“They hate Obama so much they are willing to raise taxes!” — Andrew Sullivan on the GOP
A strange thing happened Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill. As Rep. Stenny Hoyer (D-MD) attempted to call for a vote to extend a payroll tax cut to middle class and working Americans, his Republican colleagues adjourned the House and walked out of the chamber. And if that weren’t odd enough, it got even stranger: As Hoyer railed against them for failing to help working Americans, footage from C-SPAN went silent, then cut away. Moments later, C-SPAN took to the Internet to explain that it wasn’t their doing, but someone working for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
VIDEO: (The feed is cut off at 1:31):
“House Republicans say they don’t dispute the need for a payroll tax cut. What they are holding out for is to ring concessions from Democrats on issues that have nothing to do with the payroll tax cut — issues where the parties fundamentally disagree. A one year deal is not the issue…
The clock is ticking. Time is running out. And if the House Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate bill, or even allow it to come up for a vote, taxes will go up in 11 days.
I saw today that one of the House Republicans referred to what they’re doing as “high stakes poker.” He’s right about the stakes. But this is not poker….This is not a game for the average family who doesn’t have 1,000 bucks to lose. It’s not a game for somebody who’s out there looking for work right now, and might lose his house if unemployment insurance doesn’t come through. It’s not a game when the millions of Americans take a hit when the entire economy grows more slowly because these proposals aren’t extended…
I’m calling on the Speaker and the House Republican leadership to bring up the Senate bill for a vote. Give the American people the assurance they need in this holiday season.”
No one disagrees at this point that the politics of the payroll tax stand-off is awful for Republicans. But in the midst of that realization there is chatter from folks at the Journal and a lot of flotsamy pundits to the effect that it is a dramatic political failure that Republicans have managed to make President Obama into the champion of tax cuts for average Americans.
To say that it is a stunning political failure suggests that the impression is wildly out of line with objective reality. But that’s not true. The President has been pushing middle and lower-middle class tax relief as the most viable (at least the most politically viable) path for stimulus. He’s redoubled on it in the last six months. But it was actually a major part of his original stimulus bill that passed with no Republican support in the House and virtually none in the Senate. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans have been pushing a mix of budget cutting and tax cuts for high income voters. And they still are.
FINALLY: THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AREN’T AS DUMB AS FOX NEWS WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE, AFTER ALL:
- Newt Gingrich offered some support to House Republicans in Iowa by saying Senate Democrats performed a “total dereliction of duty” when they extended the holiday for only two months. (ThinkProgress) As if no one is paying attention…
- The GOP-led House is holding the payroll tax cut hostage because of Big Oil and Coal regulation. (UTMB) It’s not about 2 months vs. one year.
- Mitt Romney dismissed the issue as an “internal battle,” “deep in the weeds,” and “sausage making.” (ThinkProgress) There’s leadership for you!!
- Even Karl “GOP uber-strategist” Rove is advising House Republicans to pass the Senate’s two-month payroll tax holiday extension because “they’ve already lost the optics on it.” (ThinkProgress) Politics above everything.