Skip to main content

I just finished watching the President's press conference (thank you, CSPAN online), and all I can say is, "well said." It was strong, and regardless of what some may say, the blame was properly placed on the Senate Republicans, who were accurately described as hostage-takers.

I know that many will focus on the President's rebuke of Democratic purists, which was strong but in fact deserved (we're not all that tolerant of purity trolls here on DKos, are we?), but here's what I heard: he very clearly explained exactly why he did what he did, and why he needed to do so now. The message was straightforward: Senate Republicans would sacrifice anything for tax cuts for the wealthy (their "holy grail"), but he was not willing to let needy Americans be their sacrifice.

My favorite part was when he responded to Chuck Todd's question about rewarding Republican obstructionism. The President said,

"I've said before that I felt that the middle-class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high-end tax cuts. I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostagetakers unless the hostage gets harmed. Then, people will question the wisdom of that strategy. In this case, the hostage was the American people, and I was not willing to see them get harmed. Again, this is not an abstract political fight."

That's where we were before yesterday: millions of unemployed Americans and those in the lower and middle classes who are employed but need tax relief and economic stimulus being held hostage like customers in a bank robbery by all Senate Republicans and a few disgraceful Democrats and "independents." (Of course, the failure of Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership to change the filibuster rules over the last few years was akin to putting a big sign on the bank saying "Rob us.") Those hostages needed to be brought to safety first, even if it meant giving the robbers a helicopter ride off the roof. There would be plenty of time to scramble the fighters and bring down the criminals after the hostages were rescued.

Consider as well the responses to hijackings. Before 9/11, the doctrine was clear: cooperate with the hijackers until the passengers could be gotten off the plane, then figure out the rest. The 9/11 model only changes that to the extent that the hijackers don't plan on living through the day, and that the passengers are willing to sacrifice themselves. Otherwise, the doctrine of cooperate, rescue and then capture remains the best approach.

So too here: if the President had failed to negotiate with the robbers in the Senate, they would have begun starving the hostages, who are not in a position to sacrifice themselves to the cause of Republican obstructionism. Instead, by pushing through this compromise, the President has (hopefully) enabled the unemployed and underemployed Americans to find their way to relatively safety. Now, it's only a battle for political, not actual, survival, with only elections rather than meals and homes at stake in the near term.

I hate what the President had to do, but I am damned proud of him that he did it. Now let's go get the criminals. {ProfJonathan}

UPDATE: Thank you all for your reasoned discussion, both agreeing and disagreeing, and for the rec list. {ProfJonathan}

Originally posted to JonathanEzor on Tue Dec 07, 2010 at 12:33 PM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences