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I posted this as a comment in a diary praising the "fiscal cliff" compromise as evidence of Obama as a chess grand-master. I also read a diary which treated the deal as the worst defeat since Napoleon's Waterloo. I would have left it at that had I found a middle-ground diary that was more level-headed. But not seeing one, I'm posting my comment as a diary. I hope that doesn't offend, but here it is:

I read the news and was satisfied with the deal, but then I come to DKos and see another round of "we're great""we suck"; "we're smarter""we're stupid"; "This is chess, they're playing checkers." Ugh. Anyone who thinks this is victory has no idea what victory looks like. This is not "change the world" legislation - it isn't even "change the economy" legislation.  But, at the same time, anyone who thinks this is capitulation completely fails to understand today's political dynamics. This took hard work on both sides. Keep in mind, Republican leadership had to sell this to theirs just as hard as Democratic leadership had to sell this to ours.

So how about we just accept it for what it is (assuming the House goes along); a small but significant undoing of the Bush tax cuts and an extension of the unemployment benefit. Plus, the automatic spending cuts - which would have significantly impacted Medicare - were averted. That's neither terrible nor great. It's neither something to crow about nor something to lament. And two months from now we get more drama which is great for cable news, but not so good for Americans.

There is a bright side, which is that Republican leadership actually negotiated, which may indicate they understand how significantly they lost this past election. It may portend a little bit more willingness to bend than we've seen the past four years. We can only hope.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We will always have purists... (15+ / 0-)

    ...who will never be satisfied.  And this goes for the whole world.  

    Preparing for the Mayan doomsday prophecy by hastily trying to get in the good graces of snake-bird god Q’uq’umatz

    by dov12348 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:35:42 AM PST

  •  I'll give it an incomplete. (15+ / 0-)

    Full grade comes in 60 days.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:43:54 AM PST

  •  The (10+ / 0-)

    complaint of those who hate the deal is that we have given up all of our leverage for that next fight in two months. This deal, in and of itself, isn't bad - until you look at the broader context of the fight still to come. In military verbage - today is just one battle in a longer war. The question is - Have we won a single skirmish but taken such significant casualties that we are unable to fight the next battle? We'll find out in a couple of months.

    •  I agree with you and "Bush Bites" (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, pointman, guyeda, grover, grrr

      This is just the first battle and it's unfortunate that the next one comes so soon. But, the alternative was to allow all the tax cuts expire - which wouldn't have offended me - while also letting the unemployment benefits expire and the automatic cuts occur - which would have hurt many people. This is better for the country than doing nothing.

      •  Tony (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        guyeda, grrr, tonymil

        I certainly agree that doing nothing - as some here proposed - would have been really bad. Going over the cliff all the way was a bad solution in my opinion.

        Now we need to start pressuring Democrats in the upcoming Senate to defend Social Security and the rest of the safety net in the debt ceiling chaos that is certain to come.

        That is where our leverage is going forward, in the Senate.
        It's certainly not in the house - newsflash they're crazy - and it isn't really with the President, he's shown that he's looking for a deal.  

  •  those hands ain't gonna wring themselves (14+ / 0-)

    lmao -- was just thinking that this might be a fine week to unplug from dk for a few days.

    someone will surely deem your moderation offensive and indicative of your being less than a good democrat because it's evident that obama (is awesome / sold us up the river).

    i appreciate it, though.

    "i hear you're mad about brubeck ... i like your eyes. i like him too." -donald fagen

    by homo neurotic on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:48:18 AM PST

  •  And it will be true that we are governed by (8+ / 0-)

    the president we have, not the president we would like. Obama does have this need for consensus and approval, and it will always limit how much he can take from a Republican caucus that despises him and the concept of democracy. However on balance we I think we did about 60-40 on the deal right now. How it will look in 2 months is hard to say-- if he manages to stay disciplined we could end up with 70-30 on the debt ceiling, or fall back to 50-50.Our best move right now is to keep the pressure on our reps and Senators to not fold, and see if we can pressure republicans in swing districts( such as they are). Remember now we only need 15 or so defections to win the day

    Necessity is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.-- Wm.Pitt the Younger

    by JeffSCinNY on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:50:31 AM PST

    •  The President's leadership is important, okay. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover

      Yes. But.
      The fact is we're talking about legislation. It's the product of the legislative branch.
      A branch of government which is currently handicapped by decades of idleness and corruption, and which currently has a phalanx of totally incompetent idiots controlling one body of Congress.

