It’s rude and obvious, so I’ll say it: If Barack Obama had stood up to Republicans early on instead of being cowed by their enmity and wowed by his own rhetoric, he’d have a much better chance of being re-elected. More importantly, our sick economy might be on the verge of modest recovery rather than major relapse.
Instead, for reasons that remain murky, Obama’s strategy for fixing the economy was one of pre-compromise that sank his initiatives even before he launched them. Now, abruptly, a big change:
During his remarks this morning, Obama directly responded to Republicans accusing him of “class warfare,” but rather than simply deny the charge, he made the critical point that the act of protecting tax cuts for the rich is itself class warfare, in effect positioning himself as the defender of the middle class against GOP class warriors on behalf of the wealthy.
Well, duh… Did it really take the man more than two years to understand Republicans were using the class warfare charge to pre-empt attempts to re-install tax rates on the rich that were in effect in the 1990s? I doubt it. More likely, Obama has finally understood he’ll be turned out in 2012 if he doesn’t confront the grim reality that class war is in progress and the non-wealthy are losing badly.
I wish I could believe he has had a change of heart rather than a political panic attack. But then I think of his pathetic job performance leading up to the disastrous midterm elections last year, when he more-or-less disowned basic Democratic principles, and Democratic candidates, signaling Neville Chamberlain-style weakness when he should have been coming on like FDR in support of the jobless and underpaid and in opposition to Bush’s tax cuts.
A shrewder cynic would have at least paid lip service from the start to the idea that he cared about the non-wealthy.