In the wake of President Obama’s deal with Republican lawmakers regarding the negotiated package centering on the Bush tax cuts and an extension of unemployment benefits, protest was loud and long on the Democratic side of the aisle. And in a true “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” moment (well, actually, 517 of them—8 hours and 37 minutes altogether) on Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., voiced the disapproval of many Democrats and others in what many called a filibuster.
Sanders, however, wasn’t so quick to characterize his action that way, saying instead that what he was doing was “tak[ing] as long as I can to explain to the American people the fact that we have got to do a lot better than this agreement provides.”
In the speech he gave, Sanders pointed out the expense involved in extending the Bush tax cuts for another two years, as well as the cost of a negotiated change in the estate tax. He also pointed out that a number of billionaires were opposed to the renewal of the tax cuts for their bracket, and criticized the payroll tax holiday as a dangerous step for the future of Social Security.
That wasn’t the only extraordinary event on Friday. Politics as theater continued as former President Bill Clinton and Obama gave a joint press conference in the White House briefing room to tout the tax cut package. Then Obama headed out to attend a Christmas party, leaving Clinton holding down the fort and answering questions not just about the tax package but also about Obama.