Monday, November 21, 2011

Republicans just made their 2012 campaign all about tax cuts and foreign policy

A little over a month ago, I suggested that the looming failure of the Super Committee - and the consequences of that failure - would overtake the conversations leading up to the 2012 election. And that conversation begins today.

As an example, here's the headline of an article by Peter Wallsten in the Washington Post: Supercommittee's failure pushes Bush tax cuts to the forefront of the 2012 campaign.

The imminent failure of the congressional deficit “supercommittee,” which had a chance to settle the nation’s tax policy for the next decade, would thrust the much-contested Bush tax cuts into the forefront of next year’s presidential campaign...

That makes December 2012 the next critical deadline in the budget wars, with Obama, safely reelected or acting as a lame-duck president, wielding a veto pen with the power to return tax rates to Clinton-era levels.

Democrats say they see the issue as an easy way to portray Obama’s opponent in the presidential election as a defender of tax cuts for the rich.

I suspect that Wallsten is right in assuming that a vote to extend the tax cuts will be delayed until after the election. But that's perhaps the one remaining question to be answered. Of course the Republican-controlled House is likely to vote on the extension. But will Majority Leader Reid even bring it up for a vote in the Senate? We'll see.

Pretty soon all the presidential candidates (as well as Congress members up for re-election) are going to have to start weighing in.

Even though the supercommittee’s Thanksgiving deadline had not yet passed, events Sunday offered a taste of what is to come. Romney blamed inaction by Obama for the panel’s failure, while the president’s reelection campaign spokesman, alluding to Romney’s support for retaining the Bush tax cuts, charged that he “rejected asking the wealthiest for a dime to reduce the deficit.”

As this discussion heats up, its time to start pulling out those graphs that demonstrate the crux of the deficit problem. Like this one:



Given President Obama's successes in the area of foreign policy, the last thing the Republicans wanted was to have that issue overshadow the country's concern about our weak economy. But that's just what they're going to have to try to do in order to make a case for restoring the triggered cuts to defense.

All of this will also provide President Obama and Democrats with the opportunity to distance themselves from the Republican obsession with tax cuts and defense spending by staying focused on what Americans really care about...jobs.

So hang on to your hat folks. The 2012 election officially begins today!

2 comments:

  1. I think the way this played out is a great demonstration on how the Democrats keep moving the target for Karl Rove. First the Ryan Budget forcing all those Congressmen on to the record as voting to end Medicare as we know it. Then Rove counters by putting out all these ads that say it's the *Republicans* who are working to save Medicare. Second this SuperCommittee maneuver to make the new target preserving the tax cuts for the wealthy and the third target of arguing for more money for defense. Seems like he's got his plate full, doesn't it? And that Democratic Messaging has moved into the 21st Century.

    Brilliant analysis, Smartypants.

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  2. Also worth pointing out is the longterm unemployment insurance and payroll tax holiday both end in January - putting that issue right in the middle of the GOP primaries. All the candidates will be running to the right saying "we can't afford these" but then later on will say "we need these Bush Tax Cuts even if they add trillions to the debt".

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