The primary goal of President Obama’s presser, which just wrapped up, was obvious: He was clearly out to pick a major public fight with Republicans over tax cuts for the rich. Obama mounted a surprisingly aggressive moral case for ending high end tax cuts, casting it as a test of our society’s priorities, and argued — crucially — that anyone who fails to support ending them is fundamentally unserious about the deficit.
He also went out of his way to highlight GOP opposition to raising revenues by ending a perk for corporate jet owners. This proposal would raise only $3 billion, which means it’s trivial in the larger scheme of things, and Obama’s mention of it seemed deliberately designed to provoke howls of outrage and cries of “class warfare” from Republicans — with the obvious goal of maneuvering Republicans into the role of arch defenders of the interests of the wealthy.
Obama is picking this fight in order to reframe the deficit and debt ceiling debate as a battle not over government spending — losing turf for Dems — but over who has the most balanced priorities and who is really working in the interests of the whole country.
And it's long time past for this as well. These are the arguments Obama should have been making in January, and making them at this volume. Republicans don't care about the deficit. They care about transferring money for social programs to the poor and for seniors to create more tax cuts for the rich. That's it. That's the whole damn thing.
So now, finally, Obama has thrown this gauntlet in the face of the Republicans who walked out like petulant babies from debt ceiling talks. Good. They only deserve national scorn right now.
More of this, Democrats.