I helped end the Bush tax cuts for the rich

MoveOn sent me an email telling me that I helped end the Bush tax cuts for the rich.  This is what MoveOn wanted me to share on the web.

I joined over 250,000 MoveOn member and progressives calling for President Obama to veto any extension the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans–and he just made a public commitment to do it! Share this victory for the 99% with your friends, family, and co-workers.

When I posted this to my Facebook page, I added the comment:

Unfortunately, didn’t Obama back out of that commitment the last time? I will breathe easier when he actually does the veto as promised.

After receiving some psuh back on that remark, I explained why I made it.

Fairly early in life I recognized a principle that I have stuck to. “Never make a threat that you won’t be willing to carry out if developments take you to the threshold you warned about.” There must be some equivalent idea in poker.

Once you have backed down from carrying out a threat, then no threat in the future will carry any weight. So, if you have any doubts about your ability to carry out the threat, do not make it.

If your opposition knows from past experience that you operate under that principle, they will take your words more seriously.

Otherwise, they know your spine is weak and they can walk all over you. I can’t count the number of times I have emailed the President about this, and how many times he has been walked all over because he won’t take any advice.

So am I supposed to pretend that this threat is serious? Should I be willing to look like a fool in front of the opposition, by pretending that I believe these threats?

This isn’t just about Obama’s credibility anymore. This is now about my credibility. That is why I take his failures personally.

I will now add a new law to this blog,  Greenberg’s Law Of Idle Threats.  “Never make a threat you don’t intend to carry out.  If you have any doubts about your ability to carry out the threat, do not make it.”


“If you never test the opposition about whether they make idle threats, then you enable them to ignore this law.”

How many people remember George Bush’s threat, “Read my lips, No New Taxes.”  Remember how he was ridiculed in and lost his bid for re-election because of his failure to carry out his threat?

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