Mark P.: “I will continue to contribute to Pres. Obama’s re-election and will vote for him, but only because the alternative would be so much worse – not because I am enthused. He extended Bush tax cuts last December and now agrees to a debt deal with no revenues, only cuts. While I previously liked the fact that he was so reasonable, it now seems to be such a liability.”

☞ Let’s start with last December.

The President could have let unemployment benefits expire – they were being held hostage by the Republicans. You would have had the spine and the balls and the cojones to take that chance; he seems to have had too much empathy for the unemployed and what it would have been like for them to miss even a few checks. Smart, strong people like you and the President can disagree on what risks to take, and with whose lives.

(Not making the deal to extend the tax cuts would also likely have meant not getting repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell or renewal of the Nuclear START Treaty; and not getting the payroll tax cut that has helped so many struggling families. Again, you would have ditched all that to see taxes go up, especially for the wealthy. I respect that. He made a different choice.)

My frustration is not with him for making this deal, but with the Republicans for their insistence on a deal in the first place – for putting the interests of the wealthy, yet again, above those of everyone else.

Likewise, the debt ceiling deal. As I said Tuesday, the debt ceiling deal does NOT slash spending in the next year or two, while the economy is so fragile; PROTECTS the social safety net; and does NOT close the door on increased revenues from the rich (or Exxon). To my friends who are quick to assume the President has unaccountably become a different person (uncaring? slothful? dim-witted?) when we don’t get what we want on our timetable, I’d say, first, that you may not have looked at this deal, and its implications for the future, closely enough. And second, that I totally share your frustration – as I’m quite sure the President does – but direct most of it at the opposition, whose first priority is to see him fail and whose second priority is to protect billionaires from paying anywhere close to the 28% rate on investment income they paid under Ronald Reagan (second greatest man who ever lived).

Even so, the long view may be that he is winning the war. Most Americans – albeit not House Republicans – now clearly agree we need to raise revenues, especially from the wealthy. Yes, it would have been better to get that done now. But in the 20-year scheme of things, whether those increased revenues began flowing in 2012 or 2013, as I think they will, it won’t matter much.

The broad solution, it seems to me, is to revitalize our economy and infrastructure by investing for the future with funds we raise in taxes rather than borrow from the Chinese.

Our job – yours and mine and everyone else’s who agrees with that broad solution – is to cheerfully spread the word as we work to achieve massive turn-out 461 days from now.

Massive registration and turn-out are how we’ll hold the White House, take back the House, hold the Senate, and flip state legislative chambers back from red to blue.*

It’s a challenge, because the other side are doing all they can to prevent the poor, the young, and the disabled from voting.

And because they are masters at misdirection (“death panels,” “death taxes,” “job creators”) and misinformation (Iraq attacked us on 9/11; a Muslim not born in America; “by far the vast majority” of the Bush tax cuts would go to people at “the bottom of the economic ladder”).

And because we are so quick to attack our own rather than direct our anger at the Republican senators and representatives whose priorities are so misguided.

But with your help, we’ll get there.

(So help.**)

*Which won’t get us everything we want, anymore than President Clinton was able to get us everything we wanted. (Did he get universal health care? gays in the military? Lily Ledbetter? Did he close the gun show loophole? Kill Bin Laden?) But we’ll continue to move forward, as we did under Clinton, rather than back, as under Bush.

**And don’t dismiss all the amazing things he has accomplished, against blistering opposition, in these first 30 months. Volunteer to help him do more!


I bought a bunch yesterday at $6.30 with money I can truly afford to lose. Here’s why.


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