President Obama’s Compromise

Obama’s endorsement of a compromise that will extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy has set many progressives and radicals into a rage—and rightly so.  As Obama continues to deride the “professional left” as being too ideologically pure, the left recognizes the real-life consequences—not just abstract principles—that these tax cuts promote. There have been some great responses from progressives today, but I especially liked this blog by Kai Wright (Editor of ColorLines) for The Nation. Here is an excerpt:

Just after calling his fellow Democrats sanctimonious for defending a core principle they’ve campaigned on for a decade, the president proceeded to tick off examples of principled compromises in American history—FDR taking what he could get on Social Security, LBJ starting small with Medicare. Then he made this stunning remark:

“This country was founded on compromise. I couldn’t go through the front door at this country’s founding. And if we were really thinking about ideal positions, we wouldn’t have a union.”

Mr. President, WTF?! Which one of the “compromises” that allowed a slave republic to endure from more than a century is he celebrating here? Perhaps the one where black people were counted as a fraction of humans in order to preserve a balance of power that allowed Northern and Southern aristocrats alike to get rich off of murderous slave labor? No, we wouldn’t have had a union without that. Or maybe he’s pitching forward to the “compromises” of the post-Reconstruction era, when the white capitalists of the North got too spooked by white laborers’ demands for reasonable wages, and so abandoned the promises of Emancipation. That, too, kept the union plowing forward—into another century of apartheid and state-sanctioned terrorism.

Read Kai Wright’s full piece “Obama’s Bizarre Celebration of a Slave Republic’s ‘Compromises'” at

–Rosamund Hunter

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