RSS
Did Obama 'sucker' the GOP?
Democrats are furious over President Obama's tax deal with Congressional Republicans, and the GOP is thrilled. Do they both have it backwards?
 
The cost of extending the Bush tax cuts represents "only about 37 percent" of the agreement's total tally.
The cost of extending the Bush tax cuts represents "only about 37 percent" of the agreement's total tally.
Getty

Many Democrats are in open revolt over President Obama's tax-cut deal with Republicans, which extends the Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy and makes the estate tax more favorable to multi-millionaires. But in monetary terms, say some, Obama actually got more out of the deal than the GOP. Is it possible that while Republicans pop the champagne and Democrats gnash their teeth, Obama actually outmaneuvered the GOP? (Watch Obama's announcement)

Obama played the GOP like a fiddle: The GOP "won again on tactics," says Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic. But in strategic terms, Obama just made a "sucker" of GOP leaders. The deal's "big new stimulus" component "will almost certainly" lower unemployment by 2012. By cutting a deal with "the dreaded commie Muslim alien," the GOP has legitimized Obama and taken part-ownership of the deficit. All this will help Obama win re-election.
"Obama: President; McConnell: Sucker"

Obama's the one who got rolled: Some victory! The Left bemoans that the president folded on tax breaks for millionaires, while the Right now thinks he's a "pushover" as well as a socialist, says John Avlon in The Daily Beast. If both sides can agree on one thing, it's that "this president is a lousy poker player." Obama's bridge-building attempts are "honorable," but when you're playing against "remorseless" political gamblers, you're "liable to get rolled." And Obama was.
"Obama gets rolled"

The game is still open: The deal worked because both sides think they won, says Ezra Klein in The Washington Post. The GOP is "treating it as a victory," because they got what they "really, really want" — tax cuts for the very wealthy — and liberals got more stimulus than expected, even if many feel "utterly betrayed" by Obama. And key to the deal is that both Obama and the GOP think they have the upper hand when the Bush tax cuts are debated again in 2012.
"How the White House cut its deal and lost its base"

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week