Dear President Obama:
Increasingly credible press reports say that you are going to join with the Republican minority in the Congress and support the two year extension of the Bush tax cut for the Rich, along with the cuts for the $200,000 (individual) and $250,000 (couples) that the Democrats were favoring. It has become a widely-noticed habit of yours to concede or to adopt both the Republican terms of policymaking and Republican policies and programs. Enclosed is a recent column where I wrote an imaginary private letter from former President George W. Bush to you, by way of providing examples of this recurrent practice.
You may or may not know what extending the tax cuts for the Rich, worsening the deficit and burdening the next generation with the fiscal obligations, not to mention further restricting your options for public works programs and employment, will do to your electoral base. For many of your 2008 voters, this will indeed be the last straw for any active support they might have considered providing you.
It may be that you believe that trading off $120 billion in retained income for the Rich is worth persuading the Republicans to support $18 billion for an extension of unemployment benefits to people out of work. With your Party controlling both the White House and the Congress until January 1, 2011, that is a remarkable definition of political, moral and strategic weakness that will signal even greater capitulations to the Republicans during the next two years.
Remember McGregor Burns’ distinction between a transformational leader and a transactional leader.
(An attachment of the 11/22/2010 column, “My Friend Barack” was included with this letter.)