      People talk about the President as if he's not waving his wand the right way.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:46:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey it took the Republicans 30 or 40 years (4+ / 0-)

    to pull the country this far right, I think the majority of the country is ready to start moving left again.

    But If we try to do it to fast we might scare some of the new supporters off,  we need to keep pushing left but not all at once like some people want to do.

    •  We're Not Debating Moving Left, We're Debating (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal

      the speed of continuing to move right.

      Other than on one or two cultural issues which don't affect big money.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:07:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you want to talk grand scheme (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence, JL

        then yes, we have so much work to do. I think that Americans are moving left again on fiscal issues, but our government and institutions are lagging. But we have to expect that. The right wing has over the past decades flooded government/media/corporations with right wing thinking. It will take time to undo that. The Supreme Court is a perfect example of an institution that now sits way outside the mainstream. But we at least have the next four years - and hopefully the next 12 - to slowly fix that.

  •  The Republicans negotiated (0+ / 0-)

    Let's see, we got less revenue than Boehner proposed and what we got was a 60-day extension until they hold us for ransom again.  And we have to pay for that extension by cutting something else.

    More like we took our starting position, Boehner's starting position, went to the right of where Boehner started, so they again got more than they asked for, we got almost nothing.  Ok, the wind power credit extension is important.  We raised taxes on everyone and still capped the payroll tax at 100k or so.

    And I guess Romney has to pay 20% because the carried interest loophole got a bit smaller - but it's still roughly half the tax rate he should pay (20 vs. 39.6).

    -F

    Democrats *do* have a plan for Social Security - it's called Social Security. -- Ed Schultz

    by FredFred on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:58:34 AM PST

    •  The Boehner $800 billion revenue meme is phony (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pistolSO

      His "plan" was supposedly all going to be achieved by capping deductions. Tax rates would not have gone up at all. I don't think he ever specified how capping deductions would achieve that much in income. In any event, Republicans in the House and Senate never went along with it. It was just a lot of wind from Boehner. Obama has negotiated an extra $600 billion that hopefully will get Republican support in the House. So how is getting a real deal compared to a deal that was never achievable a "loss"?

    •  Boehner's $800 billion in new revenue (0+ / 0-)

      was coupled with a raise in the Medicare age, chained CPI for Social Security, and other cuts to Medicaid. This is $600 billion in new revenue without a promise of a dime from entitlements.

      "The only thing I would trust Dick Cheney on is if I had a dead hooker in my hotel room." --Jon Stewart

      by DemBrock on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:37:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A divorce attorney told me once that the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    perfect settlement is one where neither side felt they got what they wanted.

    Basically, each side has to be willing to give up something.  

    And, looking at the give and take, I feel like the GOP gave on much more than Obama giving on just the tax rate levels.....

  •  I remind everyone that PBO is the President of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kalmoth, sideboth

    all Americans and as such, had to negotiate a deal which helped all Americans and did not have the luxury of crafting a deal which helped only the Democratic Party.

    I know there are many Americans (both Democrats & Republicans) who were faced with the possibility of losing their unemployment benefits. They are undoubtedly living from one unemployment check to the next and did not have the luxury of waiting for the President to rack up points for his party. Whether or not they voted for him in November, I hope these people appreciate that the President was acting in the interests of all Americans.

    Of course, it remains to be seen whether the House will vote in the interest of the entire country or in the interests of their narrow-minded interests & ideology.

  •  We have leverage. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hammerhand, kalmoth, sideboth, 6412093

    They took the unemployed as hostages.

