How did the GOP lose the tax cut message? Two years ago, they won the mid-term elections in a landslide, sweeping races across the country. A few weeks ago, they lost a very close Presidential election. Yet today, they have been reduced to a befuddled muddle of mixed messages.If you want to take a look at the President's superior message, check out how they've laid it all out at the White House web site. And we all know that tomorrow, President Obama will begin the process of taking this show on the road to the American people.
The GOP is treating the "fiscal cliff" negotiations as if they were an inside-baseball parlor game. They are letting the media dictate the terms of negotiation without any concern for how these talks play with the general public. While Obama dangles specific tax cuts in front of the public, the GOP wrings its hands about how the government can raise taxes without lifting rates for the highest-earning taxpayers.
Is that likely to get the Republicans in the House to vote for an extension of the middle class tax cuts before they expire on January 1st? To be honest...I doubt it. But its still worth a try and sets up what Bill King describes as likely to happen.
I talked to an old Capitol Hill hand this week who predicted the following: There will be no deal before Jan. 2, and all of the spending cuts and tax increases will, at least technically, go into effect. However, within a matter of days, or perhaps even hours, a preapproved package will be adopted by both sides that rolls back some of the spending cuts and many of the tax increases, but leaves the new higher rates on the wealthy intact. When this "package" is brought to the floor of the House, tax rates will have already gone up, and so a vote to approve the package will technically be a vote to reduce tax rates. Thus, a Republican who has signed Norquist's pledge can honestly say he or she never voted to increase taxes.The President and Congressional Democrats are united in their game plan on this one - and its showing results. The only question remaining is whether those of us in the trenches will play our part.
Of course, it is all complete sophistry. But hey, if it gets us past the fiscal cliff/slope, so be it.