Andrew Sprung peers into his own blind-spots:
Regarding my own speculation that Obama may have gamed out his tax cut deal way in advance, it does raise my bullshit radar about my own propensity to forever credit Obama with playing a "long game" -- an article of faith among strong supporters. As with another article of faith -- that Obama has "the right temperament to be president" -- this is a meme planted by Obama himself. I am often torn between a perception of deep strategy and suspicion that it is a mirage.
I'm sure that the truth lies somewhere in between.
Like anyone, and especially any president, and especially a new president taking office while the global economy is in mid-meltdown, Obama has had to navigate purblind through a maze of contingency, and not every decision and utterance is a result of deep planning. In the current case, Obama may have seen the deal he struck in faint outline last August or September and still have hoped until after November 2 that the Bush cut for the top 2% could be sunset. In refusing in September to promise a veto, he was probably just keeping his options open.
What I am sure of, though, is that a commitment to finding a way to take incremental steps that advance long-term goals is so embedded in Obama's rhetoric that it is unquestionably central to his theory and practice of politics, and to his own core concept of how he operates.