Ace’s co-blogger DrewM had the best take on this afternoon’s presser turned mini-meltdown: “Man, if Obama is Spock, he’s in the middle of the Pon Farr.” Two clips for you, the first of him snottily reprising Bob Menendez’s terrorist analogy by comparing Republicans to “hostage-takers” on taxes — and then using that to justify his decision to negotiate with them(!). Note to The One: Probably not a good idea for America’s top law enforcement officer and military commander-in-chief to broadcast the fact that he’ll come to the table only if you play rough enough with him.
The second clip’s the one to watch, though. He put his presidency on the line to grant the left its eternal wish of universal health care, and they’ve rewarded him ever since by … shrieking endlessly about the public option. His bitter annoyance at their perceived ingratitude is palpable, and with good reason: As Philip Klein notes, tax hikes come and tax hikes go but new welfare state entitlements are forever.
Liberals are enraged at Obama for caving into Republicans on the tax rates, but as a conservative, if I had to choose either one, I would have much preferred letting the tax rates expire to creating the massive new health care entitlement. Over the decades, tax rates have gone up and down, but politicians — not even Ronald Reagan — have made a dent in entitlement spending. National health care has long been a dream of liberals, and while they didn’t get all the way with this one piece of legislation, it does put us on the road to becoming a European-style welfare state. Its existence also makes it impossible to reform entitlements on market-friendly terms, given that health care is the key factor that’s driving up the cost of government.
People have spoke of Obama as the liberal Reagan. Well, if Reagan pursued a strategy of “starving the beast” to force spending cuts down the road, maybe Obama’s strategy is “feeding the beast,” knowing that if lawmakers don’t curb the growth in entitlements, then tax rates will go back up anyway.
I hope The One savored every second of finally getting to unload on them here because he did himself no favors in quelling the revolt among his base. The phone lines are reportedly melting down at the White House from liberals calling in to complain about the deal and even such stalwart allies as top union crony Richard Trumka are issuing angry statements vowing to oppose it. More than a dozen House Democrats have already signed a letter stating that they’ll vote no, in fact, raising the question of whether the votes are there to push the deal through. Presumably they are in the House: Paul Ryan says he’s happy enough with it and Blue Dogs (especially ones who were swept away last month) should enjoy flipping Pelosi and progressives the bird by voting yes. Are there 18 Democrats willing to vote for cloture in the Senate, though? Manchin, Nelson, Lieberman, Feingold, and Webb voted with the GOP on the show votes this past weekend, so presumably they’re in; McCaskill, Tester, Lincoln, Pryor, and Mark Warner are all probably easy pick-ups too. We need eight more Democrats on top of that to make it happen. Maybe lame ducks Dodd and Dorgan? Conrad and Durbin too?
Silver lining here for The One: By alienating both righties and lefties, he’s finally fulfilled the promise of post-partisanship from Campaign 2008. Great work, champ! Exit question: Aren’t you glad this deal wasn’t struck before Election Day? Can you imagine how amazingly the left would have demagogued it as an all-purpose explanation for the GOP landslide in the House? What a comforting lie that would have been, in lieu of the unpleasant truth. Click the images to watch.
Update: An ominous note: Harry Reid says the deal needs more work.
Update: I wonder if this is true or just
Madam Speaker’s Minority Leader Pelosi’s way of distancing herself from the deal as the left freaks out:
“We have some unease,” Pelosi says of Obama plan & admits to being in the dark: “we didn’t realize…agreement was going to be announced.”
Why would The One push it out there before giving Nancy a heads up?