“After all, this was the central question in the election,” declared President Obama, Saturday, December 8, adding, ” A clear majority of Americans, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, agreed with a balanced approach, to ask something from everyone; but a little more from those who could afford it.”
The president was speaking in his weekly address. The topic of raising taxes on the wealthy was couched in his belief that he gained a mandate to raise taxes on the rich. Obama has not faltered on his undertaking to boost taxes on the prosperous since he was reelected.
Almost immediately following Obama’s victory, Charles Krauthammer sneered at the premise that Obama had won a “mandate.” Not so, claimed Krauthammer, pointing out that Obama won “very small” and he won “very negative.” In Krauthammer’s opinion, because Republicans retain control of the House, gridlock would continue leaving “Obama nowhere to go.” Krauthammer’s conclusion: “Obama won” but with “no mandate” and “nowhere to go.”
In his victory speech, Obama did stress that elections were both “big” and “important.” He said, “Elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important.” Perhaps Obama is bitter his win was “small.” It appears Obama is clinging to his questionable “mandate,” the way he claimed some folks “cling to their guns and religion,” because they are beaten down and bitter.
Obama used the address to urge Republicans to join with him and Democrats with their votes in support of his plan which he says would prevent an automatic tax increase on all Americans making less than $250,000. The Senate, with a slight majority of Democrats, have already passed the bill; however, Republicans are not yet on board for a tax hike.
With the looming “fiscal cliff” deadline right on top of lawmakers, amid what the president defined as “so much noise and opinions,” the president warned that the important issue of the debate might be drowned out. The president defined the debate as follows:
- Middle-class tax cuts will expire at the end of the year.
- Inaction will result in a tax hike for all Americans on January 1.
- The tax increase average, for a typical family, would be approximately $2200.
Obama stressed he would be willing to compromise on issues important to House Republicans, however; he firmly declared, “We’re going to have to ask the wealthier Americans to pay a higher tax rate. That’s one principle I won’t compromise on.”
Recently, Bill Woodard, investigative journalist and author, had a warning of his own when he spoke on “The O’Reilly Show,” about leadership. “If the United States is allowed to fall off the fiscal cliff, Woodard predicted, “It’s going to be an economic catastrophe; it’s going to be a leadership catastrophe.” He posited the real issue as a question: “Do we have the financial house of the U.S. government in order?”
The heavy burden of the crisis is said to have been the reason that President Obama asked for a monk to pray; during his recent visit to Thailand, that the U.S. might find the solution before plunging over the fiscal cliff. It has also been reported that Obama hosted a private gathering of MSNBC anchors, including Rachel Maddow, Al Sharpton, Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz, this past week regarding the tax increase.
In the meantime, Speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner suggested negotiations were going nowhere; and, that there was no progress to report. Friday, Laura Ingraham, offered soothing words for the GOP, who she acknowledged, appear to be stuck between their base and the president’s refusal to budge on raising taxes on the rich.
Ingraham urged Republicans to avoid an attitude of defeatism. Though that may be an accurate description of the current political scenario, Ingraham pointed out there are many more issues besides the fiscal cliff; and it’s possible to lose a battle and still win the war. One has to wonder, would that be in spite of Obama’s “mandate”?