THE BLOG
12/06/2010 09:22 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking Obama Presidency

After tonight's deal with congressional Republicans, the revolt against the Obama presidency may well continue -- except it won't be coming from the right. It will be from congressional Democrats who are aghast at what Obama has conceded to his most virulent foes. No matter how you play it, Obama got rolled.

The extension of unemployment benefits and credits for working families that Obama touted are policies that he should easily have been able to pass in a Democratic Congress. He wasn't. Instead, Obama became a hostage of the right.

It was a wan, shrunken president who appeared tonight, one barely capable of praising the deal he cut with the GOP. Maybe he was ashamed of it. Or maybe he knows that Michelle will chew him out for betraying his party's own principles.

For that is what he did. How Obama could have gotten backed into a corner where he ended up endorsing tax cuts for millionaires is a conundrum that he would do well to ponder. Ditto for the estate tax concessions he made. In sum, the deal adds almost $1 trillion to the national debt. Meanwhile. Sen Mitch McConnell is lavishing praise on Obama for opposing "tax hikes" -- a bogus term since they were supposed to expire anyway.

Obama is not a bad man. He just seems to be a weak one. "We cannot play politics," he announced. OK, how about practicing politics, then?

Yes, yes. Had Obama refused to reach a deal with the Republicans, he probably would have been pilloried as a tax and spend liberal. But there's no way that tonight's agreement can be billed as a "compromise." A compromise is when both sides make real concessions. The GOP didn't do that. Obama did.

Perhaps Obama can rescue his fortunes in the next two years. But he can hardly claim that he's blunting Republican victories. The truth is that he's abetting them. Obama paid an enormous price for the small wins that he eked out. Ultimately, the price could be his own presidency.