MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann let the world know Tuesday that he is not a fan of President Barack Obama’s deal with Republicans to extend tax cuts for the richest Americans.
Quoting Winston Churchill, the MSNBC host began his “Special Comment” by saying that the Obama administration had been “weighed in the balance and found wanting.”
Olbermann called Republicans “ultimately traitorous” for pushing the theory that tax cuts for the rich will create jobs. Democratic senators have pointed to studies that say extending those upper-income tax cuts won’t help the economy.
In return for the tax cuts, the White House got an extension of unemployment benefits for 13 months.
“In exchange for this searing and transcendent capitulation, the President got just 13 months of extended benefits for those unemployed less than 100 weeks,” Olbermann said. “And he got nothing — absolutely nothing — for those unemployed for longer — the 99ers.”
Considering that Democrats still hold a majority in the House and the Senate, many in the party are scratching their heads at what they see as a Republican victory. “This President negotiates down from a position of strength better than any politician in our recent history,” Olbermann continued.
The liberal host had some advice for how Obama should have handled the negotiation.
“Let the law expire as scheduled in 24 days. Let all the tax breaks go, and when the Republicans take over the House and try to pass them anew, if they somehow are not stopped in the Senate, veto anything that does not keep tax cuts for the middle class and unemployment benefits as the dog, and perks for the rich as the tail. The GOP is still terrified of being blamed for cutting off the unemployed. You take that fact and you break them with it,” he said.
But Olbermann seemed most upset by an administration official that tried to sell him on the deal.
“I pointed out that that was fine, except that — as I phrased it to him — ‘frankly the base has just vanished,’” Olbermann recalled. “‘Well,’ he replied, ‘then they must not have read the details.’”
“There, in a nutshell, is this Administration. They didn’t make a bad deal — we just don’t understand it,” Olbermann observed.
“Mr. President how we totally betrayed your Administration by not concluding our prayers every night by saying ‘Thank you for preventing another Great Depression, you are entitled to skate along on your own wonderfulness indefinitely and if you get less than you could have on Health Care Reform or taxes, well, that’ll be okay, we’re happy to pay $10,000 for a $300 car because hey, it could’ve been $20,000, right?” Olbermann asked sarcastically.
“And because we only expect you to do one thing correctly during a presidency and you had pretty much cleared that obligation when it proved that you were, indeed, not John McCain.’”
“We have enabled this President, and his compromises-spinning-within-compromises. And now there are, finally, those within his own party who have said ‘enough.’ In the Senate, the Independent, Mr. Sanders has threatened to filibuster this deal. He deserves the support of every American in doing so, as does Mr. Conyers and Mr. McDermott and the others in the house,” he noted.
“It is not disloyalty to the Democratic party to tell a Democratic president he is wrong; it is not disloyalty to tell him he is goddamned wrong,” Olbermann exclaimed.
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Dec. 7, 2010.