A reader writes:
You wrote: "I don't see this as surrender. I see this as Obama's cold-blooded pragmatism." I disagree - it's a total capitulation and isn't good strategically, either.
Why? Because in two years, when the extension of the tax cuts expire, it will be the 2012 campaign season. So either Obama will be stuck between raising taxes then, or being slammed with accusations of being weak on the deficit/debt. Just as no one recalls that the Bush tax cuts are a huge part of why we're in this hole to begin with, no one will recall that extending them dug us even deeper. Americans have short memories - better to take the bitter pill now by letting all the tax cuts expire (and forcing Republicans to revisit the issue in 2011) and watch as the deficit eases and the economy improves over the next two years.
As for the "compromise" with getting unemployment benefits extended, I think Obama should play hardball there too - let them expire for a few weeks while going on the offensive and blasting Republicans for blocking an extension. Soon enough he'll get some movement.