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The myth of Obama's "blunders" and "weakness"

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With the details of the pending debt deal now emerging (and for a very good explanation of the key terms, see this post by former Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein), a consensus is solidifying that (1) this is a virtually full-scale victory for the GOP and defeat for the President (who all along insisted on a "balanced" approach that included tax increases), but  (2) the President, as usual, was too weak in standing up to right-wing intransigence -- or simply had no options given their willingness to allow default -- and was thus forced into this deal against his will.  This depiction of Obama as occupying a largely powerless, toothless office incapable of standing up to Congress -- or, at best, that the bad outcome happened because he's just a weak negotiator who "blundered" -- is the one that is invariably trotted out to explain away most of the bad things he does.

It appears to be true that the President wanted tax revenues to be part of this deal.  But it is absolutely false that he did not want these brutal budget cuts and was simply forced -- either by his own strategic "blunders" or the "weakness" of his office -- into accepting them. The evidence is overwhelming that Obama has long wanted exactly what he got: these severe domestic budget cuts and even ones well beyond these, including Social Security and Medicare, which he is likely to get with the Super-Committee created by this bill (as Robert Reich described the bill:  "No tax increases on rich yet almost certain cuts in Med[icare] and Social Security . . . .

Read the rest of this article at Salon.

 

For the past 10 years, I was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases, and corporate and securities fraud matters. I am the author of the New York Times Best-Selling book, How Would A Patriot (more...)
 

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'In other words, he's willing -- eager -- to impos... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 2:40:03 PM
This is EXACTLY what Obama was shooting for all al... by James Hadstate on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 3:07:17 PM
entirely on the grounds as to how much corporate c... by Michael Shaw on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:58:53 PM
Obama did not lie to get into office. He was usher... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 8:38:47 PM
Corporate money chose Obama and McCain as they cho... by Michael Shaw on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 10:20:01 AM
...that was right after he voted to continue FISA... by Jill Herendeen on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 10:40:07 AM
That for years I have been saying that no matter w... by Michael Morris on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 6:57:41 AM
I would suggest that most crack whores would do so... by Jill Herendeen on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 10:38:06 AM
Is that none of us are surprised at all.  ... by Faith Carr on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 4:51:33 PM
It has been made clear by many experts at many sit... by David Ruhlen on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:05:39 PM
I hope the liberals, progressives and socially-inc... by Tom Lewicki on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:18:51 PM
I wrote a post recently on Kevin Phillips' Wealth... by David Ruhlen on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:39:50 PM
on Truthout provides a fantastic supplement to Gre... by David Ruhlen on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:50:09 PM
You are correct!  Reich's blogpost on Truthou... by Tom Lewicki on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 6:12:12 PM
This is Gettsyburg and Obama is not on the winning... by Marika on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 4:23:45 AM
...side. It doesn't matter how insane the clowns ... by Jill Herendeen on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 10:43:56 AM
votes and the Repubicans have adopted Stalin's as ... by bogi666 on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:31:21 PM
Everyone talks about Martin Luther King, I never r... by Jack Heart on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:09:14 PM
f*cked up.And it has no relevance to the Greenwald... by Tom Lewicki on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:23:35 PM
Yeah, that may be so, but I still think it's great... by Ned Lud on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:46:55 PM
f*cked up is relevant, not at all.But what is rele... by Tom Lewicki on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:56:48 PM
Because President Obama supports the conservative ... by Blaine Kinsey on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 6:40:33 PM
Oh yea, it did, you just didn't get it, just like ... by Jack Heart on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 7:05:50 PM
than your mother can provide.And your comment abou... by Tom Lewicki on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 7:14:04 PM
And you need a gut check, Tom. Civil discourse, or... by Ned Lud on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 8:31:33 PM
Ned, you know what is f*cked up? the youtube video... by Jeff Poster on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 10:42:03 PM
MLK's speeches and the vicious response to the mar... by PCM on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 1:35:13 PM
as I am sure they will, Obama will still not recei... by Michael Shaw on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:54:50 PM
for the GOP Presidential nomination. Wisconsin, Oh... by bogi666 on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:24:58 PM
Weak or traitorous?  It is an unnecessary dis... by John Rachel on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 6:14:23 PM
... by Warren Currier on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 6:29:44 PM
No, not at all... by BFalcon on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 9:51:43 PM
is, by definition, a retarded ass-hole. Paul just ... by Jeff Poster on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 10:46:51 PM
Just as a broken clock tells the right time twice ... by PCM on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 1:07:32 PM
He has the business sense of a flee... by Michael Morris on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 7:01:19 AM
It's a "satan sandwich" the Dimocrats will never, ... by Chantal Laurent on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 10:36:39 PM
Bamboozled. thanks... by bogi666 on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:35:51 PM
"On Monday's NewsHour Paul Solman reports from the... by Chantal Laurent on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 10:51:10 PM
Mr. Obama is a consummate politician. Before his e... by Mark Schmidt on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 6:33:20 AM
You are stuck in Mythland.... by Mike Preston on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:53:39 PM
barack obama is doing exactly what he was "put" in... by Janet Gaudiello on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 11:07:19 AM
Here it is the link to PBS' NewsHour about the fak... by Chantal Laurent on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 12:17:19 PM
The "debt deal" would not have been possible witho... by Nathan Nahm on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 12:52:13 PM
Really? This comment that Obama should be given th... by Fannie LeFlore on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 7:30:50 PM
But your main argument seems to be that just becau... by Nathan Nahm on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 11:00:08 PM
Hi Nathan -- Thanks for your response and I believ... by Fannie LeFlore on Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011 at 11:12:40 AM
You don't seem to fully understand why some people... by Nathan Nahm on Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011 at 1:35:00 AM
Nathan, I agree with you that, "although de jure s... by Fannie LeFlore on Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011 at 11:26:58 AM
 It was his official capitulation on his July... by bogi666 on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:14:49 PM
T.V.Stay tuned to the next episode.Drama, slash an... by Debbie S on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 4:37:41 PM
On reflection, Obama played a blinder.The debt lim... by Working-class UK Socialist on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 7:21:24 PM