29 November 2011


Three news items converge.

First, US News & World Report reports that the President has set a new record. One year out from the general election, his job approval rating plummeted below that of Jimmy Carter’s. Carter, described by the article as “considered among the 20th century's worst presidents,” was at 51 per cent at this point, and no President in the past 60 plus years has been at lower than that one year out—until now. The President didn’t just squeak by Carter, either. He blasted him out of the way as he plunged to a job approval rating of 43 per cent.

So, what’s a guy to do?

Well, his party is rushing to help by proposing to cut taxes, but only if they can raise them. It seems that the Senate will propose to enlarge and extend the payroll tax cut first passed at the President’s request last year. However, they insist that before they cut taxes, they must first be allowed to raise income taxes on a few people by way of a tax surcharge. Sort of a John Kerry “I was against it before I was for it” moment. The target? Milionaires and billionaires, of course.

And they know that that is a loser, even with some of their own caucus. And that grand bluffmaster, Harry Reid already concedes that he will probably have to drop the surtax to get passage. Harry, bubba, we really gotta review that negotiation tactics class.

Obama is desperate for a win on an issue that his left wing base rabidly wants. So we are condemned to hear more whining from Reid, Pelosi, and Obama.

And no one in the media is calling the President on this. According to Politico ”The payroll tax holiday extension has been a top priority for Obama, who has traveled the country in recent days to try to drum up public support for it. In Manchester, N.H., last week, he hit Republicans for opposing tax increases in general but supporting a payroll tax cut extension.” Really? Did he mention that he is in favor of cutting taxes so long as he can raise them? That line was probably cut from the speech before it went to the teleprompter.

The bottom line is this: the President is willing to work with the Congress, just so long as he gets exactly what he wants. He gets to claim a victory on cutting taxes for the middle class and the Republicans get to betray the people who elected them. Just like wrestling with a pig--everybody gets muddy and the pig loves it.

Here's an idea: If the payroll tax cut is really a top priority, and if the President wants compromise, why not just offer the tax cut?

As we used to say in the old Corps, "Nevah hatchee." If he did that, then his base will claim that he has abandoned their ardent desire for a class war.

And expect it to continue. A man who knows how to be a candidate, but not how to be President, will hit the road again tomorrow. Obama 2008 will just merge into Obama 2012 and continue the medicine show, complete with snake oil salesman-in-chief.

According to Jay Carney, the Press Secretary, in today's briefing the American people expect the President to be constantly on the road visiting them. When asked why only battleground states were being targeted, and whether or not these are really campaign stops being financed by the American people, Carney suggested that the President has a duty to get out of the office and visit the people. Any help to the campaign is just a secondary blessing, I suppose.

I would suggest that what they really need is someone who leads. Heaven knows, I’m no fan of LBJ, but before the debt limit debacle last summer, he would have had the Speaker and Harry Reid in for drinks, threats, and a little wood shedding! For both of them! For all of his ills, he knew how to be President.

But the current White House is oblivious. So, get your popcorn, settle back in your seats, and watch the next round in this farce.

No comments: