Thursday, July 07, 2011

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies? Frum on Obama and Other Thoughts.

Did you ever expect to live in an era when a wingnut pundit blames the Democratic president for being too much of a wuss to offer the Republicans a good fight?

Well, you are living in that very era. David Frum (who worked in the George Bush administration and who also happens to be the husband of the very anti-feminist Danielle Crittenden) bemoans Obama's weakness:
The debt ceiling negotiations have amounted to a succession of retreats and concessions by President Obama.
At this point, the president confronts two possible outcomes in the coming weeks:
Outcome 1: The president and congressional Republicans reach agreement on a budget package weighted overwhelmingly in favor of the GOP. The president opened negotiations by offering $3 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases. His current offer tilts even further to the GOP: $6 of spending cuts to $1 of tax increases.
Better still (from a Republican point of view), the spending cuts come from programs Republicans dislike, like Medicaid, rather than programs they like, like the farm budget. The tax increases meanwhile are designed to be as acceptable as possible to the GOP: no increases in tax rates, but instead trimming some of the less defensible deductions in the tax code.
Outcome 1 represents a very big win for Republicans over the future shape of the federal government, and a correspondingly big defeat for the president.
Outcome 1 also represents the president's best-case scenario.


Through it all, Obama has played nice, again and again entreating his Republican opponents to emulate his example and play nice too. It's not what Lyndon Johnson would have done. It's not what Franklin Roosevelt would have done. I doubt it's what Hillary Clinton would have done.
Which brings me back to my starting question: Why don't the Democrats rebel? Presumably, they elected Obama to stand up for their shared principles. But he's not standing up. He's rolling over. Or being rolled.

Mmm. Things have gotten even weirder if the rumors are to be believed: This fire sale the administration has started, to get rid of what passes for the modern United States, appears to include bargain basement offers cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Hurry while the offers last! Everything must go because the country is being liquidated.

Or: With friends like these, who needs enemies?