Across America, the Left is slowly waking up to the reality of what happened in Tuesday’s deficit deal. Two narratives are emerging. In the first, Obama’s a weakling. In the second, he’s a Right-wing crook. Whatever the truth, liberals are reeling from the news that their President has caved to Tea Party demands for a $2.4 trillion dollar spending cut without tax increases. The blow has big, ugly implications for their relationship with Obama. Today, the American Left is without a President and without a party.
Some are saying that poor Obama got bowled over by those crafty Republicans. Jonathan Chait reports blunder after blunder in his New Republic column. Obama’s big mistake, he concludes, is that the administration thought the Republican Party was more reasonable than it really is:
I spoke several times with administration officials who asserted with total confidence that Republicans would simply have to acknowledge the need for more revenue. They betrayed a complete misunderstanding of the party they’re dealing with.
Ergo, the GOP won the negotiations because they were tougher and more consistent. Added to this, others are arguing that the office of the presidency has simply proven too weak to impose a liberal vision on the Congress and the country.
In contrast, it’s the conclusion of the influential writers Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibi and Jonathan Cohn that Obama wanted this deal all along. It’s the only way they can explain his lack of fight and his repeated, abstract use of the word “compromise” – to suggest that he got something out of this battle too.