Obama, the ‘new Comeback Kid’

No less a rightwing stalwart than Charles Krauthammer has christened President Obama the “new Comeback Kid.” Last week, Krauthammer said that Obama had beat the Republicans at their own game: “Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010,” he said.
In today’s WaPo, Krauthammer says Obama is well positioned to win re-election, partly because he has proved better at so-called triangulation than even Bill Clinton, the presumed champion of that particular political art:

Now, with his stunning tax deal, Obama is back. Holding no high cards, he nonetheless managed to resurface suddenly not just as a player but as orchestrator, dealmaker and central actor in a high $1 trillion drama.

Compare this with Bill Clinton, greatest of all comeback kids, who, at a news conference a full five months after his shellacking in 1994, was reduced to plaintively protesting that “the president is relevant here.” He had been so humiliatingly sidelined that he did not really recover until late 1995 when he outmaneuvered Newt Gingrich in the government-shutdown showdown.

And that was Clinton responding nimbly to political opportunity. Obama fashioned out of thin air his return to relevance, an even more impressive achievement.

Remember the question after Election Day: Can Obama move to the center to win back the independents who had abandoned the party in November? And if so, how long would it take? Answer: Five weeks. An indoor record, although an asterisk should denote that he had help – Republicans clearing his path and sprinkling it with rose petals.

Krauthammer is certainly right that the Republicans did everything they could to help Obama become such a big winner — mostly by proving what hypocrites they are on the deficit. The mid-term elections were supposedly a referendum on government spending; the Democrats’ loss of the House was supposed to show that the tea partiers and their supporters were absolutely serious about getting the deficit under control.

So how serious are Republicans about the deficit? The tax cut deal adds $700 billion to the deficit in the next two years alone. CNN has a chart showing the cost of various parts of the package:

CNN Money

CNN Money


— Cynthia Tucker

311 comments Add your comment

Keep up the good fight!

December 17th, 2010
10:35 am

Ohh..ball. That ought to throw them off.

Keep up the good fight!

December 17th, 2010
10:37 am

The Republicans are not and have never been serious about the deficit. Of course, I dont think they are serious about anything except their own reelections.

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
10:38 am

Rightwing stalwart? Thats a first to me. He’s not exactly the “model” Republican you make him out to be. More poor reporting from an amateur.

TheAtleeAppeal

December 17th, 2010
10:41 am

CT, you and the rest of the media are trying to portray this latest tax bill as a spending bill because it “adds to the deficit”. Truth is, it’s not even remotely close to that. Current tax rates will remain the same for the next two years. How does keeping a tax rate add to the deficit? Truth is, it doesn’t. The only thing adding more money to the deficit is Washington spending more money than it is bringing in – by both Democrats and Republicans. The deficit is strictly spending related.

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
10:41 am

Cynthia,

This is not a spending bill, this is a tax cut measure. The addition to the debt is from the overspending taking place.

JKL2

December 17th, 2010
10:42 am

Is that why he had to bring in Clinton to take over while he went out partying with Michelle?

99er and then some.

December 17th, 2010
10:43 am

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A PART OF THIS BILL.

granny godzilla

December 17th, 2010
10:44 am

I’m looking forward to kickin’ some right wing tail in 2012.

Senior Citizen Kane

December 17th, 2010
10:44 am

Interesting story on Page One of the AJC this morning on the business owner who couldn’t hire people for janitorial jobs because they’d rather sit home and collect unemployment. I thought it was only us wingnuts who believed that.

Jimmy62

December 17th, 2010
10:45 am

This is the same old Congress. The election was only a month ago, and the new people aren’t sworn in till February. Maybe you should wait for them to take office before you call them hypocrites.

Besides, the Democrats insane omnibus spending bill went down in flames. Maybe you should talk about how many Democrats wanted to pass that load of crap, despite the obvious gigantic problems with it. Ahh, but that would defeat your narrative, that the left can do no wrong….

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
10:46 am

You can spin it all you want, Obama still has done nothing. This would not be passing right now if not for Republicans. After it got to the House, Dems started throwing in all kind of pork in an attempt to kill the bill. Didn’t happen. Obama is at the mercy of Republicans if he wants anything accomplished. The American people see who gets things done and what Obama has done and will do. He is finished.

JKL2

December 17th, 2010
10:47 am

If the Demwits are serious about the deficit, maybe they should try spending less. I love this baseline budgeting where it’s considered a “cut” if your percent of increase isn’t as high as you think it should have been. IE-keeping tax rates the same as they have been for 10 years is a cut for the rich(unless your a Demwit, then you where helping the middle class which also would have been effected).

