Alexander Cockburn writes:
Nicely in time for the end-of-year job ratings, President Obama has crawled from the political graveyard, where only a month ago wreaths were being heaped around his sepulcher. The Commentariat now gravely applauds his recent victories in the US Congress: repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell inhibitions on gays in the military; Senate ratification of the new START treaty on nuclear weapons with the Russians; passage of a $4.3bn bill – previously blocked by Republicans – providing health benefits for emergency rescue workers in the 9/11 attacks of 2001.
Something missing from my list? You noticed? Yes indeed: first and absolutely foremost, the successful deal with Republicans on taxes, better described as a $4 trillion gift to America’s rich people, by extending the Bush tax cuts. With the all-important tax surrender under their belts the Republicans don’t seem too upset in having allowing Obama’s his mini-swath of victories. There aren’t too many votes in insisting that 1500 nukes aren’t enough for Uncle Sam, particularly since Obama did his usual trick a year ago of surrendering before the battle began, pledging vast new outlays to the nuclear-industrial-complex. Would it have been that smart to deny benefits to 9/11 responders or say that gays in the military have to stay in the closet. Presumably they’ll fight all the more fiercely now they can stand Out and Proud. On things that really matter, once they reassemble after the break, the Republicans will probably stay awake, though with a President who surrenders with the alacrity of Obama, excessive vigilance probably isn’t necessary.
You give $4 trillion to the rich and they express their thanks in measured terms. Their hired opinion formers laud the spirit of admirable compromise enabling responsible members of Congress to come together in bipartisanship to keep the hogwallow open for business.