Opinion Brief

Obama's 'surrender' on Bush tax cuts

David Axelrod says the White House will agree to a temporary continuation of all the steep Bush-era tax cuts. Has it given in too easily?

The White House seems to have blinked first in the battle over the Bush-era tax cuts, signaling it may accept a temporary extension of breaks for all Americans. Until today, the president had stood firm against an extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. But senior adviser David Axelrod tells The Huffington Post that the White House may accede to GOP demands for across-the-board cuts, at least for a temporary period. He later told the National Journal that nothing had changed in the White House's approach, and that "we're willing to discuss how we move forward." But for many, the story was clear — Obama had "surrendered." Would it be a good move for Democrats to concede on the question of tax cuts for the rich?

Democrats folded a good hand: Have the Democrats forgotten they still wield a majority in both chambers until January? asks Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. Surely the "obvious call" would have been to "bring the White House's compromise to the floor and dare Republicans to kill the tax cuts." The power was in the Democrats' hands here, but they simply gave it away.
"Axelrod signals surrender on tax policy"

Obama knows Americans don't want a tax hike: Obama has simply accepted "the new political reality," says Dan Spencer at Red State. Tens of thousands of voters made their feelings known about the risk of "the largest tax increase in American history," and for once, Obama has listened. This is a "huge victory" for the GOP and the Tea Party.
"Obama caves on tax increases"

The GOP will smell blood in the water now: "There's no sugar-coating this," says Andrew Leonard at Salon. This is a "humiliating defeat" for the Democrats, and a "clear, overwhelming victory" for the Republicans. What's more, it sets a "chilling" precedent. If the GOP can so easily win this fight, even "while operating as the minority party in both the House and Senate," why would they bother compromising over anything else?
"Obama's tax cut surrender"

Obama is simply pursuing his goals: Liberals may be "throwing a fit" about this, says Dan Amira at New York, but Obama's key aim in this fight has always been to protect the middle class. Everyone knows the president prefers "pragmatic compromise to principled political fights that may or may not end successfully for him," and this concession fulfils his primary goal. "His supporters should probably start getting used to this sort of thing."
"Obama caved on the Bush tax cuts last week, not yesterday"

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