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
10:48 am

Granny,

The only thing you’re gonna see in 2012 is more Republican gains in Georgia. More Republican gains in the House and Senate in Washington, and the defeat of that nut in the White House. Then ya’ll can go start crying the racism of Obama being voted out of office.

markie mark

December 17th, 2010
10:49 am

“the Democrats’ loss of the House was supposed to show that the tea partiers and their supporters were absolutely serious about getting the deficit under control.”

hmmmm….and the Democrats have now done WHAT with the Omnibus Spending Bill? Withdrawn it after the outcry? maybe the Tea Party (notice I didnt say Republicans) has gotten some attention after all…..

and your thoughts on Obama’s rebound?….good luck with that….

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 17th, 2010
10:53 am

Good morning all. I am a fan of Krauthammer – he qualifies as a neoconservative, as a reformed democrat. His argument – on the magnitude of the stimulus in the rescission of the tax increase – is ludicrous, as he includes unconfiscated wealth as a “stimulus.” On the larger point, “Obama as comeback kid,” I think Mr. Krauthammer swings and misses again.

I concede that the President is probably near his low point, and seemingly can only go up. It is not a certainty that he will elect to do so, however. By my measure he turned the tax deal into a personal lose-lose, by calling his republican partners “hostage takers,” and calling his democrat base-supporters everything but a white man.

My measure for worst president ever is the Carter administration. (Probably glossing over Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan, there, but that is a side story.) President Carter got three and a half things right in his four years: (1) Abolished ICC,, (2) Effectively abolished CAB, (3) Effectively abolished FRS Reg Q, each for a full point, and we assign a half point for the Camp David Accords (no real benefit to US, but it created a generation of peace where none existed before.)

So far Chauncey has a half-point, for his decision last December to continue the Afghan surge. While that would merit a whole point on its own, the fact that he took three months to make a no-brainer requires a penalty. Thus, by my measure, he has 24 months to score three times, to equal the worst in recent history.

james

December 17th, 2010
10:54 am

granny @ 10:44- “kicking some tail” that political football statement is what is wrong with the country today.

how about kicking unemployment, kicking cancer, kicking poverty, kicking child abuse, oh well- everyone has to have a passion.

Keep up the good fight!

December 17th, 2010
10:55 am

Well let’s see. An employer pays below the poverty level and offers no benefits and its “proof” that unemployed are lazy, even though a number of people did apply and take jobs. But its not “proof” that maybe he is a inefficient provider of services, that he is not competitive in wages, or that rational people would perhaps rather work another job in their area. Absolutely no evidence provided that anyone on unemployment investigated this job and turned it down because they would rather no work.

Sorry, its a news story with a point of view. Not proof of all the variables and factors. But it works better for your world view to spin it.

Fletch

December 17th, 2010
11:00 am

Instead of awarding points to either side, would it be possible on focusing on getting the BEST QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL on the ballot for 2012. And by best qualified I mean someone who truly represents the interests of the country and it’s citizens as a whole. Not for a select few or for their “party”. I wouldn’t care if they came from the Left, the Right, the Tea party or from outer space. Just please no more of the hypocritical BS that has become the norm over tha last decade.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 17th, 2010
11:02 am

Dear Fletch @ 11:00, I thought Chauncey was supposed to be the BEST QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL? Its the old foxes and hedgehogs theory. Give me a solid hedgehog every time.

Fletch

December 17th, 2010
11:05 am

Ragnar -”I thought Chauncey was supposed to be the BEST QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL?”

I never bought into that. I will concede that he would have been better than a McCain Palin administration, but then I didn’t vote for either since I have yet to see a candiate that isnt wholly influenced by their party. and in my opinin the only difference between the two is the color of their banner.

The theory of voting for the “lesser of two evils” just pisses me off. If my choice is between a Ford Pinto or a Yugo, I’d rather save my money and take the bus.

DannyX

December 17th, 2010
11:06 am

So Tea Party, how are you going to pay for the 112 billion dollar Social Security tax holiday?

By demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate? Maybe you can earn a quarter every time someone calls Obama a Muslim.

Perhaps a “Keep your Government hands off my Social Security tax holiday” sign will do the trick.

SmittyATL

December 17th, 2010
11:07 am

Wow, the New Comeback Kid has shown that he can cut a deal to increase the deficit even more. Sorry, but I don’t feel like congratulating him for that dubious achievement.

You can blame the congressional Republicans if you want, but neither they nor Obama had any choice but to reach a compromise deal that neither side was comfortable with. Yes, the Republicans say they want to reduce the deficit; but they also say that increasing tax rates will hinder any economic recovery, potentially reducing government revenues over the long term. The only surefire way to reduce the deficit is to cut spending.

