While we're on the subject, it's obviously true that if there's anyone on whom to blame today's outcome -- with regards to tax cuts -- it's congressional Democrats. No one forced congressional Democrats to postpone the tax cut fight until after the midterms; that was a choice borne of fear, i.e., "don't make us argue about taxes before an election." It was entirely possible for congressional Democrats to follow the president's advice, and tackle tax cuts before the lame duck, while they still held the high ground. Liberals are justifiably frustrated with the president, but they should probably direct most of their ire to congressional Democrats.

Indeed, this holds true for many of Obama's big disappointments. No one forced Blue Dog Democrats to slash funding from the stimulus, and Senate Democrats weren't required to block Obama's plan for closing Gitmo, Max Baucus didn't have to hold out on the "Gang of Six," Ben Nelson could have held back on the "Cornhusker Kickback," and Russ Feingold could have swallowed his ego and voted for financial reform. On issue after issue, Obama tried to lead, and congressional Democrats refused to follow. Granted, that's democracy, and I don't begrudge parochial members for holding to parochial interests. But insofar if you're angry at Obama, you can't attack him without also forcing these Democrats to shoulder some of the blame.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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