Why can't the President understand that the Republicans are not going to play nice -- not going to be "non-partisan" adults? How many times does one have one's face shoved into the sidewalk before one understands what's happening?
The PTR and its Tea Screamer friends are going to gut every program he holds dear, and will try to undercut anything that might redound to his favor in 2012. They will do this regardless of the worth of the programs, and regardless of the cost. That's because they want to win next election. Pigs like the Kochs and Murdoch are not going to compromise, and have absolutely no interest in what's good for the vast majority of Americans or for America itself. Their goal is to cut all regulation of corporate activity and profit.
So what does Obama do? He helps their cause by "pre" cutting programs like community block grants and home-heating assistance for the poor. These have nothing to do with budget deficits, but everything to do with making life reasonable for the non-wealthy. He has gained nothing by selling out so many of the powerless. It's like cutting off your neighbor's fingers in order to appease a hungry tiger. If he believes it will buy him good will, he's a fool; if he doesn't, than what's the point?
Meanwhile, the Republicans want to set back workers' rights about a century. I have no doubt that if and when they control the federal government again, they and their pals on the Supreme Count will have no compunctions about totally destroying collective bargaining (as well as environmental protection, drug and meat inspections etc.) Then working people will have to re-organize all over, but with much more formidable opposition from a high-tech police state and corporate control over campaign finance. I am still waiting for Obama to signal some real outrage at what's happening in Wisconsin. I'm still waiting for some real mass opposition from unions throughout the U.S. Haven't heard too much.
When the Air Traffic Controllers' Union was busted by Reagan, no one really complained -- after all, they were highly paid, right? The hard-working UPS employees managed to eke out an important win in 1997, but most unions have declined in the past half-century. The news hacks have been reporting gleefully how the percentage of union members in the labor force has been declining until it's nearly in the single digits (see THIS from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Municipal workers, including teachers, firefighters and the police, who have the highest rate of union membership, are currently under attack by Republican governors and legislatures; if they are busted, every working person in the U.S. had better start being very nervous.
Hardly anyone remembers what it was like before unions won the important battles against sweatshops, child labor and oppressive and dangerous working conditions. Guess what? We're headed back to those days.
I don't think Obama and the Dems are going to protect us very much: they're too busy waiting for a non-partisan pat on the back. Snookered again.