I can understand anyone for whom deficit reduction is a priority being unhappy about this result. And I can understand that almost everyone can find something not to like in it. What I have more trouble understanding are the people saying that this represents a capitulation of one side to the other. It looks more like both sides are getting what they want, at the expense of letting the other side get what they want. Negotiators call this a "win-win" solution.
And for those who enjoy the white board presentation, here it is, also courtesy of the White House:
I have an even simpler explanation, which I taught my kids when they were about two years old. They were trained to answer the question, "What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats?" by saying, "Republicans take from the poor and give to the rich, and Democrats take from the rich and give to the poor." It has always seemed to me that if we appreciate that basic difference in philosophy, politics becomes a lot easier to understand. With respect to the tax cut compromise, this difference may explain why a lot of people on both sides are unhappy. Although the agreement satisfies each side's desire to give to their favored group, it does not satisfy their desire to take from the disfavored group. But in the spirit of the season, maybe it would be best just to celebrate the giving aspect of this solution.