I've listened to a variety of commentary on Obama's Tax Cut ransom "Framework" with the hostage takers (AKA Republicans).
What stands out for me is the Rachel Maddow show of 12/7/10 with Simon Johnson and Senator Sherrod Brown (D) OH. Three things stand out in particular: 1) People falling for Obama's rhetoric and concluding "he did the right thing under the circumstances", 2) Obama's list of what the Republicans supposedly "gave up" in this deal, like Childcare Tax Credits, College Tuition Tax Credits. But these were tax cuts added to Obama's earlier stimulus package to presumably attract Republican vote (in other words, the Reeps didn't "give these up") , and 3) Sherrod Brown's convincing scenario of the "fighting" path Democrats could have taken if the White House had coordinated a strategy with the Hill; a messaging campaign, taking the Reeps to the brink and making them blink at the 11th hour. He's convinced that the extension of unemployment benefits would have passed... without all of the other capitulations, like changes to inheritance taxes that will further polarize wealth in our Country.
I think Hugo Chavez was right: Obama is a prisoner. Even if Sherrod Brown's scenario didn't play out, at the 11.5th hour they could have caved... but they didn't really fight for it.
I know some say that the Reeps also held other legislation hostage until they ransomed the tax cuts for the rich, like "don't ask," but if the Dems want to frame and control the message, then they need to let the Reeps dangle in the breeze before paying the hostage ransom.