Thanks to a deal keeping all Bush tax rates in place, the American people won’t have to pay higher taxes the next two years. Thanks to President Obama’s caving, Republicans will have a fantastic political issue to use against him while he runs for re-election. Here’s the details of the deal struck between President Obama and congressional Republicans:

Republicans control neither the House nor the Senate, and certainly not the White House. But they largely dictated the terms of President Barack Obama’s proposed tax-cut compromise, which disgruntled congressional Democrats want to discuss in closed meetings that are likely to be rowdy.

Republicans prevailed on their biggest demand: continuing Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, despite Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to let them expire for households earning more than $250,000 a year. Obama, while acknowledging Democratic unrest, agreed to extend the tax breaks for two years, whereas Republicans wanted a permanent extension.

House and Senate Democratic leaders were noncommittal on the proposal, saying they would discuss it in closed caucus meetings Tuesday. Vice President Joe Biden, a key player in seeking a compromise, scheduled a rare visit to the Senate Democrats’ weekly luncheon the same day.

Congressional Democrats can discuss this all they want but their answer is certain. They’ll vote for extending these cuts, at least enough of them to pass the bill. Doing anything less would cut President Obama off at the knees, something that many House Democrats might see as a worthwhile option.

When we look back, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see this day as the day when someone decided to step forward and challenge President Obama in the Democratic primaries. Certainly, the natives aren’t happy, with some progressives calling it capitulation:

But many Democrats felt the president gave up too much and gave in too fast. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was noncommittal. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said he would filibuster, and a group of progressive Democrats in the House circulated a letter in opposition.

Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee called the deal a capitulation.

“Everything President Obama has done has signaled weakness and has sent a signal to Republicans that if they block tax cuts long enough, at the end of the day he will pass whatever comes across his desk. That is not how you negotiate,” Green said.

The reality is that letting the Bush tax cuts expire would’ve led to the next economic downturn, which would’ve meant President Obama being a one-term president. For all his talk about rather being a great one-term president than a mediocre two-term president, President Obama proved that his strongest instinct is to preserve his political career.

Carving out common ground might be what independent voters want the president to do, but it’s not what his base wants. MoveOn.org has created a television ad featuring Obama voters who ask, “What’s happened to that bold progressive man we elected president?” The ad is aimed at the politically crucial state of Iowa.

That “bold progressive man” was an illusion. He didn’t really exist. That was just his stage personna. Dick Morris was right during last night’s Hannity appearance when he said that “to characterize this as a deal is like that famous deal that Emporor Hirohito struck with Gen. MacArthur on the battleship Missouri. This is surrender. This is Obama absolutely caving.”

This won’t seal Obama’s defeat but it will outrage his base. What it does is it shrinks Obama’s margin for error. His base won’t let him compromise with Republicans again. If he surrenders again, it’s certain that he’ll face a primary challenger, which will split the Democratic Party wide open.

Until now, the Democratic Party has successfully hidden the fact that they’re essentially two seperate parties, with the MoveOn.org side dominating the DLC side. Remember Howard Dean’s saying that he represented the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party“? Here’s his explanation of that cliche:

BOB EDWARDS, host: You say you represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic party. Explain that.

Former Vermont Gov. HOWARD DEAN: That was really a phrase that was first developed by Paul Wellstone, and although Paul Wellstone’s probably a little more liberal than I, his characteristic, which I enormously admire, was that he’s willing to stand up for what he believes in. I think there are so many people in our party that aren’t. When I go around talking to Democratic audiences, one of the lines that gets an enormous round of applause is that there are almost as many Democrats that I talk to that are angry at the Democrat Party as they are angry at the Republican Party.

The reality is that the MoveOn.org types see the DLC types as Republican lite.

President Obama played to the MoveOn.org side during the 2008 campaign. Tonight, he essentially threw that wing under the bus. This will cause the MoveOn.org side lots of heartburn and consternation, not to mention alot of re-examination and soul-searching.

DLC types will note that, whereas President Obama caved during negotiations, President Clinton never got rolled in negotiations, just adding fuel to the fire that President Obama is in over his head.

This is a major victory for Republicans, an embarrassing defeat and surrender for President Obama.

