Triangulation and Crazytown

Is the President taking triangulation to a new level?  Bill Clinton attempted to coop Republican “ideas” with issues like school uniforms.  This President appears to triangulate by attacking both political parties and engaging in name calling.  The President agrees to compromise and then, essentially, attempts to draw a line in the sand; looking forward to “meeting Republicans on the field of competition” odd phrasing.  He argues for the compromise and yet seems exceptionally angry over having had to participate in it?  Get over it!   Sen. McConnell provided the spear in the sand; “We’ll deal with this, or we deal with nothing”, what are you going to do?  It’s not as if minority rule is a new idea to the Left.

Democrats are angry, feeling “excluded from participation” according to Mr. Hoyer, even though right hand man, Mr. Van Holling was part of the negotiating team!  Dems are apoplectic over a 35% estate tax deal, estates built with after tax dollars that in some cases has been taxed twice.  One has to imagine the context of the thinking; dead men don’t vote!  Conservatives are not feeling the love either, preferring estate taxes at zero and not liking unemployment extensions.  Republicans should have agreed to three months and given the President the power to extend, at his direction, additional three month periods. In that way the President owns it.        

Rep. Weiner, Democrat NY, accuses the President’s negotiating team of “not being very good at it”.  Mr. Weiner thinks the President caved in with a sense of urgency he finds reprehensible.  Mr. Weiner should cut the President some slack; this is a new experience for the President.  Mr. Weiner, and the rest of us, should be able to tell the difference between moving to the middle and being dragged there kicking and screaming! Fight they cry!  Fight the election, fight the public opinion polls; fight impending minority status, fight the night, howl at the moon.  No, no; no problem; the Democrats will get the election message.    

Congress decided not to address the tax issue pre-election putting the President in this position.  Did Democrats really think they were going to hold the House?  There is little doubt what a Democratic pre-election approach would have been and it would have passed.  A bill passed with an increase in taxes for the ‘rich” and who knows what else would have provided the President with the opportunity to do exactly what he said he wanted to do; extend tax rates for the middle class.  Big issue, why wait?   Do it early and the issue is not open to the “relief for all” argument.  Then it would have been a “relief for the rich” argument, as the middle class would be off the table to some degree; a missed opportunity for class warfare.  Republicans would have had to defend the “rich” and then been faced with an extension in the new Congress just for the “rich”.  It would have allowed Dems to define Republicans in a populist context. 

Nancy is still in charge; she can kill the deal and may well do so.  Screw the election we’ll will jump up and down, stamp our feet and hold our breath until the country turns blue.  The small herd of Dems scrambling over Capitol Hill in search of a microphone to denigrate the deal was stark; some Republicans were prepared to do the same but had trouble finding a media microphone.  The Dems were apparently competing for the opportunity to weaken the President further with, at least, the left and, ironically, potentially strengthening him with the middle.  They managed to expose the President’s underlying anger, frustration, inelegance and inability to either sell the deal or threaten consequences effectively.  Quick, somebody call Rahm! 

Think about it.  At current temperatures the President is going to have a harder time making a deal with Democrats than with Republicans.  

Dems signal once again that the President may be opposed in the 2012 primaries, easy to do at this point.  Signals don’t cost political capital nor do they require courage.  Dem’s, however, might want to look into how the President has dealt with opposition, so far.  Just a reminder that the bus is always warmed up and ready to go.  It has Illinois Tags.   

Opposing the President may sound like a trip to Crazytown; we have some considerable body of evidence that the liberal caucus in Congress has the Map Quest search for Crazytown perpetually near at hand.  When you get to Crazytown the main drag is called Soak The Rich Street eventually blending into Redistribution Lane, with connects to Economic Collapse Avenue. 

Each of this Congress’s major legislative efforts involved higher costs, new taxes, major increases in regulation or a combination of the three; 3.6% federal real estate sales tax in the health care bill.  The passions on the left are brought to a boil by the fact that “rich” people (top 5%) will continue to pay the same 60% share of federal taxes that they do now; top 10% pays 70%.  They are angry!  What are they angry about?  They’re angry about maintaining the status quo and clearly angry that they are unable to bring the hammer down on the “rich”!  “Kill the Golden Cow, kill it now”; Crazytown!  Estate taxes go from zero to 35%; anger, it was supposed to go to 55%. 

Damn, now we can’t buy that office building at 100 Soak The Rich Street.  You know over in Crazytown.         

Crazytown requires that the momentum of the outgoing Congress continue despite election results; easily understandable, sort of.  These folks are used to having their way; they’re used to the President delegating the big deals to them.  Their two year uninhibited legislative run is over and they’re angry. 

In the context of our current economics we must recall what they were angry about during the Congressional session and how the media treated the issues: not enough stimulus; not enough spending, anger over no public option in Health Care, no Card Check, not enough financial regulation, not enough new taxes buried in massive bills, not enough pain and suffering brought upon the heads and shoulders of the corporate world, failing to get Cap & Trade and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Tempest generating, each and every one.  By Democrats!  

If they had won those arguments and generated all of that “change” we’re would we be?  Asking Greece for a loan?