In February of 2008, machinist union president Tom Buffenbarger unleashed a rip-roaring endorsement of Hillary Clinton combined with an even rip-roaring-er assault on Barack Obama:
I've got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies crowding in to hear him speak! This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine. He's a poet, not a fighter.
In the wake of Obama's tax deal, some liberals are hailing Buffenbarger as a prophet -- or, in Keith Olbermann's phrase, a "Nostradamus":
President Obama‘s decision not the just to agree to Republican demands on the tax deal but to shot out congressional Democrats of the negotiations then tell them to take it or leave it, has revived claims by some of his critics on this news hour and elsewhere that the president does not put up enough of a fight, at least not against Republicans.
So I guess Buffenbarger was right: we really needed the tough-fighting Democrat who couldn't spell "Birkenstock" and whose blood type is "Budweiser."
The wee problem with this logic, however, is that Clinton's chief political advisor -- who has been berating Obama for two years for his insufficient deference to business and the rich -- is applauding the deal:
Democrats should move quickly to back the president on the tax bill or risk turning themselves into a minority party in Congress for a long time to come. By becoming reverse tax protesters (chanting "raise taxes"), the liberals are sending out all the wrong messages to a country that overwhelmingly backs the key elements of the bipartisan deal the president struck.
Obama took the first step this week in seeking to save his floundering presidency by moving to the center. His execution was far from perfect but his actions were sound.
When Penn says Obama's "execution was far from perfect," I'm guessing he meant Obama was too critical of the merits of tax cuts for the rich in defending his compromise. Also, Bill Clinton took the rare step of holding a joint presidential news conference to defend the deal.
In sum, Buffenbarger was not right at all.