The adult in the room has just thrown an arched-back, high-decibel, progressive tantrum.
In July, President Obama contemplated a deficit-reduction deal involving $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. His current proposal, by the reckoning of Keith Hennessey of the Hoover Institution, includes about $15 in net tax increases for every $1 in net spending reductions. So much for a “balanced approach.” In the course of a few intemperate speeches, Obama has abandoned any pretense of centrism in substance, negotiating style or tone.
If the political goal is to shore up his liberal base, it is also a desperate admission of eroded enthusiasm among his strongest supporters. If the intention is to reproduce the electoral success of Walter Mondale, a closer reading of the 1984 election results is recommended. Americans may love to tax their billionaires. But this does not translate into political support for a presidential candidate whose economic agenda consists mainly of envy and largess.