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Discussing Axelrod and Extending Tax Cuts for the Wealthy on MSNBC

I spoke with Lawrence O’Donnell and Howard Fineman on MSNBC last night, about David Axelrod’s assertion that the White House is ready to extend all the Bush tax cuts (something Axelrod tried to walk back yesterday):

O’DONNELL: So Jane there’s that word, “permanent.” It seems to me the door is wide open for a temporary extension of all these tax rates in all the brackets.

HAMSHER: Well, Barack Obama has been in trouble for governing two, five, seven and fourteen years into the future and not actually delivering things like health care to people today in a way that makes a difference in their lives. And you know, it’s “how many angels are dancing on the head of a pin?” Who knows what is going to happen two years from now? You’ve got a situation where David Axelrod, the guy who led the political operation that led to arguably the worst political defeat of our lifetimes for the Democrats last week, is saying one thing yesterday and then another thing today. Speak clearly to the American people. Be honest. Tell them what you think. President Obama believes that he has a communication problem and that’s what led to the defeat. This is more of that.  Bottom line: why does David Axelrod still have a job?


O’DONNELL: Jane, my sense of this is that they’ve made the calculation, probably with vote counting, possibly not, that they can’t get what they want in the Senate and they may not be able to get it in the House. What strategically would you suggest to the White House? I mean, Howard made the point that maybe they tipped their hand too early. But strategically, what would you say the Democrats– Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid — could do going forward?

HAMSHER: Look, Barack Obama is the quarterback and he called the play: “We’re not going to give tax cuts to the wealthy right now.” He had his deficit commission chairs report yesterday in that clown car report, and they’re making a big deal about how we have to be responsible about the deficit.  This is his chance to message clearly: We cannot afford to extend the deficit by seven hundred billion dollars over the next ten years to give tax cuts to millionaires Make people in the House and the Senate who are millionaires go in and say, “we’re going to cut Social Security for old people, we’re going to cut Medicare, but you know what? The one thing we’re going to make sure we have is expanding the deficit so that we don’t have to pay the taxes that you guys do.” Make that argument. Even if he loses — sometimes you win by losing. And at that point, what Democrats stand for and what Republicans stand for becomes clear. And if you’ve got Democrats joining Republicans, you know, then at least you’ve called them out. But you made a distinction, you stuck by what you believe in. And that’s what people want to see Barack Obama do.  There’s no leadership there.

I have no idea why there hasn’t been a shakeup in the White House, but the fact that Axelrod is still out there flubbing the messaging seems to indicate that they aren’t aware of the scope of the problem.

Compared to the bozos who put Obama in the position of having the trade deal fall apart when he’s in the country, I guess Axelrod still looks like a genius. I mean, I don’t support Korea “free trade” in any way, but I do know that if you’re going to do it, you keep the President out of the same hemisphere until it’s a done deal. What, did they think he’s their closer?

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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