Weigel previews the disappointment on the left:
[Liberals] were promised by Obama -- by every Democratic candidate, really -- that the tax rates would be restored to pay for social programs. They thought they proved in the 1990s that these were fair tax rates under which the economy could grow wildly, and that Bush proved in the 2000s that lower marginal tax rates for the wealthy didn't spur real economic growth. It was an important debate, and they won it. They have polls telling them they won it, and most Americans are find with restoring the top rates. And here's Obama, about to throw the game, affirming the conservative line that tax cuts of any size at any time are good for the economy.
But he isn't. He's saying that he'd prefer to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year, but cannot in this political climate at this particular time. Nothing prevents Obama from sunsetting them in their entirety if he wins re-election on a sturdier economy. And nothing prevents him from campaigning on long-term debt reduction from now on, as a way to restore the confidence that can keep the recovery moving.