In a comment on my original post, Daniel raised a valid and troubling question: Are you suggesting that if [Obama] does not capitulate to their demands on taxes, [the Republicans] would eventually agree to extend unemployment benefits anyway?
I actually believe they would have done. The political consequences of a failure to do so, I believe, would have been intolerable even to Republicans. But the truth is, I don't know. I also don't know whether the President would have won the other concessions--or indeed future battles on a variety of important matters--had he stuck his heels in, as so many of us wanted.
Of course I want Obama to stick to my principles--and to those I presume to be his. Of course I want to see him stand up inflexibly to inflexible and wrong-headed obstructionism. But, as that dreadful old parental retort has it, "I want doesn't get." It's not enough to simply want radical reform. Obstacles unfortunately do exist, as do conflicting opinions, contradictions and ambiguities. Here's the uncomfortable contradiction I personally have to live with on this "morning after": Even though I myself consider the compromise on taxes to be wrong, I am inclined to believe that it was right to make it.
I now stand back an anticipation of the of the back-blast... Have at me!