    I've worked most of my career in negotiations (I wonder how many else here have, despite the fact that so many are opining on the President's,  Biden's, Reid's, etc lack of skill at same).

    It's exquisitely hard to work a reasonable deal when one side refuses to deal in good faith. But if you have a legitimate deadline, then you have to keep that in mind. That doesn't mean you give away the farm. But there was a legimate deadline. Citizens who receive long-term unemployment benefits have little (if any) float.

    The GOP doesn't care about these people. It would prefer to cut them off anyhow. It took them hostage.

    And then there were the civil servants who rely on a federal paycheck,  the farm bill expiring, and other things happening today. I'm not talking about taxes that increase with Jan 15 paychecks; but things that start happening today.

    All I know is that I've read a lot of comments by a lot of sudden negotiations "experts" here. And most of them never mention these issues, and especially the unemployed.

    I hate this process as much as anyone. But I worked my butt off in my district and donated more really than we could afford to get rid of our loathsome GOP representative and help others get rid of theirs.

    I'm not naive. I'm not a sunny optimist. I've just sat at that sort of table many times. It's tiresome tedious work fighting over every tiny detail.

    Like you, I take the middle ground. I'd love for the deal to have been better. But we got much of what we wanted.

    And our leadership didn't forget that people depend on their government checks to feed their familes.

    © grover


    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

    by grover on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:14:05 AM PST

  •  Comment from Krugman's NYT column (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal

    This commenter got it right, IMO. He stated it more elegantly than I ever could.

    I was in the politics of Soviet-American relations for 40 years, have been in the archives of some 100 officials, and have been taught the US presidency for every semester for a dozen years. I know something about political negotiations.

    i often like the comments of Skeptonomist habilisl, but he just misses the point here. Obama had total control of the $250,000 . It would have expired. Then the Republicans on Jan 1 or 2 have had to vote for reduction on the others. They would not have dared to voted against the unemployment too. Robert Reich kept making the point. Republicans would have been delighted to vote only on the tax cuts.

    Now Obama has given up all his leverag, and has deliberately set up another fake crisis for the debt limit that he insisted would have. The public will be made still more cynical. Obama is going to say that the cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits were necessary to get the carried interest tax that he could have abolished in 2009.

    For my current book on the "Genteel Anarchism" of the 1990-2020 transforming cycle, I have spent all this semester break looking at Reagan's economic program. There is now no doubt of what I suspected: Obama is clearly marginally to the right of Reagan on economic policy--and, of course, far, far to the right on foreign policy and terrorism.

    Obama is not caving in or negotiating. He is deliberately creating the theater to reach the goal he wants. Theater is the key part of politics.
    [Emphsis mine]

    http://otherwise-occupied.tumblr.com/ @OOccupied

    by jvantin1 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 11:17:46 AM PST

  •  Unfortunately it is the (0+ / 0-)

    Pressure applied that forces our leaders to the middle and keeps us in the middle.  Stop fighting for and fiercely advocating for what you believe in and see where that gets you in this country at this time.  While this is being negotiated out, that is when screaming and hollering and pounding the table is most important.  It is uncomfortable, but to not do it is to find yourself living comfortless every day.

  •  You did a good job, but... (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe events have overtaken us all.  It looks like nihilism will win--a group of folks, led by Cantor, who understand that the President likes the country better than he and his group do, and if this is a weakness, I guess I don't mind.

    I like the country too, and I am angry at all the voters who sent these reactionaries to visit their "kill the country" upon us.  

    The majority of us deserve better, and voted better.  It is sad that this rump group, these nothings, can destroy Democracy.  We had an election.  The people spoke.  But without compromise, our system was never going to work.

  •  I agree with you more than I do with (0+ / 0-)

    Any other comments I've seen anywhere.

    I think this all represents a great moment for GOP to stop obstructing and start re building, They needed to do it after Bush and they just never did, but the will now.

    I think it is, literally, all good for our future..

    Ride for the High Country

    by The Ex Cowboy on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:23:35 AM PST

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