UPDATE: Based on this post, I’d say that the Democrats are in danger of picking a fight with President Obama:

A bloc of Senate Democrats could decide not to support a White House-brokered deal on tax cuts and unemployment benefits, thereby putting the plan in danger, according to the second-ranking Senate Democrat.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) suggested Monday evening that many caucus members could threaten to back away from the deal as leverage to ensure it gets what it wants from a potential compromise with Republicans.

UPDATE II: Based on Jake Tapper’s reporting, the fight is on between the White House and Capitol Hill:

Vice President Biden heads to Capitol Hill today to lobby Senate Democrats to support the tax cut compromise, as President Obama faces criticism from congressional Democrats that he should have fought more for the Bush tax cuts on the middle class, and against the cuts for wealthier Americans.

The White House has two arguments for what they acknowledge are “frustrated” Democrats:

1) We wanted a fight on these tax cuts, and Congressional Democrats never took up the charge and held a vote;

2) This is a good deal, and we weren’t willing to let taxes go up on middle class Americans, or to deprive the unemployed of insurance benefits, just to prove a political point.

“We wanted a fight, the House didn’t throw a punch,” a senior White House official tells ABC News, pointing out that for months before the 2010 midterm elections, President Obama was making the case against the Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans. “The House wouldn’t vote before the Senate, and the Senate was afraid they’d lose a vote on it.”

“It was like the Jets versus Sharks except there weren’t any Jets,” the official said. “Senator Schumer says he wants a fight? He couldn’t hold his caucus together.”

Based on this reporting, the guns are out and the circle is forming. This ain’t gonna be pretty.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers. Check out my other posts, some about Minnesota politics, some about Chuck Schumer’s dishonest ploy about taxing the rich.

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7 Responses to “Will Obama’s Surrender Split Democratic Party?”

  • Harry says:

    Good observations. It is revealing about the left that they just got through hating one president for eight years, and now they are ready to start on another. Thìs will result in their complete alienation from most Americans and an inability to influence American politics in any meaningful way. Goodbye and good riddance.

  • walter hanson says:

    Gary:

    I say a problem with this line of thinking is that President Clinton caved on some key points during the 1995-1997 war:

    * He signed welfare reform.

    * The Republicans so called cave on the budget was a cave by Clinton since he agreed to the plan that balanced the budget. Mind you the left than went and took credit for it happening.

    The trouble was that they didn’t see those as a cave.

    Maybe the other problem is with the bills they have become adjusted shoving down our throat they don’t like a good bill being worked out.

    Man if they’re this unhappy I wonder how those House members will be reacting in 2013 when they realize that not only they don’t control the agenda no dream acts will be debated.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • richard40 says:

    This is actually an encouraging sign. Along with Obama’s proposal to freeze fed salaries, it indicates that Obama might actually be capable of Clinton style compromise. Of course it also means that if Obama moves to the center, he might be reelected, just like Clinton did, especially if repubs nominate a poor candidate.

    The attitudes of his left wing base confirm how delusional they are. They will eventually become irelevant if they continue in this pattern. If Obama draws a left wing challenger, and the base remains disconted, Obama might lose reelection anyway, even if he moves to the center and manages to reclaim the centrists that left him. But after the new congress moves in dems in the house will no longer be relevant anyway, although they will continue to be in the senate.

  • Chris Crieta says:

    I knew the Dems would block it, and Obama knew it too. It was all strategy! Obama knows what he’s doing and he’s doing it better than anybody, he’s smarter better and more awesome than any other president ever!

  • Katie Mason Stevens says:

    I hope the schism between moderate Dems and the Progressives continues to grow and become irreparable. The Progressives act as if they alone are due access to the elected leadership. Their minions in the Progressive Media are also an awful lot with their superiority complex.

    Progressives have incessantly pushed and pushed existing Dems and Independents further away from the party with their delusions of gutting and taking over the party, then the government and eventually all of American society. They may have put in many hours and dollars during the 2008 campaign but they are not the only ones who participated.

    As time goes on more moderates will leave the Dems behind and vote independent. The days of adhering strictly to one party is gone.

    It’s ironic that a group of people who call themselves Progressive are actually regressive with their desire to control and micromanage the citizenry all the while the world is growing more unprectible and volatile.

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