(For more on the fiscal cliff negotiations check out David’s discussion with Charlie Mitchell, #TAN Editor-in-Chief, in the first half hour of last week’s radio show here or continue on.)
The rates are set to expire at the end of this month unless Congress and the administration reach an agreement on an extension. Mr. Obama wants to continue the existing rates on 98% of Americans. But, Republicans refuse to pass anything that doesn’t include an extension of the Bush tax rates for the wealthy.
As the President has pointed out in speech after speech, doing nothing means tax rates will go up across the board. And the average American family of four would see their 2013 taxes go up by over $2,000.
Last week, the President not only attacked the Republican position, he encouraged Americans to join him. In a rally at the White House, Mr. Obama said, “I’m asking Americas all across the country to make your voice heard. Tell member of Congress what a 2K tax hike would mean to you; cAll you members of congress, write them an email, write on their Facebook walls, tweet it at My2K.”
The pundit class was displeased.
David Gergen of CNN said the President’s approach “was clearly intended to score political points with Democrats rather than entice Republicans into serious negotiations.”
David Brooks of the New York Times told NPR that Mr. Obama had stuck “a thumb in eye” of Republicans and that his position was an “insult.” Brooks declared himself “mystified.”
Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post called the White House’s opening bid “pathetic” and said “this is not negotiating, it’s chest-thumping.”
Chest-thumping? A thumb in the eye? Scoring political points?
The last time I checked, President Obama won the 2012 election. Voters endorsed his call to have millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. And the fact that President Obama is playing hardball with GOP henchmen in Congress who are willing to crash the economy in order to protect the wealthy, well that’s great news.
Keep in mind, this is the same President Obama who began key negotiations in his first term by compromising first with democrats before even staking out a position with Republicans.
I get that the beltway pundit class wants high minded negotiations, behind closed doors, and in an environment of give and take.
But that environment hasn’t existed in D.C. since President Obama took office. There has been nothing high minded about the continuous, scorched earth GOP obstructionism.
The President wasted time in his first term thinking he could reason with Republican lawmakers, appeal to their better angels, and satisfy the beltway establishment.
Now, the President has finally figured out that the only way he will get Congress to negotiate and compromise is after the GOP has been cornered, humiliated, and hammered. Only then will the GOP begin to respect this President and realize they will pay a price for each day they defy him.
If the beltway pundits aren’t happy about this legislative and political brass knuckles approach, so be it. Most Americans don’t care what the pundits think. The only thing that really matters is what the President gets done. And by standing firm and hitting hard, President Obama is making progress.
About the Author (Author Profile)
David Shuster is an Emmy Award-winning broadcast news anchor and correspondent for Current TV. Based in Washington,D.C., Shuster serves as the primary substitute host for “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.”
Previously, Shuster hosted shows on MSNBC and anchored that network’s prime time coverage of breaking news stories including the historic Congressional votes for healthcare reform, the earthquake in Haiti, and the death of Michael Jackson.
Shuster also worked for NBC News, where he covered Operation Iraqi Freedom in Doha,Qatar; the first elections in Baghdad, Iraq; the selection of Pope Benedict in Vatican City; and Hurricane Katrina as the storm made landfall in Biloxi, Mississippi.
On MSNBC’s Hardball, Shuster led the show’s coverage of the 2004 and 2008 Presidential campaigns. He headed up MSNBC’s “ad watch team,” fact checking and analyzing hundreds of campaign commercials. He also covered the national political conventions and the presidential campaign primaries. In the fall of 2003, Shuster spent two months in California leading Hardball’s coverage of the recall of Governor Gray Davis and the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
From 1996-2002, Shuster was a Washington, D.C. based correspondent for the Fox News Channel. He was at the Pentagon on 9/11 and led Fox’s coverage in Washington,D.C.of U.S.military operations in Afghanistan. During the Clinton administration, Shuster led Fox’s coverage of the Clinton investigations including “Whitewater,” the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Starr report, and the Senate impeachment trial.
From 1994–1996, Shuster was the lead investigative and political reporter for KATV (ABC) in Little Rock,Arkansas. He led the station’s coverage of the Whitewater investigation, including the indictment, trial, conviction, and resignation of Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker. Shuster’s series on corruption at the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Commission prompted changes in state law and earned Shuster an Emmy Award for Investigative Reporting.
From 1990–1994, Shuster was a field producer and assignment editor for CNN in their Washington, D.C.bureau.
In 2006, Shuster was the recipient of the prestigious “Bugle Award” given by the 1.3 million member organization “Disabled American Veterans.” The annual honor recognizes journalists who bring attention to disabled veterans. Shuster won for his extensive coverage of the 2005 National Disabled American Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Aspen,Colorado.
Shuster is a graduate of the Universityof Michigan. He lives in Washington, D.C.