Paul  Kengor

“Obama Announces ‘Framework’ for Deal With Congress to Extend Bush-Era Tax Cuts.” That was the lead headline at this morning’s FoxNews website. It’s an eye-grabber, for sure.

The article explained that the "framework" outlined on Monday evening by President Obama calls for a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts in all income brackets. Yes, all of them. Even the rate on the estate tax—the centerpiece of Democratic Party class-warfare rhetoric—would be renewed; in fact, at a slightly lower rate than during the Bush administration.

For Obama, this is a clear compromise with Republicans, one that liberals in his own party will not like, and, in fact, are condemning. For that matter, Obama himself did not seem pleased, announcing his decision with a discernible degree of discomfort, signaling a change dictated more by politics than personal ideology. Nonetheless, it was a significant shift.

"I have no doubt that everyone will find something in this compromise that they don't like," stated Obama, but "we cannot play politics at a time when the American people are looking for us to solve problems."

That’s a very telling statement. Obama explained that allowing taxes to increase on all Americans—no matter what income bracket—would have a negative effect on the economy.

Of course, it would. That’s common sense, basic economics. But to witness Barack Obama saying so is stunning, a jolting concession completely contrary to what Obama argued not only throughout his first two years as president but during the presidential campaign. I’ll never forget the moment during one of the presidential debates when John McCain looked at Obama and said incredulously (I’m paraphrasing), “I can’t believe you’d want to raise taxes on

anybody during a recession!”

Indeed. And yet, Obama persisted with that message—until now, apparently.

I’m surprised, and pleased.