–The last-minute tax deal in Washington drives a wedge between a comparatively moderate Republican majority in the House of Representatives and an “end of days” fringe that cares little about the politics of compromise.
—The deal follows through exactly with what the president said he would do – make a deal that would minimally affect only a small minority of taxpayers.
–Begins to erode the ideological wasteland created by the Republican tax pledge to Grover Norquist.
—Offers evidence that the president can and will use the bully pulpit successfully in his second term.
The outcome is much better than the alternative of having allowed full tax hikes to kick in. True, the Republicans will try to marshal forces on spending cuts in two months. But crafty Democratic planning can cut them off at the pass.
If and when the Republican extreme right forces the issue of the debt ceiling, Republican moderates might be forced to cave once more. The moderates know that ruining American faith and credit is wrong – and bodes poorly for holding a majority in the House for 2014 elections.
From this perspective, it’s not a bad start to January for President Obama even before inauguration.
update: Meanwhile, Paul Krugman is saying that President Obama wimped out. I disagree. I think he worked with what he had