HAS THE HARD LEFT gone completely daffy, talking smack about President Obama's compromise with (they say surrender to) Republicans?

As they see it, Obama's giving the richest Americans an undeserved tax break.

As I read it, the rich will continue getting an undeserved tax break, but in exchange for:

  • Retaining the tax break for the middle class.
  • Extending unemployment payments 13 months.
  • Gaining a 2 percent payroll-tax reduction.
  • Continuing a college-tuition tax credit and expanding the earned income-tax credit.

It's not what the president wanted, it's not what he promised, but what did his critics expect? Obama's bargaining position was as good as Custer's at the Little Bighorn.

Republicans were holding a middle-class tax cut "hostage" to retain the top-income break. It was a two-fer, a package deal.

I'll bet only 1 percent of you get the extension of the tax cut for the rich, but 90 percent of you benefit from the tax break for the middle class. (The remaining 9 percent? Lower-income people who can still afford a newspaper.)

The debate focuses on the middle class and the rich because almost half of all Americans, mostly on the lower rungs, don't pay any federal income tax.

Yet Hard-Left Democrats screamed bloody murder that the president compromised (or "wimped out," as some said). Many congressional Dems are complaining, too.

Here's an allegory for you:

Little Johnny asked for a Tonka truck and was delighted as he tore the bright wrapping paper off the big box on Christmas morning. He was delirious with joy until . . .

He noticed Little Jane got the Barbie she had wanted and a hairstyling kit.

Johnny whined that Jane got more than he did. His mother said: "You got what you wanted. Why is it a problem that Jane got what she wanted, too?"

In this scenario, Johnny is the Left, Jane is the rich and Mother is . . . me.

* * *

If I'm hearing them correctly, liberals wanted the president to "fight," even though he didn't have the Senate votes to win. Liberals worry that if Obama compromises (they say "caves") this time, he may do it again. That's possible.

Do they remember that he compromised to get the stimulus and ObamaCare? Maybe, but Hard Leftists bitched that the stimulus wasn't big enough and that health care lacked the public option. Nothing short of perfection pleases the Instant Gratification wing of the Democratic Party.

What's the point of fighting a battle you can't win? Would you call for an artillery strike on your own position?

Paul Krugman would. The New York Times liberal economic columnist wrote, "If GOP intransigence means that taxes rise at the end of this month, so be it."

He wants Obama to fly that kamikaze mission in a plane that you pay for.

The Hard Left suffers from an excess of ideological sanctimony. (Secretly, they enjoy it.) Like the Shaker religious sect that rejected all sexual relations, they will allow their heart-felt beliefs to lead them into extinction.

At least five "progressive" organizations are calling for Senate Democrats to kill the Obama deal, which would also kill the middle-class tax cut. That's like Little Johnny throwing a tantrum - and his Tonka truck out of his bedroom window.

Sane Democrats have to stand up, be the adult and tell Little Johnny that throwing tantrums doesn't help Obama, the American people or their chances to keep the White House in 2012.

E-mail stubyko@phillynews.com or call 215-854-5977. For recent columns: