After 10 silly years of blaming everything on the Bush-era tax rates -- despite the subsequent stable federal revenue stream and recovery -- it has become the Holy Grail of the economic policy for Democrats. So the tension rooted in extending the life of this mythical beast is understandable. Similarly, it must be nearly intolerable to support legislation that doesn't feature some embedded social engineering or spreading of wealth. After all, what are laws for?
Unseemly as it is to allow the "rich" to keep their own money, Democrats should be thanking the president for taking the hit on this lame-duck deal, as it can only help their prospects in 2012. We recently had that "national conversation" about the economy. The left, I believe, lost this time around.
Things change, of course. But it is a mystery how progressives can look back at these past two years and not appreciate that they had a president willing to sacrifice himself politically to champion their ideology.
It probably won't happen again for a while.