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Poseur Politics in the Era of Obama

- Abstract

Neither the senate nor the House of Representatives had voted on the proposed agreement to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts when President Obama assembled a friendly crowd of “middle-class taxpayers” at the White House on New Year’s Eve to announce his triumph. Obama was jolly. Though he lamented that he would have preferred “a larger agreement, a bigger deal, a grand bargain—whatever you want to call it” to the hodgepodge hastily assembled by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden, Obama also wanted the nation to be absolutely sure of who had won the fight over taxes. He had.

“Keep in mind that just last month Republicans in Congress said they would never agree to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans,” Obama said, according to the White House transcript of the event. “Obviously, the agreement that’s currently being discussed would raise those rates and raise them permanently. [Applause.]” Nor would this be the last time that the Republicans would have to betray their long-standing opposition to tax increases: “If we’re going to be serious about deficit reduction and debt reduction, then it’s going to have to be a matter of shared sacrifice—at least as long as I’m president. And I’m going to be president for the next four years, I think, so —.[Applause.]”

About the Author

Matthew Continetti is editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon.