"Supporters credited Mr. Obama’s tenacity even as some complained that he too rarely showed the trait in earlier dealings with Congress. Instead, they say, he often deferred on legislative strategy to the Democratic leaders — Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will no longer command a majority in the coming House, and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, who will have a much smaller majority in January — and to his since-departed White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, a former congressman.
"Often cited is Mr. Obama’s failure to act earlier in seeking an extension of the expiring Bush-era tax cuts except those on high incomes; delaying action until after the midterms gave Republicans more leverage to force a compromise that also extends the high-end tax brackets for two years."
Now this is what passes, I guess, for "political analysis" by the nation's "newspaper of record." What explains Obama's "successes" in the past week with the lame duck Congress is his "tenacity." Wow, now that explains an awful lot. All of a sudden, after the Republicans managed to hold together unanimously on almost every issue, the party regulars could not prevent some Republicans from "bolting" and voting for the likes of the New Start treaty and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Is this all the Times and other have? Some see what is going on, even Charles Krauthammer for example. Why is it that when doing what passes for political analysis, the "analysts" persist in providing "explanations" that don't explain anything? What are they hiding? Could it be the corrupt political system in which the two parties collude so the regulars in each one can preserve their power and perks?
Now, here is my hunch for 2012: No one in the Democratic Party will challenge Obama. The Republicans will put up a candidate who will be most unlikely to win and then they, the Republicans, will not support this candidate, especially if it happens to be someone like Sarah Palin or another "insurgent" type. No one [read Bloomberg] will run as a "third party candidate" and Obama will win, while a number of the recently elected Republican "insurgents" will be defeated....with the blessings of the Republican regulars. Why? Because this is the outcome that will preserve the stability of the current situation. And, of course, this in turn will mean that those in charge now will continue to be in charge. And then the next time that the public's anger erupts, the "analysts" will seek explanations for this in psychology, sociology, history, geography, sexuality.....that is, in anything but the political fact that the public is being screwed over for the sake of systemic stability.
"The conservative gloaters were simply fooled again by the flapping and squawking that liberals ritually engage in before folding at Obama’s feet. House liberals did it with Obamacare; they did it with the tax deal. Their boisterous protests are reminiscent of the floor demonstrations we used to see at party conventions when the losing candidate’s partisans would dance and shout in the aisles for a while before settling down to eventually nominate the other guy by acclamation.
"And Obama pulled this off at his lowest political ebb. After the shambles of the election and with no bargaining power — the Republicans could have gotten everything they wanted on the Bush tax cuts retroactively in January without fear of an Obama veto — he walks away with what even Paul Ryan admits was $313 billion in superfluous spending.
"Including a $6 billion subsidy for ethanol. Why, just a few weeks ago, Al Gore, the Earth King, finally confessed that ethanol subsidies were a mistake. There is not a single economic or environmental rationale left for this boondoggle that has induced American farmers to dedicate an amazing 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop — for burning! And the Republicans have just revived it.
"Even as they were near-unanimously voting for this monstrosity, Republicans began righteously protesting $8.3 billion of earmarks in Harry Reid’s omnibus spending bill. They seem not to understand how ridiculous this looks after having agreed to a Stimulus II that even by their own generous reckoning has 38 times as much spending as all these earmarks combined."