This post could be about DADT ending today. It’s about time for that, too. But that, while pretty amazing in itself, is not quite as amazing as President Obama growing a spine and forcing the Republicans to do what he wants. I hope that continues.
It’s about time President Obama stood up for what he believes in. It was far, far past time for him to find his backbone and stop trying to compromise with people who have absolutely no interest in working with him.
Obama went to Washington trying to stop business as usual, end the partisanship, and actually do some good in Washington. This is what he campaigned on, anyway. Yes, some of the choices were mistimed. The health care bill should have waited while the economy really recovered. But it takes two to tango, as the saying goes, and the Republicans don’t want to work with Obama.
Today, though, Obama gave a speech in the Rose Garden. He called the Republicans out, promising a veto if the bill that comes out of the super committee doesn’t contain new revenues. He finally(!) stood up for something he believes in.
President Obama struck a combative tone on Monday as called for $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue as part of a proposal to tame the nation’s rocketing federal debt, drawing a sharp contrast with the Republican vision and resetting the terms of the economic debate in Washington this fall.
In a defiant Rose Garden appearance, Obama threatened to veto any plan to tame the debt that does not pair cuts to Medicare and Medicaid with increases in taxes on the rich.
“We can’t just cut our way out of this hole,” Obama said. “It’s going to take a balanced approach.”
Combined with his call this month for $450 billion in new stimulus, the proposal represents a more populist approach to confronting the nation’s economic travails than the compromises he advocated earlier this summer.
It is also diametrically opposed to many of the views supported by Republicans, who want to balance the nation’s books mainly through cutting spending, particularly in Medicare and Medicaid.
Republicans argue that Obama’s plan to tax the rich is a divisive political strategy. But Obama rejected that view Monday.
“This is not class warfare,” Obama said. “It’s math.”
In doing so, he finally took steps to bring back his base. More importantly, Obama also took steps to bring back independents, which he will need for reelection next year.
[S]hows that the American public overwhelmingly supports higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a package to cut the deficit. The margins are staggering: the NYT poll shows a majority of 74 – 21; even Rasmussen shows a majority of 56 – 34. What the president proposed this morning is simply where the American people are at. If he keeps at it, if he turns his administration into a permanent campaign for structural fiscal reform, I don’t see how he loses the argument.
It really is about time.