I like TPM, but this story about John Boehner “blinking” doesn’t make sense to me. Josh Marshall thinks there’s some kind of a cave on Boehner’s part, but I don’t see it. Here’s what Boehner said:
Boehner told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that “If the only option I have is to vote for those at $250,000 and below, of course I’m going to do that.”
This is nothing but common sense. Did anyone doubt that Republicans will vote for any tax cut that comes to the floor within months of an election? After that vote, they’ll go home and complain that Democrats didn’t let them cut taxes far enough, and also cry about the “Democrat deficit”. They’re like zombies who cry for “tax cuts” instead of “brains”.
The real question is whether the Blue Dogs (or, as McClatchy calls them, “moderate Democrats”) will vote for tax cuts for the middle class without tax cuts for those who make over $250K.
Respectfully, you are not seeing the whole picture. Why on earth with Orange Man say that? He has a LARGE faction in House coalition running on shutting the govt down. They have voted down many sane compromises before. Why give Obama a victory at all when you know the Senate is gonna block it no matter what. It is the kind of thing that will make him the former minority leader and not the Speaker. Were I a rank and file GOP House member, I would be furious at this. I would not want to give Obama any victory in the House when he is gonna have the votes regardless. Put poison pills on the bill if you have to, but dont say that Obama’s compromise is passable. The GOP has been banking on the MSM to tell its warped story for the last two years, and by and large it has worked; so, why now go soft? Bad play in his own caucus I would think.
Yes, and note that not only does Boehner make clear that his priority is giving an average of an extra $103,000 per year to millionaires, but he also wants to continue the elimination of the estate tax. While we should force Boehner to vote for tax relief for those of us earning under $250,000 per year only, let’s make sure we don’t allow him to pretend that he is a friend of the middle class.
To a Republican, common sense is the worst form of thoughtcrime.
My guess is that he’s banking on the Blue Dogs to break and demand tax cuts for all, and use that to bludgeon Dems further on ‘holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage for class warfare’.
The stupid thing is that Dems might just give him that opening.
I think it’s far from obvious that the GOP would (or even will) cave to a Democratic bill that fails to extend the cuts for their wealthy patrons. Their assumption for months has been that the economy is so bad that they will be swept back to power no matter what they do on legislation, so they’ll hold out for maximalist demands no matter what.
Mistermix is commiting the Ubiquitous Political Junkie Fallacy, which assumes low-information voters and independents vote on the basis of policy maneuvering. Well, they don’t; precious few of them will have any idea of what is at stake in this battle, and many of those that do will only know what Fox News or talk radio tells them.
Boehner may or may not cave, but even if he does, there’s still the Senate, most of which is not up for reelection.
The Teabaggers will never approve of this because they’re being funded by those who will have their tax cuts expire but more than that Boehner will never, ever stand up to the Teabaggers.
I think it can be fairly characterized as a Boehner blink. The original GOP plan was to refuse to support anything other than a straight-up continuation of the Bush tax cuts and then accuse the Dems of “raising” taxes when a compromise bill failed and the tax cuts expired. Obama made it clear he was going to frame that (rightly) as holding middle-class tax cuts hostage to billionaire tax cuts, and Boehner realized that wasn’t going to play well, so he caved.
By the end of today the narrative will be: “The Republicans are compromising, why won’t Obama compromise by giving the Republicans everything they want”.
Pretty much this.
The Republic of Stupidity
If there’s even the slightest possibility of this happening, the Dems doing something that stupid… let’s just say, that’s where my money goes down…
Years ago, there was a very good baseball player named Rusty Staub who played for the then Montreal Expos… seein’ as Rusty had bright red hair, the Canucks took to calling him Le Grand Orange…
Whenever I see a picture of Bohner, crying or not, I can’t get that name outta my head…
@jimBOB: You don’t think Republicans are a bit scared of a commercial from Democrats pointing out how they didn’t vote for tax cuts for the middle class in order to save tax cuts for the upper class? That’s an issue which can be presented simply and directly.
I give you, Brainstorming at Zombie City Hall!
You presume that the Dems aren’t fractious enough to miss an opportunity for that ad. Unfortunately, we’ve already seen plenty of Dems who are willing to die on the hill for the extension of ALL the tax cuts or else, and trying to run away from anything remotely ‘tainted’ by the Dem party.
@mistermix: No. Not in the least. They have third party spenders that will dwarf every dem expenditure this cycle and can re-write the narrative. Why change horses mid-race? you have been going with the crazy and the money and a willing MSM for two years. You have an enthusiasm gap driven by the crazies. Say: “It is class warfare and you refuse to play that game. It is not American. It is Alinsky-type politics of deception to bring about more income re-distribution.”
I dont get the internal GOP politics of it.
joe from Lowell
Common sense? That’s your argument?
