What’s up with Krauthammer? Last week, he made the case that maintaining GOP tax rates was somehow a Democrat stimulus, and I’m still scratching my head over that one. This week, while Obama was “holding no high cards, he nonetheless managed to resurface suddenly not just as a player but as orchestrator, dealmaker and central actor in a high $1 trillion drama.”
I’m scratching my head again. Obama, holding a veto pen and whose party still holds both houses of Congress for another two weeks, gave the GOP damn near everything it wanted — in exchange for extending unemployment benefits, which the Republicans were almost certainly going to do anyway. Obama got a bunch of pork, too, but that goes without saying. (See? I told you he wasn’t a Muslim.)
Oh, and the President made himself look small and petulant in the process.
If that’s triangulation, it certainly isn’t the Clintonian form. As Mickey Kaus noted, when Clinton triangulated, he fought the extremist on both sides to protect “the little guy” in the middle, there with Clinton. Or at least that’s how he presented himself — and Clinton was usually magnanimous in victory, too.
When Obama triangulates, the case he makes is, “I wanted what the left wants, but I couldn’t get it.” And he’s nasty about it. So Obama makes himself appear weak and petty.
So even if Krauthammer is right — and he’s a far sharper political thinker than I am, and much closer to the action, too — Obama’s act is going to wear thin, long before 2012. That is, if it hasn’t already.