Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I've been reading through the transcript of the president's speech, and, generally speaking, it's quite heartening. I don't blame Steve Benen for calling it a "rousing rejection of Republican radicalism." I love this, about the Paul Ryan budget:

Worst of all, this is a vision that says even though America can't afford to invest in education or clean energy; even though we can't afford to maintain or commitment to Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about it. In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. And that's who needs to pay less taxes? They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that's paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs? That's not right, and it's not going to happen as long as I'm President.

Wow -- does he really mean that? And does he really mean this?

In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. And I refuse to renew them again.

"I refuse"? "It's not going to happen"? Firm, unswerving commitments?

Well, we've had a few of those from President Obama over the years. The Bush tax cuts on the wealthy weren't going to be renewed at all. Gitmo was going to be closed. Obama was going to walk picket lines with union workers. And so on.

I want the guy who gave this speech to be the president in the upcoming weeks and months of negotiating. But I fear this guy is going to be locked away in the attic now that he's given this speech, and his double -- the other Obama, the one who either can't or won't make good on commitments like this -- is going to take it from here. But it would be awfully nice to be wrong about this.

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