The liberal Robert Reich understands why, on an intellectual level, the Obama embrace of tax cuts is so significant:
Apart from its extraordinary cost and regressive tilt, the tax deal negotiated between the president and the Republicans has another fatal flaw. It confirms the Republican worldview. … By agreeing to another round of massive tax cuts for the wealthy, the president confirms the Republican story. Cutting taxes on the rich while freezing discretionary spending (which he’s also agreed to do) affirms that the underlying problem is big government, and the solution is to shrink government and expect the extra wealth at the top to trickle down to everyone else.
Obama’s new tax compromise is not only bad economics; it’s also disastrous from the standpoint of educating the public about what has happened and what needs to happen in the future. It reinforces the Republican story and makes mincemeat out of the truthful one Democrats should be telling.
Reich is wrong on substance, but he is, as Jennifer Rubin points out, right on narrative. And politics is about narratives as well as policies.
There are several things that explain the current liberal rage at Obama; kicking the intellectual props out from liberalism — arguing that tax cuts are critical to economic growth — is among them.