The Corner

A Minority Report on the Tax Deal

The Editors — Conservatives in Good Standing one and all — qualifiedly like the tax deal. Moderate Republicans of the Main Street Partnership variety like it. Even lower-case-p pragmatic progressives like Ezra Klein like it. The only folks who really hate it are liberal ideologues, and to hear them say it, this deal is final proof that Obama is a man who can’t be trusted, a wimp who has sold out the Left and received nothing in return. 

I like the tax deal, on balance, too. And I think this is a tactical defeat for the president. But let’s put things in perspective: Barack Obama effected the single greatest expansion of the welfare state in 40 years, over tremendous procedural and substantive hurdles, and lost 20 percent of the population and the House of Representatives in the process. With his governing majority greatly diminished, he accepted a two-year compromise that, by the way, smuggles in a few hundred billion extra in deficit-financed stimulus with the wildly underappreciated rhetorical advantage of not having to call it stimulus. And, depending on the strength and speed of the recovery, it just may turn into a big winner in time for the 2012 election season. Meanwhile, some folks on the Left act like he surrendered Washington to Lord Cornwallis. Liberals are never happy.

UPDATE: I now see Rich makes much the same point, and better, below.

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