By the looks of things, if there is finally a debt deal, liberals must feel like they’ve had their head rammed into the ceiling fan.
While The Wall Street Journal may have called the late-night agreement a “victory for the cause of smaller government, arguably the biggest since welfare reform in 1996,” not everyone is jumping for joy. Some are mourning, some are angry, and some are just flat-out disappointed at a president who campaigned on a platform that went beyond partisan fights between red states and blue states.
To Huffington Post namesake Arianna Huffington, the bipartisan agreement represents exactly the opposite of what politics is all about: making compromises.
“I think this is a real breakdown of our political system,” said Huffington Monday on “Morning Joe.”
Paul Krugman, however, was the first liberal commentator to scowl. In his New York Times column, which started the avalanche of complaints, Krugman wrote that the deal was a “disaster” and a complete failure on President Barack Obama’s part.
“Make no mistake about it, what we’re witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels,” Krugman wrote. “It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats … Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.”
Krugman was more subtle than the New York Times editorial board, which wrote that apart from averting a “catastrophic government default” the debt deal is “nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists.”
And who is being held hostage? “Reasonable people … forced to give in to those willing to endanger the national interest.”
The Times also picks up on a theme — echoed in the New Republic, The Daily Beast and The Nation — that could bring even lower approval ratings for the president: Obama chickened out.
Titled “Obama Gives It All Away” the morning piece by The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky goes downhill from there.
With the deal, Tomasky sees a “horrible precedent” for both sides that threatens a bleak future of less government spending and Republicans in charge of Capitol Hill.
“Would Democrats do something similar to a Republican president — demand that she or he support dramatic tax increases? That wouldn’t be any more right than the other way around,” write Tomasky, who then oddly concedes that Democrats don’t have that Elephant-like backbone. “Of course Democrats, given their different DNA, might well be afraid to do something that … mean — which suggests that this precedent will have extremely conservative impacts on our politics for years to come.”
Just for good measure, Tomasky also throws in a reference to the Republicans’ criminal act of issuing “hostage-takers’ demands.”