Archive for Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Analysis: Obama makes political rebound with tax deal, DADT repeal, but can it hold?

December 22, 2010


— President Barack Obama is rebounding from his party’s midterm drubbing with the kind of lame-duck victory list any White House would want: a tax deal, a landmark repeal of the ban on openly gay military service, and the prospect of a major nuclear treaty with Russia.

Each represents a different approach at deal-making, but none alone offers a clear path to governing in a divided capital over the next two years.

In the seven weeks since the election, Obama negotiated with Republican leaders on taxes and left angry liberals on the sidelines. On the New START arms treaty, he sidelined GOP Senate leaders and negotiated with like-minded Republicans. And with the repeal of the Pentagon’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy on gays in uniform, he delighted liberals, won Republican rank-and-file support and left conservatives fuming.

Obama, whose first two years were marked by staunchly partisan votes on his signature initiatives, finds himself at a crossroads. Faced with an ascendant GOP and a restless electorate, the White House is happily holding up the president’s recent successes as a sign of new outreach.

“This won’t be a model for everything over the next two years, but it provides a strong foundation to build on,” Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said.

The lame-duck congressional session, however, is not an altogether clear template for the future. Democrats for now still control the House and Senate; next year Republicans will take over the House and gain seats in the Senate. The lame duck issues that lent themselves to compromise were easier than the hurdles the White House, Democrats and Republicans will have to clear in the months ahead. And the next two years also lead inexorably to the 2012 presidential elections where confrontation, not cooperation, will dominate politics.

What’s more, Obama and Congress merely postponed key moments of reckoning. The tax cut agreement extended all Bush-era tax rates for two years. That leaves unsolved the question of what tax rates should be made permanent and which ones should be allowed to increase. That debate may well dominate the presidential election year.

Congress also was unable to pass a major spending bill to keep the government operating, settling for a short-term, stop-gap measure that maintains current spending into early March. That means a new and contentious debate with a GOP-controlled House over money to implement new health care and bank oversight laws that many Republicans oppose.

And the Senate failed to advance an immigration bill that would have given a path to legal status to many young illegal immigrants who join the military or attend college. The legislation will be far more difficult to pass in the new Congress.

Congress and the White House also have vowed to tackle sky-high deficits and the growing national debt, challenges that Obama himself acknowledged last week will be far more difficult than the tax deal he was signing.

“There will be moments, I’m certain, over the next couple of years in which the holiday spirit won’t be as abundant as it is today,” the president said.

Still, the achievements of the lame duck session are remarkable and surprising, and they help cast Obama in a new light.


Agnostick 3 years, 4 months ago

"But whether the 2010 lame duck session was the most productive since World War II -- when major war funding measures were passed during lame ducks -- or of all the 18 such sessions held since 1935, it's clear that once the Senate passed both the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal and the ratification of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, the waning days of the 111th Congress amounted to one of the most significant lame duck sessions anyone can recall."


BornAgainAmerican 3 years, 4 months ago

Looks like the duly elected Congress will have plenty to fix after the first of the year. I predict another T-Party uprising. Congress has seemingly forgotten nov. 2nd.


CorkyHundley 3 years, 4 months ago

Speaking of "lame" Dude. The Dude would make a better "forward" than anything else.

Meredith Whitney: Muni Defaults, Social Unrest Ahead Wednesday, 22 Dec 2010 12:40 PM
By Greg Brown

Meredith Whitney, the former Oppenheimer analyst whose dead-on predictions on the banking crisis vaulted her to fame, stands by her controversial new call: Massive unrest across the country as the municipal-bond market sells off.

Whitney appeared Sunday on “60 Minutes” to predict defaults in as many as 100 cities and towns, followed by European-style public demonstrations as cities slash budgets in response.

"States clearly have been funding municipal governments — for now up to 40 percent of their total expenditures," she tells CNBC

"As the states become more compromised from a fiscal standpoint, that funding is going to end."

She defended the reaction of ratings agencies and others, who called her predictions overblown.

"I didn't put the debt on these states. We're looking at the numbers. This is how it plays out,” she said, adding that the federal government is also unlikely to bail out broke states.

Hoping to get ahead of a ballooning public spending problem, Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed into law a cap on pay increases for firefighters and police in that state when contract negotiations break down.

Starting Jan. 1, the new law limits increases made by arbitrators to 2 percent.

"Everyone is going to have to make tough choices," Christie said at the law’s signing, reported The Star-Ledger.

"We are handing over a significant set of tools. That doesn’t mean their choices are going to be easy, it just means they’re going to have choices now."

"Social unrest"? Is the old ladies, snow birds, of the Tea Party going to pole vault into Meredith's massive unrestful riots. The country is going to need candle light vigils to quell the unruly snow bird nazi's in the Tea Party.


beatrice 3 years, 4 months ago

Seeing as how the usual circle is particularly jerky in their attacks against Obama today suggests that he just might be on the right path after all.

I was not pleased with his agreeing to continue the tax cuts for the wealthy (Larry David wrote a wonderful letter of thanks in the Times, if you didn't see it), but seeing the positives coming out of this "lame duck" congress makes it clear that Obama will continue to move our country neither left or right, but forward.


rockchalk1977 3 years, 4 months ago

So he made 3% of the population happy with DADT. How is this a positive for him?


jayhawklawrence 3 years, 4 months ago

Sometimes my kids, grown, think I must be a Democrat. I tell them no, I just get sick of watching these people sacrificing the country for their own petty self interests or their moronic "philosophies".

One thing has always been true. To achieve anything great, you are going to have to sacrifice something, perhaps everything, including a political career. I am grateful to those politiicians who may have lost their elections because they chose what is best for the country instead of themselves.

My prayers go out to the boys and girls fighting for our freedoms somewhere in the world and I wish them to return home soon. Maybe if this new congress works well together over the next 2 years, that wish will come true.


jayhawklawrence 3 years, 4 months ago

I think we can throw out the idea that Obama is a Communist or a Muslim or a secret agent working for the overthrow of our American way of life.

Even the idea that Obama is a pure Socialist advancing an agenda to bankrupt and destroy the country and rebuild it under a diabolical plan designed by the American Socialist Party is about as stupid as one can get.

As stupid as these ideas are and a hundred more like them, the scare tactics associated with them had as much influence on the last election as anything else.

Credit Obama for at least moving the country in a direction that provides us room to move instead of the stalemate caused by the ugly partisanship we have been watching for the last 2 years.

I think the one thing that Americans hate more than anything is a bad movie. It was definitely time to change the channel even though now we get to watch the rich people get richer, it is still better than watching the Republicans bitch all the time.


Ray Parker 3 years, 4 months ago

In January we begin the repeal of the Marxist medical takeover, and the strangulation and obstruction of the implementation of the DADT repeal.


grammaddy 3 years, 4 months ago

Another campaign promise kept. THAT ONE 2012!!


Flap Doodle 3 years, 4 months ago

Business as usual in the current regime: "Immediately after James Clapper professed ignorance of the arrests in the UK of a dozen suspected terrorists during an ABC News interview, the Obama administration denied that Clapper hadn’t been briefed on the news. They blamed Diane Sawyer for asking an “ambiguous” question. However, as Jake Tapper reports, the White House admitted this morning that Clapper hadn’t been briefed at all:.."


Tom Shewmon 3 years, 4 months ago

Well, he certainly appeased his far-left base a little at least, with repealing DADT which the anointed one (no caps) just signed. The Obama/Pelosi/Reid Regime (all caps) is going to shove through every radical socialistic fundamentally transforming piece of crap legislation they can drum up in the next couple of weeks.

May God Bless.


Flap Doodle 3 years, 4 months ago

File under: AP wishful thinking.


CorkyHundley 3 years, 4 months ago

The Dude has his crack squad at the helm pole vaulting his glory to new heights. As witnessed by the Diane Sawyer' grueling interview the other day. Sawyer grilled Napoleontano about terror and Janey responded that her team was on it, 24/7 364 days a year. Sawyer kept the light on buring hot and spun to Clapper, ace Director intelligence guru, questioning him about the recent terror arrests in London. Clapper skillfully fielded the question by fading Sawyer out of position saying: "London?"

Man O man, how can anyone compete with the Dudes onslaught of rebounding and dribbling out of skilled minds like Clapper and Napoleontano.



BornAgainAmerican 3 years, 4 months ago

Is Obama really moving to the center? Very doubtful.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 4 months ago

He isn't rebounding, he's capitulating (again.)


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