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Moskovskiy Komsomolets, Russia

President Obama as the
Mythological Antaeus

By Melor Sturua

Translated By Olga Kerzhner

7 December 2012

Edited by Kath­leen Weinberger

Russia - Moskovskiy Komsomolets - Original Article (Russian)

As you know, the mythological Antaeus, son of the earth goddess Gaia, was invincible. When an opponent knocked him down, his mother Gaia poured new strength into him, and Antaeus got up and defeated the enemy. On Dec. 6, President Barack Obama decided to follow in Antaeus’s footsteps. In other words, he went to the people.

His opponents – the Republican majority in the House of Representatives – are putting up an increasingly bitter fight over the so-called "fiscal cliff," which the country is nearing. The Republican majority in the House is fighting tooth and nail for the one percent of Americans, not wanting to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. Barack Obama’s victory in the presidential election gives him a mandate to pass this increase in taxes on the super rich, but not increase taxes on the so-called 99%, which is compromised of the middle class and the poor.

President Obama has divided his time between the so far fruitless talks with House Speaker Boehner and so-called public diplomacy. That's what he did in Philadelphia, where he campaigned for his tax policy. On Thursday, Obama went to a middle-class home in the city of Falls Church, Virginia, which is nine miles from Washington, D.C. There he visited the Santana family, who he said suffer from the ongoing debate between the Democrats and the Republicans. Going over the "cliff" would be costly for the middle class. The Santanas, for example, would lose $2,000 in a year, and the entire American middle class would lose $200 billion.

The lady of the house, Tiffany Santana, who teaches English at a high school, is a member of the My2K movement, which is gaining ground in social media. The White House is behind this campaign, which encourages Americans to write their Congress members about how a tax increase will affect their quality of life. The Santana family consists of a husband, a wife and a six-year-old son. But Tiffany’s parents live with them too, which means that their taxes will increase by another $2,000. This is why the family is so interested in a solution to the “fiscal cliff” problem.

Summing up his visit with the Santana family, the President said, “The message that I got from Tiffany and the message that I think we all want to send to members of Congress is this is a solvable problem.” Before Obama visited the Santanas, the White House posted a video dedicated to the family’s budget, and after the visit it posted photos of the President discussing tax problems with the Santanas in their living room. The video had a detailed analysis of the family’s monthly expenses, and the reasons why they are supporting Obama’s project.

Next week, Obama will again touch the earth, this time in Detroit. Obama timed these excursions to coincide with the Congress vacation, when its members go home and meet face-to-face with their constituents.

But before traveling to the car capital of America, the President and his family lit up the White House National Christmas tree on Thursday. This tradition is already 90 years old. It goes back to the days of the Calvin Coolidge presidency. President Obama used this event to put pressure on the stubborn Republicans as well. In particular, he said, “In times of war and peace, triumph and tragedy, we’ve always come together to rejoice in the Christmas miracle. But our tree has been having a hard time recently – this is our third one in as many years. Our longstanding tree was lost in a storm, and then its replacement didn’t take hold. It just goes to show, nobody’s job is safe here in Washington. But I feel good about this one. It was planted just days before Hurricane Sandy, and it made it through the storm in one piece.”

In this case, the White House decided not to comment on Obama’s allegory. All Americans understand its moral anyway. President Obama will weather the tax storm in a Congress that’s advocating for the one percent, and will emerge even stronger, like Antaeus, who touched Gaia – Mother Earth.



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