First, seemingly out of nowhere, President Obama announced he and the GOP leadership had worked out a compromise over how to solve the expiring Bush Tax Cuts issue. This compromise included extending the Tax levels established by President Bush for two years, lowering the payroll tax for virtually all Americans, and extend unemployment benefits. This compromise came as a shock to Conservatives and Liberals alike in both how sudden it came about and what was included in the deal. How each side saw the deal however is much different.
Liberals, not shockingly, were shocked and down right angry that this deal had been struck without their participation. They believed (and still do) that this "compromise" was more like capitulation. In other words, they believe this deal gave too much to Republicans than was necessary. Liberals were of the belief that if they couldn't get middle class tax cuts passed and have the upper class tax cuts expire, they should just let all the tax cuts expire at the end of the year. Why? Because they believed that if they let all the tax cuts expire, they could blame the Republicans for not "doing the right thing" and the American people would blame the GOP for their suddenly higher taxes....Does that really make sense to any sane person?
Democrats, who the vast majority of Americans associate with higher taxes, believed that somehow their letting the tax cuts all expire and trying to blame it on the GOP would actually get them points with the American people...With beliefs like these it's no real wonder why the Democratic Party has had such a rough time the last 2 years.
Conservatives on the hand were fairly cautious of this compromise because this bill was not "paid for", meaning there were no corresponding cuts elsewhere to pay for at least some of this compromise. Nevertheless, they largely supported this move by the President they have loved to hate for the last two years and likely enjoyed seeing how angry Liberals were at the President for the next two weeks.
And boy were they mad..Geez. I will freely admit that when it comes to which major cable news channel I watch (FOX or MSNBC), I normally watch MSNBC, but these last few weeks have really bothered me. Now, it would be fairly understandable for the political commentators on MSNBC to be furious over this compromise since none of them hide their Liberal views, but the more non-political regular news broadcast during the daytime was so politically charged. All they could talk about was how much Obama had sold out the left wing of his party for the last two years and how he is always 'scolding' them about how ungrateful they are. They even suggested that there could be a Democratic primary challenge to Obama in 2012! It was so much anger and whining, I actually turned the TV over to FoxNews to get my regular news broadcast (though I still avoid the commentary shows)...
More or less, if you only watched MSNBC for the last two weeks, you would think the President had just committed some high crime in the Liberal world and had become a member of the GOP (a point hit hard by Keith Olbermann). Of course, this whole compromise was terribly overblown. While Liberals preached out evil this bill was and how they would never let it get out of the House of Representatives (which Liberals have much more power than in the Senate), when the time came for the vote, most caved and voted for the compromise. There was a fair amount of defection from both parties when it came to the House vote, but the Senate's vote of 81 to 19 was so decisive it made the vote in the House almost a formality. Why did the Liberal part of the Democratic party much such a fuss and then fold like a house of cards? I think Charles Krauthammer summed it up best in his recent article of Obama's impressive post-Midterm comeback: