Tyranny of the Minority

Why Would Obama Make a Deal with 42% of the Country?

The fact that under President Obama's deal with the GOP, the top 2% of incomes will continue to receive a tax cut, while the bottom incomes will see their taxes raised,1 makes me sick. It's immoral.

There is plenty of commentary on how the particulars of the deal are a complete capitulation to the Republicans, so I won't repeat that here. Rather, I will say that the mere fact that Obama even tried bargaining with representatives of 42% of the country2 shows how politically incompetent this administration is.

Yes, I'm aware that 40% representation in the Senate is all that is needed to kill anything. And that another 3 to 5% of Senate DINO's make passing progressive legislation hard. But the administration's strategy of negotiating across party lines with the minority is still back-stabbing. Is there any other interpretation of the fact that the House wasn't included in the negotiations? Even if you concede that Mitch McConnell controls the Senate, which Obama most certainly has done, any deal that has a real chance of passing in the lame duck has to include Nancy Pelosi. Why was she shut out?

The only thing that makes any sense is that Obama wanted the particulars of the deal he got. Amazingly, he has a desperate need to agree with Republicans. Remember the no Red States, no Blue States bit from 2004? Obama does - it launched his career. But there is a problem in the real world of 2010 outside of the Democratic convention hall. The GOP insists that there are Red States and that they will never agree with Blue States. That leaves Obama a choice: either change his deeply held beliefs about American politics, or say there are no Blue States. Like most people, his unfounded beliefs won, and the Democratic base lost.

UPDATE: Another factor in Obama's incompetency is his supreme confidence in his abilities, especially creating conciliation between rivals. But that requires the conciliator to be separate from either side. I'm sure Obama could artfully explain two opposing views on a constitutional law question and remain neutral while directing his students as they argued it out. And I'd bet Obama really thought that if he could just sit down across the table with the more difficult side, he could convince them to come to an acceptable agreement.

But that's not the way it works. The President is not above the fray, removed from all positions in any debate. In fact, he is the fulcrum opposing views pivot around. Even triangulation requires the middle point to calculate exactly where the other two points are. So you can't do it if one point isn't involved in the process.

Unfortunately, a conciliatory political philosophy is a character flaw in negotiations. Obama will continue to get rolled if it is left up to him. The House is starting to push back, but it faces an extremely uphill battle right now. Narratives freeze almost instantly today. Good luck, Nancy. If she can pull something off, she will go down as one of the most successful House Speakers of all time. Per session (or per pound), easily the most successful.

1 The $400 per person Making Work Pay tax credit will not be renewed (you remember you got $400 from the government this year and last, right?), while the 2% reduction in payroll tax will not make up for that until single income is above $20,000 or family income is above $40,000. Thus, their taxes will go up.

2 179 House GOP members make up 41.2% of the chamber. There are 42 Republican Senators. Interestingly, if you try to account for malapportionment, you also get 42% of the American people represented by Republicans in the Senate. I have actually read a book on malapportionment in the U.S. Senate, "Sizing Up the Senate" by Frances E. Lee and Bruce Ian Oppenheimer. I got it in the cheap bin. Really good stuff. Basic chart here.


Michael Stephen Levinson said...

Jay Rosen's post, "Why I am Not a Journalist: A True Story" is a pack of lies.
Whenever anyone says, "to be honest with you," that implies they might not be, but this time they are telling the truth.
Rosen spent a year at Temple U. Then he transferred to Buffalo State College.
With domestic intelligence strings pulled, he transferred to SUNYAB. With more strings pulled, he ambled in the door of The Spectrum, met with Brett Kline, the editor, and immediately became a Features Editor Writer.
A few months later he was Managing Editor. With only two candidates for Editor-in-Chief, the board members reluctantly chose him editor.
Before Rosen arrived Kline was told, by an adminis traitor they wanted Rosen to be part of the paper. Kline's cooperation as editor-in-chief would get Kline guaranteed acceptance into the grad school of his choice.
Kline went along and that’s how Rosen became a journalist.
I was an eye-witness.
A few weeks after Rosen arrived, I asked him, "What are you majoring in?" He answered "Architecture."
The FBI told him that he, Rosen, would be an architect, in charge of what people would see and hear. His transcript shows 64 hours of independent study. He was a full time editor ten days after he walked in the door.
His independent study credits were from one grad student, identified later as an FBI connected grad student.
Rosen used The Spectrum to attack people he didn't like. He tried to destroy peoples lives. He was hated by the student body who hated his paper.
On his claim to have spent a summer at the Courier before becoming an editor at The Spectrum is a lie. He was at The Spectrum every day, including summer, until two years later, when he "graduated."
He went to The Courier-Express after graduating from SUNYAB in spite of a rule that did not allow 32 hours of independent study from a grad student to anyone, especially 2 years in a row! 12 hours of independent study was the max, one year only!
Rosen writes,
“The editor of the Courier-Express was Douglas Turner, a volatile man with a booming voice who took an initial liking to me because I could write what was called a “feature lede.” My stories brightened up the prose of the paper. I did well as a replacement reporter, with more than ten front page stories. So well that Turner wanted me to stay on, quit school, and keep working for the Courier-Express after my summer turn was over.”
Total lie. He did not have any ten front page stories. The few pieces that carried his name were short police blotter stuff in the back .
Douglas Smith a columnist told me, the editors had trouble editing Rosen's reporting because he bristled at every re-write. He was always making himself the subject.
The paper had an ad for a foreign correspondent, respond to Box X at The Buffalo Courier-Express.
Rosen assumed the ad was from some other paper. He applied (this is what Doug Smith told me,) and claimed his employment at the Courier was for more than a year. Rosen also inflated his duties and his salary.
When the editors read his application, packed with lies, they called him into the office and fired him on the spot, and had the paper's security guard escort him out of the building.
Rosen talks about Courier-Express publisher owner Douglas Turner. When The Buffalo News purchased The Courier-Express Turner's golden parachute was a life position as The Buffalo News' Washington correspondent. Turner must be at least 80 years old today.
Rosen went down to NYC, FBI pulled strings, and he was admitted to NYU. His SUNYAB transcript with 64 hours of "independent study" and The Spectrum newspapers did not get him admitted. FBI did.
Rosen is an empty shell, an FBI shill. The past 25 years Rosen has been stuffing the First Amendment newsroom avenues with grad students whose close families are employed by the Pentagon, CIA, and FBI.
He’s deteriorating. his late night videos he has been producing show him half drunk, showing off his scotch over crushed ice.

Norwegian Shooter said...

Okay ... thanks Michael. Good luck on your Presidential run in 2012. Is that your phone number on your website banner? Did you know if you add the digits together you get 51? And 5 + 1 = 6? And 666 is the number of the beast! I'd change your number right away.