Halftrack

December 17th, 2010
11:08 am

CT; This bill does not add 700 billion to the deficit. The government has being doing without this money for 10 years. It’s still the people’s money. The only increase in the deficit is for the SSI tax furlough and Extended Jobless benefits. The hypocrisy is that this would have been a tax hike on everyone. Poor people don’t create jobs and this administration doesn’t know how either. Not passing this bill would have caused double digit joblessness.

TheAtleeAppeal

December 17th, 2010
11:09 am

Keep up the Good Fight: You said regarding the front page article on AJC: “But its not “proof” that maybe he is a inefficient provider of services, that he is not competitive in wages, or that rational people would perhaps rather work another job in their area.”

Unless I misread the article, the company that had job openings was a janatorial service provider and needed some more people to mop floors and urine soaked toilets at $8 an hour. There are absolutely zero skills needed to use a broom or a mop, so naturally a job that doesn’t require anything won’t pay much. Also, janatorial service companies don’t operate with comfortable profit margins. Companies aren’t willing to pay top dollar for a minor service. With small margins, benefits aren’t something to expect as a costodian. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are currently unemployed and don’t exactly qualify for much else than scrubbing toilets (every person standing at every on ramp begging for change). Don’t blame the employer for “non competitive wages” for a job that simply can’t offer competitive wages.

Fletch

December 17th, 2010
11:09 am

SmittyATL – “The only surefire way to reduce the deficit is to cut spending.”

Telling a politician to cut spending is like telling a crack addict to just say no.

Sounds great in a commercial, but in practice does no good.

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
11:11 am

DannyX,

Do you realize that the tax holiday will pump money directly into the economy and help to spur some growth. For some it may not seem like much, but for others it will help greatly. Every little bit helps in these times.

DannyX

December 17th, 2010
11:11 am

“Yes, the Republicans say they want to reduce the deficit; ”

There is absolutely no proof of this. NONE. Not now, not based on recent history, and not based on past history.

Nada

Keep your Government hands off my Social Security tax holiday!!!!

Fletch

December 17th, 2010
11:12 am

Georgian,

I gree with that. Although our employees will reap more of the benefit than we will, it’s ALWAYS good to take care of the people that actually do the work and keep the wheels on the bus.

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
11:13 am

Fletch,

You mean telling a Democrat to cut spending is like telling a crack addict to just say no.

Just correcting your error.

Republicans are asking for cuts to spending. Democrats are adding it to bills bc they do not like it.

MS TUCKER IS A UNCLE TOM HOUSE IGGA

December 17th, 2010
11:14 am

YEAH RIGHT CYNT!

Fletch

December 17th, 2010
11:16 am

Georgian – “You mean telling a Democrat to cut spending is like telling a crack addict to just say no.”

No need for correction, as my statement originally said – “POLITICIAN” I showed neither support nor approval of either side.

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
11:17 am

Fletch,

Anytime we have a chance to help Americans that need the extra tax break in their paycheck, we need to do it.

Fletch

December 17th, 2010
11:18 am

Georgian,

I agree. We’ve always operated under the premise that our employees are a commodity and not a liability. I have no problem with them getting a break in the SS deductions.

TheAtleeAppeal

December 17th, 2010
11:18 am

Georgian,

Republicans may be asking for spending cuts, but there are still plenty of Republicans who are all talk about this and no action (Brown, Snowe, Collins, Graham…) Democrats are just juiced up Republicans when it comes to spending. Now that Republicans will have control of the House, where all spending bills originate, we will get to see first hand if this new batch of Republicans will actually take to heart what the voters have demanded. In the mean time, I’ll believe it when I see it.

The Nerve

December 17th, 2010
11:19 am

“I’m looking forward to kickin’ some right wing tail in 2012″

LOL…I guess it’s ok when a liberal only wants to defeat the right wing….tell us again how you feel about some of the Republican’s saying they want to do everything they can to make sure Obama is defeated?

Nice spin CT. Repubs actually did something while the Dems sit in the corner and pout and throw a temper tantrum. While I don’t agree with everything that was included in this bill, at least it was something in a positive direction and the Republicans showed some ioda of ability to actually lead. And please oh please, enough with the “adding to the defecit” because we didn’t tax the rich people more. Please show an ounce of intellectual honesty and add in ALL of the supposed “increases” in the defecit if all of the tax rates had been increased. By not increaseing the tax rates, everyone has supposedly added to the defecit, not just the evil rich. Enough of your class warfare poutrage.

