Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just Say "Oops" and Get Out (The House GOP Payroll Tax Cut Fiasco Edition)

What the hell happened? How is it that the Republican "We'll-Slit-Our-Wrists-Before-We-Raise-Taxes-All-Hail-Grover-Norquist" Party found themselves on the wrong side of a tax cut issue?
House Republicans have privately offered up the terms of their surrender on the payroll tax cut, pending sign off from their notoriously unwieldy caucus...
...After conceding for weeks, the Dems finally said this far and no further — and actually meant it. You read that right.
And there is the crux of the issue. For the last year, Republicans decided that to defeat President Obama in 2012, they were going to be the Party of No, even on issues with which they agreed. They would grind the gears of government to a halt, economy and the American people be damned, just to regain control of the White House with whatever clown du jour would rise to the top of the GOP primary elections.

And for a while it worked. The President, whether you agreed with him or not, would make compromises with the intransigent Republicans because unlike them, he wasn't prepared to throw his fellow Americans under the bus. Some called it "pragmatism," some called it "caving." Either way, President Obama never stopped trying to make it work. He never walked away from the table, unlike others.

But there's a problem when you go all-in on every hand. Eventually, your bluff is going to be called. You can't have the winning hand every single time. And the pot the House Republicans eventually lost is any possible credibility with the voting public. What they could possibly have been thinking in their push to kill the payroll tax cut is anyone's guess. Perhaps it's Obama Derangement Syndrome kicking in at such a high level, they believed their own bullshit that anything the President says or does must be a bad thing, therefore it must be opposed. Even if it means rejecting issues and policies that the GOP has historically been in favor of.

So today they thought better of it and they've finally decided to fold a hand, but wagered too much in the process. Time will tell how much this will harm their chances in 2012, but judging by Congressional Republican approval ratings, my guess is that they're in for a rude awakening come November.

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