“It’s no big deal that the Republicans are going along with this, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they backed down, because they’re just demonstrating common sense!”
Since when has “common sense” gotten in the way of the Waterloo/obstruction strategy?
@eric: Boehner doesn’t strike me as the type to stray off the reservation, so I think you can take the fact that he said this as indicating that it’s gooper strategy. The question is why the goopers would take this position. My guess is that high income tax cuts isn’t polling well so it’s a way to get the subject out of the campaign, since he knows very well that in the House the Dems can do pretty much what they want in any case, and the Senate, dysfunctional institution that it is, is unlikely to do anything before the election.
The problem is, a so-called national reporter actually asked Boner a question with its genesis in something other than GOP-approved talking points. Such a question is a de facto violation of Boner’s first amendment rights because the reporter was obviously trying to “silence” Boner. Boner was forced by the reporter to answer the way he did. It was a vicious ploy by the evil MSM to ask Boner a question that he didn’t want to answer.
I’ve already seen the reply. They’ll say they are standing up for a tax cut for ALL Americans, not just some. And of course most of the Senate doesn’t have to worry about any ads this cycle.
It won’t matter anyway. Political advertising only works at the margins. The Republicans have 10% unemployment working for them.
Mike in NC
Why is it that every article I see from somebody at ‘McClatchy Newspapers’ looks like it was ginned up by the RNC? Is McClatchy known for right-wing bias?
It sounds okay to me; I’m not rich after all. But what will Sarah say?
/winger in anguish
I see that you have a very interesting looking article on this at Winning Progressive. I’ve placed carefully reading that article on my list of things to look into after work.
@joe from Lowell:
@jwb: Nothing they want is polling well with the general electorate, so why this? Plus, are you telling me that the GOP Senate is on board with this compromise? I find that hard to believe given that they have been steadfast in not giving Obama anything positive. The GOP House is largely irrelevant, so why go out on a limb if the Senate is not gonna follow? Can anyone imagine DeMint signing on to this? The ONLY thing that makes sense is that they know the Dems will get three GOP votes in the Senate because you know Nelson is a no and lord knows that Lieberman would do. It is just seems too premature for me and too risky for Le Grand Orange personally.
Apparently, Peter Orszag doubts it. Did you miss that discussion?
@joe from Lowell: I can’t remember any obstruction that stopped tax cuts. They voted against tax cuts bundled with stimulus, but I don’t think we’ve seen a vote on pure tax cuts yet.
If your entire political identity is built on tax cuts, that will trump obstruction. That’s what I meant by “common sense”, though I acknowledge it’s fairly uncommon in the current GOP.
Chad N Freude
Mitch McConnell is being quoted this morning as saying that such a measure will never pass in the Senate.
The reason Boehner is folding somewhat (and I do think he is) is because not only does the issue of these taxes plays in the Democrats favor, but it’s actually an issue most voters know about. The expiring tax cuts have been heavily polled and extensively mentioned in the news. And overwhelmingly, people want the tax cuts for the uber-wealthy to expire and to continue the middle-class break.
The GOP can’t play the “We want all Americans to get breaks” card (as someone else mentioned) because everyone knows the GOP is pushing for the top 2% here. It’s a narrative that has escaped the GOP’s ability to reshape it.
Oh, and Mitch McConnell is committing political suicide for the GOP if he blocks this tax cut in the Senate. Republicans raising taxes on the middle-class and denying tax breaks for small businessmen? Those ads write themselves…
In my opinion, every Democrat should be running with this quote from Boehner about passing the middle class tax cut:
That’s the GOP position – only by giving more money to the wealthy will the economy improve.
Boehner is willing to grudgingly give in on the middle class tax cut for political purposes, but as the quote above shows – he doesn’t think it will actually do anything positive.
If a radical right wing chaos-pushing anti-tax Republican like the Orange Boner ever says something publicly and clearly about allowing taxes to rise, particularly to allow them to rise (albeit back to normal) on the rich, it’s a huge rhetorical change.
And if he does so and this manages to go through — allowing the rich to pay the pre-BushJr-taxcuts rate while keeping breaks for those under $250K — look out for a TeaTard primary challenge.
@BTD: No, it was attached to a post where I said that Orzag caved on that too easily, which is at least consistent with this post (even if you disagree), as well as my general view that Republicans will vote for almost any bare tax cut that comes to the floor.
You are missing the fact that if this comes to fruition, Boehner would have voted with Dems/Obama. Retards are supposed to say No to everything Obama, including tax cuts. It also shows Dems as providing leadership with Rs following them. Politically, its a net negative for Boehner to do so and would make a nice ad for Dems.
@Mike in NC:
Guess what – McClatchy is arguably the least anti-Dem of the major news services.