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
11:19 am

Fletch,

Oh I know you said politician, but the truth remains that Republicans stand committed to reducing spending by cutting wasteful fluff, while Dems wish to add to that. When Republicans keep tax rates the same, instead of increasing them in an economic nightmare, Dems claim Repubs are adding to the deficit by spending more. Which is not anywhere close to true.

james

December 17th, 2010
11:22 am

KUTGF/the Atle- uh, we didn’t spin it- the AJC did. Humor abounds with the “urine soaked” toilet versus toilets not used to pee in?? too funny.

To the far left- Obama has moved just like Clinton and the wonderful middle is cheering. You chaps can go back to sitting in your glass house, drinking martinis, and stewing over folks praying, wanting to help others independently of the government, working hard, wanting laws respected- you know those wild things middle Americans do.

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
11:22 am

Fletch,

The reason SS is in such trouble is not bc of the money put in it from our paycheck, its the money the government mismanages when its put in there.

Suckers

December 17th, 2010
11:23 am

How about kickin Granny out of the unemployment-foodstamp-Obamagubbamintmoney line?

Kamchak

December 17th, 2010
11:24 am

Keep up the good fight!

December 17th, 2010
11:24 am

Atlee…Ummm competitive is relative to the competition. — other similiar skilled jobs. There is not even proof that other companies dont offer more or pay the same. Or that this company’s profit margins are lower or higher than others. If they are higher, that could be the problem. So the story is just that…a story and unproven claims

Of course, the capitalist model also assumes rational deciders. Nothing to show that rational deciders for any number of reasons gave this one a pass. Some deciders apparently made the rational decision to work.

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
11:25 am

TheAtleeAppeal,

Talk certainly is cheap. Republicans elected will be held accountable for the decisions they make in the upcoming Congress. However, many of the attempts by Republicans will be blocked by both the President and Dem Senate majority. We’ll see if they (Obama and Dem Senators) are more interested in their lib agendas or the will of the American people.

Georgian

December 17th, 2010
11:29 am

Kam,

Republicans are #1 most focused on cutting overspending by your pals the liberals and keeping our taxes from increasing to line their Washington pockets. That is what they are after. Cutting spending and keeping taxes the same is the only way we will reduce the deficit and see economic growth.

Fletch

December 17th, 2010
11:29 am

Georgian – “The reason SS is in such trouble is not bc of the money put in it from our paycheck, its the money the government mismanages when its put in there.”

I agree with that. What I’m saying, is that as business owners, we are still required to pay our full SS portion. The employees however will get a break on their end, which I think is a good thing.

As far as mismanaging the funds when it hits the Government trough, you will get no argument from me unless you try to paint it as one party being more reckless than the other.

I have always voted from the middle, so party lines mean nothing to me.

williebkind

December 17th, 2010
11:31 am

“The tax cut deal adds $700 billion to the deficit in the next two years alone”
Now that is not the governments money! It never was. My check does not belong to the government it belongs to me. The progressive liberal mindset is that all my money belongs to them and the government lets me have what it wants me to have. Do you suppose your “Come back Kid” was counting that money as his in the healthcare bill? Well he will be a helluva come back kid with no jobs and there are those who have jobs but have had no pay increases in four years. 10.1 percent unemployment but more like 19%. Democrats take back your party!

DannyX

December 17th, 2010
11:31 am

Any of you Tea Party people even read the 1924 page bill?

Dave

December 17th, 2010
11:32 am

From Dave Camp, incoming chairman of the ways and means committee:

“While this bill is not perfect, Congress made the right decision today to prevent a job-killing tax hike on Americans and small businesses. While I would prefer these provisions be extended permanently, this bill will give us some breathing room. Next year we should address the uncertainty in the tax code by passing fundamental tax reform so that families can thrive and employers can create jobs.”

So we’ll have to wait until at least next year for some real reform. Still not sure about the Constitutionality of way the bill was passed (ie, article I, section 7). I agree that the big story is the shelving of that monstrosity of a spending bill the outgoing Dems tried to pass before leaving.

Keep up the good fight!

December 17th, 2010
11:32 am

James…guess it goes to show that not everyone at the AJC is liberal and has a liberal slant as alleged time and time again.

TheAtleeAppeal

December 17th, 2010
11:34 am

KUTGF,

Your point about being competitive in regards to other companies in their industry is correct. However, I highly doubt you will find any company in the janitorial industry paying out over $10/hr plus benefits for that type of position. I do find it odd that this particular company claims to be having trouble filling these positions, however. With the percentage of today’s unemployed being overwhelmingly in the low-skilled category, one would think that a job paying $8/hr could be quickly filled – especially by the younger people.

williebkind

December 17th, 2010
11:34 am

“We’ll see if they (Obama and Dem Senators) are more interested in their lib agendas or the will of the American people.”

Their lib agendas comes first. The liberals have never had the will of the people upfront but simply the will of the minority in mind that is against anything Christain.