With their three-to-two majorities, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid could have forced the Republicans to vote again and again during the election for "tax cuts for the rich."
They never did. Now, what else could Obama do after his own party left him with lousy field position and the clock running out?
"He could have fought!" the left howls. "He could have told the Republicans, 'No way do I sign a bill that gives tax cuts to the rich.'"
Had Obama thrown down that gauntlet, Republicans would have blocked all action in the Senate until Dec. 31. The lame-duck session would have ended in deadlock. There would have been no extension of tax cuts for the middle class, no START treaty on nuclear weapons, no extension of unemployment benefits, no vote on the DREAM Act for amnesty for illegal aliens, no vote on "don't ask, don't tell."Obama's defiance would have accomplished -- exactly nothing.
In January, a Republican House and more conservative Senate would have passed an extension of all the Bush tax cuts, and Obama would have had to veto the bill and let them all expire. The resulting tax surge would have caused chaos in the economy and been a disaster for the president who is supposed to be running the country.
But the Republicans would have caved, claims the left.
Don't bet on it. Mitch McConnell and the GOP senators know -- after what happened to Charlie Crist, Arlen Specter, Michael Bennett and Mike Castle -- that the retribution of the Tea Party is the threat they face, not the anger of Barack Obama.
Republicans won the battle because they were united. All 42 senators agreed nothing moves in Harry's house until the tax cuts are voted on. And they took that stand because they truly believe you do not raise taxes in a recession and because they were willing to let all the tax cuts expire on Jan. 1 rather than abandon a principled position.
If liberals thought the GOP would crack, Obama knew better.
And considering the deal he came out with, when he walked in with not even a small pair, his party should be congratulating him, not cussing him out.
True, the tax cuts are extended for all, even those earning more than $250,000. But only for two years. If liberals believe ending tax cuts for the rich is a winning issue, why are they screaming? They will have a chance to make that case in the middle of the 2012 election, when all the tax cuts will be up for renewal again.
On the estate taxes, Obama agreed to exempt the first $5 million for an individual and $10 million for a couple, and impose a 35 percent top tax rate.