I’m going to take the President’s lunch money

Shoot the hostage

OK I’m going to kind of sort of agree with someone on Fox “News” here. So, you know, be warned.

The backstory here is that Obama pretty much caved completely to Republicans’ demands of extending Bush’s tax cuts for the rich, instead of just extending them to those making under something like $250,000 per year as Obama claimed he wanted. In a press conference, Obama framed this as if it were a deal made where Republicans conceded things, even though the “concessions” – extending unemployment benefits, for example – were things Republicans always eventually concede on without any real dealmaking necessary.

It’s not like Obama made a deal for the DREAM Act or START Treaty. He just voluntarily gave away all of his bargaining power for nothing, because that is how he rolls. It’s the same unilateral disarmament strategy he used for health insurance reform and the stimulus bill and pretty much everything else the administration has managed to kind of sort of halfway do the past 2 years. And now he’s held a press conference trying to defend his strategy to his critics, and that’s where things get interesting.

Media Matters has this video of James Rosen, Fox’s Washington correspondent on the Bill O’Reilly Happy Funtime Hour. At the end of the two minute clip, he says that Obama’s claim that his willingness to appease the Republicans stems from the danger Republicans put the country in by refusing to pass anything until they get tax cuts for the rich has national security implications. Obama made the comparison to a hostage situation where the Republicans were the hostage takers, their demands were tax cuts for the rich, and the hostages were the country as a whole.

So the national security implications Rosen’s referring to here is that Obama will apparently do whatever anyone wants as long as he perceives them as threatening the country. Another way of looking at this situation is that anyone can get the President of the United States to sign on to anything – even something he’s come out clearly against – simply by threatening the country, or even simply by making him believe they are doing so.

As a Murdoch employee, Rosen wants this to come off as frightening to people who are very afraid of terrorists (in which case I think he might not be thinking it through very well. After all, what does that say about the Republicans demanding the tax cuts? That they’re like terrorists?), but there’s no reason the problem he raises should be limited just to Muslim extremists and Republicans. Progressives could also exploit this vulnerability of the administration too. Maybe we should start doing that sometime instead of leaving it to the Republicans to do it first.

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