Aftermath: Politico Goes to Work on the Obama Rehab Project
But here's where things stand now. The lame duck Democratic Congress just passed, by a larger margin than the Republican Congress a few years ago, tax cuts first put on the table by President George W. Bush, a Republican. The lame duck Democratic Congress had to pull a terrible, business-as-usual omnipork spending bill in the face of unified GOP opposition and a massive outcry from the American people. Folks can argue that the pork in that bill only amounted to a "rounding error" on the overall national spending binge, but isn't that the point? Congress couldn't claim that it's serious about dealing with the big ticket items without first showing some seriousness about dealing with the smaller items. Harry Reid's pulled pork sandwich was the first step to fixing the much larger Congressional spending problems. Obama was a bystander to all that, and his porky history tells us where he would have been had he still been in the Senate.
Politico seems to think that all this amounts to a victory for Obama. True, it does leave him alive to fight another day, but what is he fighting for now? Obama found himself reduced to casting the Bush tax cut vote explicitly as a prerequisite for his own political survival. Rather than basking in triumph now, his power and prestige remain diminished and his party is fractured and in retreat while policy has moved to the right weeks before the Republicans even take over the House. Obama and the Democrats are not done by any means, and I more than half expect Reid to trot out the DREAM Act on Christmas Eve just to spite the American people yet again. With the tax cut deal done and omnipork done away with, the lame duckers have time on their hands and mischief on their minds. So now is no time to rest. But it's also no time to go on about how Obama is such a genius for making the "sale." He sold something that that awful, inarticulate cowboy Bush already sold first.
Politico is, at this point, just spinning past the Democrats' political graveyard.
More: It's Politico vs Politico.