This tax cuts deal just doesn’t make sense for Obama

I think the President may have made one more grave miscalculation. The left grumbled about Clinton’s triangulation, and sometimes broke with him (remember, the 1997 balanced budget agreement had about 70 nay votes in the House, most of which were Democrats). But they largely tolerated him, because they thought that he was the only thing standing between the programs that they held most sacred and the Republican Visigoths at the gate. Remember, in 1995, Clinton’s 1992 win looked very much like a fluke brought about by the economy and the Ross Perot win, and the conservative Republican wins of 1980-88 and 1994 looked more like the natural trajectory of the country.

I don’t think that’s the case today. The left is still feeling its oats, and believes that there is still an emerging Democratic majority, and a liberal one at that. I don’t think it has the same tolerance for triangulation that it did in 1996. Indeed, that tolerance had largely run out by 2000, when Ralph Nader forced Al Gore leftward and still cost him the election…

Even if he avoids a primary challenge, he will go into the 2012 elections with a much weaker hand. Remember, President Bush didn’t fall below 40 percent until his base began to desert him over immigration reform. This agreement could have a similar effect for Obama. He badly needs to recreate the 2008 electorate in order to have any chance of winning, and that is predicated upon an unenthusiastic GOP base and an amped-up Democratic base. This deal makes both much less likely. It makes no sense for Obama.

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