Chad N Freude
@jimBOB: @Dave: Two commenters with diametrically opposed perceptions of voters’ understanding of the issue. Two Democrats talking.
But clearly Orzag had “doubts,” as you put it. Saying Orszag was stupid to write what he did , as we both agree (John Cole obviously had a different view of the matter), is clearly contrary to your thesis that no one had any doubts.
Indeed, it does not seem a done deal yet anyway. However, I agree with you (and apparently Josh Marshall) that if the Obama tax cuts are not enacted and instead the Bush tax cuts are extended, it will be a failure by Dems, and not due to “resolve” from the GOP.
That said, clearly there are”doubts” about whether you and I are right.
@Chad N Freude:
Of course. You do know if you put two Democrats in a room you’ll get three opinions, right?
Of course it’s common sense, which rarely figures into negotiations in DC these days. It was the truth Boehner spoke, and therefore a gaffe that undercuts the blue dogs with their gooper light bullshit, and standing up (screwing) to their own party and the wicked Nancy witch. Dems have the procedural advantage at having to do nothing to get what they want, tax levels back to the Clinton era. This is complicated by the recession and the immediate political need (Or perceived by dems) to at least extend the middle class ones. Boner’s gaffe allows dems to openly bluff the Orange Man, and propose only an extension to middle class cuts, and not for the wealthy. It is an interesting process coming up with these tax cuts, with a lot of moving parts hard to pin down. I still expect a compromise to come out of the house on temp extensions for both rich and mc tax cuts. The senate will have the final say on whether anything passes, and we will see if the wingnuts there care more about keeping their plutocrat rulers happy, or thwarting dems to allow the mc to expire along with the rich ones. I still think dems best option is to do nothing and let everything expire, then reintroduce mc cuts of their own. But they are running scared and seem to have convinced themselves to make an effort and capitulate on a compromise. But a compromise that is likely no more than two years in duration.
But boner’s gaffe does leave an opening for house dems to just call for mc extensions, but that would likely be doa in the senate.
You could call it a blink since it’s a change of position, but I still can’t get past the facts that a) if we do nothing, all the tax cuts expire; for once, inaction — a Senate specialty — results in a change; b) Democrats control the House and Senate and White House; c) these maroons still have negotiating power. It’s kind of absurd how, if Republicans had what Democrats have now, completely, totally, irrevocably irrelevant Democrats would be.
@Dave: That’s not true at all.
Chad N Freude
OT, but this just appeared as an advertising link at the top of my Gmail inbox:
George Washington, meet Stanley Kaplan.
Chad N Freude
@Dave: That’s because so many Jews are Democrats.
That’s because so many Democrats are Jews.
The discussion about the tax cuts make it seem as though all the tax cuts are continuing and the democrats want to end the high end ones and they have to find 60 votes to do that, which would be tough in this environment. However that is not the case. The tax cuts expire automatically. If a bill is introduced extending just the middle class tax cuts. The people who want more would have to find 60 votes to amend it. Tougher to get in this environment.
This is absolutely right. I told my husband that he phrased it so that party discipline will save him from having to vote for it, especially if they can shut the government down.
(There was a 9/12 rally in town yesterday and I had no clue. Post interviewed someone who came from Wichita.)
joe from Lowell
I see what you’re saying, but I disagree. I submit that anti-Obamaism has trumped tax cuts as the GOP’s identity.
It’s not as if they can feel confident in their economic message these days. People still blame them for the economic meltdown. I’m surprised by how little messaging they are devoting to tax cuts. When was the last time you saw Republicans promise to cut taxes if they win back Congress?
@joe from Lowell:
I think the bigger threat remains weakness in the Dem caucus. That said, I am with Josh Marshall here – it is mostly up to the President. If he holds firm, he can win this battle.
joe from Lowell
@Chad N Freude:
Was he casting frightened glances at his members from New England? Scott Brown will happily jump ship, in exchange for some pocket change he can bestow upon some Massachusetts financial corporations. That’s what he does.
Chad N Freude
@joe from Lowell:
I saw a report somewhere this weekend that at least one poll is now showing that people are attributing it to Obama. Sorry, no cite, but it seems fairly consistent with the noise machine.
@BTD: nonsense. It is election season and democrats are in a panic. They are not going to do anything they believe will hurt them at the polls. They may side with Obama, or not, but that is secondary to following their own instincts of their own pol survival. Obama is not on the official ballot.
I think whether the tax cuts for the wealthy expire depends on how much Democrats can avoid panic before the election and the scale of losses afterwards. Democrats need to decide as a group to push this issue so they have some idea if “The People” want it or not.
Some one pointed out that the lower bracket tax cuts apply to the rich as well, so the rich DO get a tax cut in this bill, as big as any cut to the less wealthy.
