No, only a Democratic president could get a Democratic Congress to agree to tax cuts for the rich. So, in this sense, progressives are worse off for having a Democratic president than a Republican one.
Then, at least we would have known who we were fighting. Remember, Bush could barely, barely get these same tax cuts passed when the Republicans controlled both the Senate and the House!
Funny how the rich and powerful win no matter who is in charge and what party they claim to be from. And think about how much the political spectrum has shifted to the right that Bush had to use reconciliation and then barely got the tax cut through a Republican Congress whereas now a Senate with basically 59 Democrats just passed the same tax cuts with ease. Washington has fallen off a right-wing cliff and the media hardly noticed.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said this about the estate tax provision:
"We had the president--George W. Bush--we couldn't get it done then and we're getting it done here."
Ouch. Their victory is so overwhelming that the Republicans are brazenly bragging about how they couldn't even get Bush to do what Obama has done for them.
Finally, you have to ask why Democrats who were willing to fight Bush are crumbling in front of Obama? He claims to be the leader of your party, but honestly who cares? If he is doing the exact opposite of what you claim to stand for, why does it matter what he calls himself?
Democrats would certainly have fought a surge in Afghanistan if Bush was in charge. They would be complaining about warrantless wiretapping if Bush continued that program instead of Obama. They would have hated the monopoly that drug companies got in the health care legislation (because they went nuts over it when Bush made the same deal). And they would have gone apoplectic over these huge tax cuts for the rich. But under Obama, the defense contractors, the rich and the powerful have gotten almost everything they wanted and nary a peep was heard from the Democrats in Congress.
Here is the new memo - fight him, he's not on your side.
When I asked Rep. Jim McDermott some of these questions last night, he seemed at a loss for what to do next. You can feel his frustration and confusion as to how we got here with a Democratic president. Here are some of his quotes:
"Well, I think a lot of us are, in the caucus, we're not quite sure why this is happening. It doesn't make political sense what he did, and it doesn't make economic sense."
"I think that we are in serious trouble because the president simply does not seem willing to go after some things that I think he's going to have to if he's going to get anything done for the people of this country. He simply has, in my view, given up the willingness to fight for economic justice in this country."
"I think it's going to take us a while to get over what's happened here, and I really think... it is very hard to think how you're going to deal with the next round here, because the president has now shown that he can be bullied, and I don't want my president to be bullied."
"And I think he... we would be all much better if we were able to say, you know, that we're not going to back down, and that there's no excuse for us giving up like this. I mean, that's the hard part for me, is that it's giving up without a fight."
"[W]hen you start giving in on the kinds of things he's giving in on, you really worry that there is no way back from that. And I'm, I mean, that's why I said it was... this was Gettysburg, because it really is... that was the turning point in the war. And it really is a question of how you continue to rally your troops if you keep giving in on things that people really care about."