Today President Obama showed up (finally) for the tax holiday debate, and he demanded that Republicans stop being obstructionist and accede to his payroll tax holiday extension—to be paid for, of course, by raising taxes elsewhere. But Obama proceeds in his argument in his usual way, with a presentation of a false dichotomy: agree to the tax cut, in this case, and the countervailing tax increase; or you’re in favor of the rich at the expense of the working stiff. Of course there is bipartisanship on this question—both parties refuse to consider an income tax cut of the same size, instead. In addition to which, there is another alternative: pay for the tax cut—wherever it might appear—with spending cuts somewhere else. After all, the government already has enough money, and it’s already spending far too much. But that’s Progressive bipartisanship: gimme those tax raises. Period. Tax increases are non-negotiable. And it is, of course, a matter of rich vs. working stiff. They couldn’t possibly both be Americans.
And there’s this concerning the Middle East and the our disengagement from it. In Turkey on one of his whistle stops on his tour of the Middle East, Vice President Biden insisted that sanctions have “isolated” Iran and reduced its influence, even though with Chinese and Russian obstruction and German and Japanese continued business ties to the regime, the sanctions don’t have much bite. The sanctions have, though, “at a minimum, apparently, caused significant discussion internally.” He’s apparently quite sure about that. We’re showing those Iranians. We’ve given them something for their small talk. For sure.
Finally, there’s this on diversity in our institutions of higher learning. The Obama administration has thrown out an Evil Bush interpretation of a Supreme Court ruling concerning affirmative action during admission processes. Whereas the Bush requirement recognized that quotas are not allowed, the Obama version, in its own GUIDANCE ON THE VOLUNTARY USE OF RACE TO ACHIEVE DIVERSITY AND AVOID RACIAL ISOLATION IN ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS, weasel-words quotas back into play. And never mind merit—that comes second. This illustrates the change:
Bush guidelines: “Before using race, there must be a serious good faith consideration of workable race-neutral alternatives.”
Obama guidelines: “Institutions are not required to implement race-neutral approaches if, in their judgment, the approaches would be unworkable.”
On the other hand, bipartisanship, stern sanctions, and merit from Progressives—maybe these aren’t so disparate….