Shaken by the polls and unable to tout his accomplishments in office, the president has instead targeted giveaways to particular constituencies of the Democratic Party. We've gone from soaring to squalid. Women got free contraceptives and the invitation to believe that the Republicans had launched another war of choice -- against women. College students got more subsidies for their loans. Gays got support for same-sex marriage. And Hispanics got the dubiously legal decision to forego deportations for certain illegal immigrants. Blacks and Jews haven't been bribed yet, but perhaps that's what comes of voting too reliably Democratic. (Supporters of Israel have long since been disappointed in this White House.)
Still, not even Barack Obama can successfully buy the votes of 50 percent plus one of the American people. His argument to win over the unpurchased thus goes as follows: Sure the economy is worse than it could be, but if you vote Republican, you will be endorsing the very policies that brought on the recession and caused our current troubles. The policies President Obama most often cites as having caused the "mess" we're in are 1) the Bush tax cuts, and 2) "letting Wall Street write its own rules."
The president's contempt for the Bush tax cuts is an obsession. As the Huffington Post noted, he invoked Bush's supposed tax breaks "for millionaires and billionaires" at least 50 times during the congressional campaigns of 2010. They were, he protested, tax cuts "we cannot afford" and would require us to borrow from "China or the Saudis or whoever is buying our debt."
Yet President Obama has always favored preserving the Bush tax cuts for individuals who make less than $200,000 and married couples who earn less than $250,000. President Obama signed an extension of those tax cuts in 2010. Of the $544 billion that the extension of the tax cuts granted, $463 billion went to exactly those earning under $200,000. So President Obama supports -- and has always supported -- 85 percent of the Bush tax cuts. His rage against corporate jets and such is pure theater.