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Olbermann's Scathing Indictment of President Obama's Tax Cut Deal

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Kevin Gosztola       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   12 comments

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Screenshot from the "Special Comment" delivered last night by Keith Olbermann

Just like many progressives or liberals, Keith Olbermann, host of the MSNBC show "Countdown," expressed outrage at President Obama's tax cut deal. The way he described the nature of the economy was especially pointed (especially since he actually used the word "capitalism"):

The economy is surprisingly simple. If business and the rich won't spend, and the middle class can't spend, the only factor left to keep pushing money into the insatiable maw of capitalism is the government.

So, should the government give the money to the rich who keep it, or to the not rich, who spend it? Apparently this President does not know the answer to that question, even though he has his own Council of Economic Advisers.

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Mr. President, for these meager crumbs, you have given up costly, insulting, divisive, destructive tax cuts for the rich, and you have given in to Republican blackmail, which will be followed by more Republican blackmail. Of course, it's not just tax cuts for the rich that you've given up.

There is also your new temporary payroll tax holiday, establishing a precedent that the way money is pumped into Social Security should be negotiated and traded off, and making it just that much easier to gut Social Security later.

Olbermann's anecdote about a senior official in the Obama Administration attempting to sell him on the deal is typical of what progressives or liberals have learned to expect from Obama. Olbermann told the official that would be fine but "frankly the base has just vanished." The official replied, "Well, then they must not have read the details." Essentially, the Administration would like Americans to believe liberals didn't read it properly and that's why liberals think it is a bad deal.

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Each time this Administration has been up against the ropes it has fallen back on its ability to chide or outright criticize liberals. Vice President Joe Biden urged progressives to "get in gear" during the midterm elections or face serious consequences. In August, White House Press Secretary went after the "professional left" and said what Obama is doing will never be "good enough." Former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told a closed door meeting of top liberal leaders in the fall of 2009 they were "fucking stupid" to be running ads pressuring Blue Dogs and centrist Democratic Senators to back the public option. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) said Democrats had pushed their agenda too far left and had alienated voters when Republican Senator Scott Brown won in Massachusetts. And, recently, Obama called out "purist" and "sanctimonious" progressives for being upset with him.

Olbermann gave voice to liberals who are tired of being characterized as petulant, purist, sanctimonious and unreasonable people:

There, in a nutshell, is this Administration. They didn't make a bad deal. We just don't understand it.

Just as it was our fault, Mr. President, for not understanding your refusal of even the most perfunctory of investigations of rendition or domestic spying or the other crimes of the Bush Administration, or why you have now established for those future administrations who want to repeat those crimes, that the punishment for them will be nothing.

Just as it was our fault, Mr. President, for not understanding Afghanistan. Just as we didn't correctly perceive, sir, the necessity for the continuation of Gitmo. Or how we failed to intuit, President Obama, your preemptive abandonment of single payer and the public option. Or how we could not have foreseen your foot-dragging on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Just as we shouldn't have gotten you angry at your news conference today and made all the moderate Democrats wonder why in the hell you get publicly angry so often at the liberals who campaigned for you, and whether you might save just a touch of that sarcasm and that self-martyrdom for the Republicans.

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And of course, Mr. President we totally betrayed your administration by not concluding our prayers every night by saying "thank you for preventing another Great Depression; you are entitled to skate along on your own wonderfulness indefinitely. And if you get less than you could have on health care reform or taxes, well, that'll be OK; we're happy to pay 10,000 bucks for a 300 dollar car because hey, it could've been 20,000, right? And because we only expect you to do one thing correctly during a presidency, and you know you had pretty much cleared that obligation when it proved that you were, indeed, not John McCain."

We are very sorry.

Americans who voted Obama are reaching a breaking point. They are less and less willing to only ask that Obama not be John McCain (perhaps, because he acts more and more like McCain each day that his presidency progresses onward).

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

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