comment I’ve ever seen directed at this president:
And Rachel told the tale so many of us have been trying to tell, but she did it much more eloquently:
Kudos to both of them for finally getting fed up enough to speak out.
The PCCC is reporting that we’re not the only ones against this deal. Momentum is building on both sides of the aisle to derail it.
3 big updates.
1) Welch House letter saying “no deal” went from 1 to 15 to 34 signers in the last two days — after tens of thousands of phone calls from PCCC, DFA, MoveOn, and Credo Action members. And growing…
2) Jim DeMint to filibuster tax cut deal — joining Sanders, and maybe Voinovich, in Senate.
Bonus: USA Today covers former Obama campaign staffers speaking out.
Welch signers (letter below):
First Last Party State District
Judy Chu D CA 32
Yvette Diane Clarke D NY 11
Stephen I. Cohen D TN 9
John Conyers D MI 14
Peter A. DeFazio D OR 4
William D. Delahunt D MA 10
Donna Edwards D MD 4
Keith M. Ellison D MN 5
Anna G. Eshoo D CA 14
Sam Farr D CA 17
Bob Filner D CA 51
John Garamendi D CA 10
Raul M. Grijalva D AZ 7
Luis V. Gutierrez D IL 4
Alcee L. Hastings D FL 23
Martin T. Heinrich D NM 1
Jay Inslee D WA 1
Jessie L. Jackson IL IL 2
Dennis J. Kucinich D OH 10
Barbara Lee D CA 9
Ben Ray Lujan D NM 3
Stephen F. Lynch D MA 9
Jim McDermott D WA 7
Michael H Michaud D ME 2
James L. Oberstar D MN 8
Chellie Pingree D ME 1
David E. Price D NC 4
Timothy J. Ryan D OH 17
Carol Shea-Porter D NH 1
Fortney Pete Stark D CA 13
Betty Sutton D OH 13
Paul Tonko D NY 21
Peter F. Welch D VT 1
David Wu D OR 1
If your Congressman is not on the list, it’s time to call now!
Truthout’s Jason Leopold was on a conference call Monday night with other journalists and three senior White House officials who attempted to sell them on the deal. Jason wasn’t sold, and joined me this morning to talk about it.
By the way, this “deal” did nothing to insure that the Republicans wouldn’t filibuster some very important legislation still to be voted on this session. David Dayen at FireDogLake reports that the Senate will hold four cloture votes today:
There will be four cloture votes tomorrow, on: the 9/11 health care bill, the DREAM Act, collective bargaining for firefighters and a one-time $250 benefit for Social Security recipients who saw no COLA increase this year. None are expected to pass.
And, of course, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I say “Don’t hold your breath.” That’s a game that only the Republicans win.