Tax deal was ‘smart’ thing for U.S.

Updated

Let me finish tonight with our president.

Some have been brutal toward him of late.  They’ve used terrible words to describe the decision he made about the tax cuts. 

Here’s my cut at it.  People who say he’s sold out - and they have a right to say anything they want to - have it wrong.  There’s a difference between what the French did in World War II and what the English did. 

The French sold out.  They turned their country, proud France, into a collaborator with the Third Reich.  That’s what Petain did; that’s what De Gaulle, the greatest man in French history refused to do.  

What did the British do.  They pulled the greatest strategic retreat of the war. They got their troops off the Continent at Dunkerque.  They evacuated and, by doing so, saved the British army to fight again. They avoided catastrophe.

What did Obama do? He knew what was coming.  The Republicans won the House of Representatives in the election.  They are coming into power this January 5.  Their first order of business - HR 1 - would have been to cut taxes for everyone, to take historic credit for cutting the taxes on everyone that the Democrats let go up.  

It was as clear as day for anyone willing to look straight ahead and see what was coming.

This is what President Obama did and made the necessary decision: cut the best deal he could to get extended unemployment benefits and a cut in the payroll tax for employees.   He got that plus a number of other Democratic measures and avoided, in the decision, giving the Republicans a giant hammer to use against them in 2012 and future elections: that they, the Republicans, cut taxes after the Democrats had let them rise.

Again, and one more time, there’s a huge difference between a sell-out and a strategic retreat.   Our President did the smart and therefore good thing for the country, for his party and for history.   The critics, well, are critics.  They have a right to criticize.  He, Barack Obama, has the “job” to lead.

As a result we’ve got a good shot at two vital successes that could have easily been crushed - the end to “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and ratification of the new START.  

The alternative, let’s never forget, was to end this Congress with taxes rising on the Democratic watch, the Republicans randy to lower them, a continuation of DADT and a very good chance of a renewed hostility with Russia.  

If President Obama can do with well with a pair of twos in his hand - and that’s certainly the best you can say he got handed by this election in November, just think what he’ll be able to do the moment - and it will come when he gets dealt a decent hand.

Tax deal was 'smart' thing for U.S.

Updated