Jonah Goldberg

But Obama hasn't put everything on the table either. He's walled off "ObamaCare" and the rest of his "winning the future" agenda.

If Obama believes the American people are the voice of reason when it comes to tax hikes, why does their opinion count for nothing when it comes to ObamaCare, which has never been popular? (According to a RealClearPolitics average of polls, only 38.6 percent of voters favor the plan.) Why not look for some savings there?

Consider the frustration of the supposedly ideologically locked-in GOP Congress. In 2008, the national debt was 40 percent of GDP. Now it's more than 60 percent, and it is projected to reach 75 percent next year, all thanks to a sour economy the GOP feels Obama made worse with incontinent spending.

Republicans won a historic election last November campaigning against the spending, borrowing, tax hikes and ObamaCare. Yet Obama's position is that the Republicans are deranged dogmatists because they don't want to raise taxes or borrow more money to pay for spending they opposed. And Obama is flexible because he refuses to revisit a program that has never been popular.

Meanwhile, the sole example of Obama's pragmatism -- that he has publicly acknowledged -- is his openness to means-testing Medicare, which may not be a bad idea. But Obama's support for it rests entirely on the fact that it would continue to tax upper-income people for benefits they will no longer receive. So, in addition to taxing the "rich" more, he also wants to give them less.

I know why liberals would support that, but for the life of me I can't see how it's non-ideological.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Jonah Goldberg's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.