In the midst of the debt ceiling frenzy, nobody seems to have noticed that Obama is negotiating in a markedly different way than what we've seen from him in the past. He is at the absolute center of the showdown.
Distaste for raising taxes, claiming that it limits growth, simply isn't borne by the facts. It's time for the Democrats to fight back on this point and show the facts. The alternative is dangerous, regressive, and unfair.
To be sure, Republicans have always been against the concept of Medicare. But hypocrisy entered into the discourse last year, when they attempted to position themselves as the ones who were going to "save Medicare."
Rockefeller's proposal would not explicitly deny the problem -- it would just make it impossible for the EPA to do anything about it, at least when it comes to the largest sources, such as power plants and refineries.
When Eugene McCarthy served on the Senate Finance Committee, he explained the GOP's tax philosophy with a metaphor from his boyhood on a Minnesota farm: "Republicans believe in feeding the sparrows by feeding the horses."
President Obama cannot afford to have the GOP strategy succeed in the "lame duck: session. He must use every one of his considerable presidential powers and communication skills to expose and thwart it.
Republicans have not only pledged to set Wall Street loose, they've vowed not to clean-up the economic mess that results. When Wall Street sets the economy on fire, they'll let it burn -- if that means home, your job, or your retirement, so be it.
I understand that our President prefers consensus to confrontation, but his fear of being cast as the "angry black man" is leaving a vacuum. Olbermann does a mean Edward R. Murrow, but his ratings don't compete with Limbaugh or Beck.