If the president really did nurse a deep-seated desire to ruin the free enterprise system (and the Republican Party along with it), he just missed his golden opportunity. …

Had the president stood firm on his endlessly re-affirmed determination to raise rates for all households earning more than $250,000, then John Boehner and the rest of the GOP would have refused any deal, taxes would have gone up automatically on every household and business, and the nation would have fallen into severe double-dip recession. Instead of forcing that outcome, the president agreed to exempt the big majority (70 percent) of those well-off families he originally had targeted, freezing tax rates for households majority with reported income between $250,000 and $450,000. Even taxpayers above the $450,000 line will pay far less than they would have paid if the tax system had gone off the cliff—because of big savings on all income earned below that line.

This deliverance from destruction should put to rest—forever—the toxic notion of the populist right that the president of the United States harbors the secret goal of destroying the country he’s been (twice) elected to lead. That idea often connects with idiotic claims about President Obama’s concealed Kenyan birth, hidden Muslim affiliation, radical Communist commitments, descent from Malcolm X or Frank Marshall Davis, control by demonic puppet-masters like George Soros, and so forth and so on ad infinitum (or insane-item).