They just don’t get ALL the tax cut they got before.
Framing of the issue essentially never mentions this.
Given that they expire by default, a tax cut package for the middle class that gets filibustered is political gold.
What are you disagreeing with? My point is the President can change that calculation.
@bago: One would think – except that it will be reported as “Democratic Majority Senate Rejects Middle Class Tax Cuts”, and not as “GOP blocks Middle Class Tax Cuts”.
@BTD: My point is that no he can’t, unless House dems calculate it is in their political interest to do what the president wants. And their political interest is singular, to survive reelection. This is why Obama did not threaten a veto, as he knows his wont does not hold a lot of sway with congress, on this issue, at this particular point in time.
I realize that my POV hasn’t caught on anywhere so far, but I am of the opinion that Orange No-Boner just fucked up and didn’t understand what he was saying.
As Benen has repeatedly documented, he almost never does.
That’s because hardly anybody seems to actually understand fuck all about the marginal tax system we have. Remember all the bullshit just as Obama was inaugurated about idiots pouting ‘We’ll just purposely make $250k so we’re taxed less!’, honestly thinking that making $249k will let them keep more money than having $250k after taxes?
And again, pretty much this. Just about every legislative failure since this administration started has been framed as ‘Dems fail’ rather than ‘GOP blocks’.
Also, to get to 60, you don’t have the New England Caucus alone. Depending on what Lisa Murkowski decides to do, you have two or three lame-duck Republicans who the party cannot punish anymore. (Kit Bond, being entirely hopeless, is not one of them.)
Lieberman & House Blue Dogs just broke w/Obama, per msnbc
@cat48: And the sun still rises in the east.
Wow. What a surprise. See my surprise face on? What a surprise.
Excuse me while I chug an aspirin bottle.
@The Republic of Stupidity: Not only did he have red hair, he was a hell of a cook and, upon being sent to the Expos, promptly started taking French lessons. Montreal adored him. And PS, Rusty Staub has more class in his little finger than Boehner has altogether. No way could I give Staub’s honorific to that yutz.
And speaking of that yutz, I have to wonder if his slight departure from the GOP party line may have been spurred in part by the rhetoric from the Tea Party faction. The buffoons in the GOP leadership have shown no willingness whatsoever to listen to the non-
bankrollersparty-faithful, so maybe the anti-DC-fatcat rhetoric on the teatard right is catching Boehner’s attention. Just a guess.
No he can’t, unless he can. I am saying (so is Josh Marshall BTW) Yes he can.
Also, House Dems will be less of a problem than Senate Dems.
@Chad N Freude:
no, no, the percentage of people who blame Obama for the economy has gone up but the vast majority still blame bush.
Just broke with him? This is old news. Let’s see if they vote against middle class tax cuts.
I think in the House they will not and I am not sure Lieberman will old when Republicans go with the President.
This is political bargaining. I am surprised that this all seems so foreign to some of you.
That’s very deep.
As opposed to your “No he can’t” analysis. I was mocking you.
(shrug) It surprised me.
It won’t matter because it won’t come to the floor, Democratic leaders are not going to risk a defeat if they can forge a compromise. It doesn’t matter what the President says, he’s not going to veto a tax cut.
That’s an opinion. Certainly in the House there will be a vote and a bill passed.
And there will be a vote on cloture on tax cuts for the middle class.
@BTD: and I was mocking you. It is no surprise that you assign inordinate powers to Obama to sway a dem congress, sometimes he can, and has, sometimes not. Democrats are not republicans in follow the leader to the nth degree. Never have been.
He can try in this case, and might commandeer a few votes, but he cannot change any basic calculus that frightened dem congress critters and their leaders may decide on to save their own electoral hides. They may end up deciding Obama is right and hold out for mc cuts only, but it will be their decision. Not Obama’s wants. It is why there were no veto threats. You are wrong, per usual, on about everything to do with politics.
What precisely are you mocking? My view that Democrats can win on this issue?
So are you mocking Obama too?
Are you so committed to losing on every issue that you can not see the possibility of winning on any?
which the Republicans will vote against because they’ll argue it’s the “largest tax increase in history” and the media will run with the lie have a debate on whether or not Democrats should be “raising taxes” in a bad economy and how bad it’ll effect their electoral prospects without ever getting a chance to defend themselves, forget get a chance to point out Republicans are holding the middle class hostage to favor teh rich. They’ll eek out a compromise in the Senate, which will piss off people like you, it’ll pass the House and we’ll move on.
We’ve seen this before. It really doesn’t matter what the President says. Republicans pay no price for their obstruction, no one with any real power will call them out, and those who do will be ignored.
See you’re saying they’re never going to risk voting against middle class tax cuts, I say they will because no one is ever going to get the chance to frame it that way. No way the media is going to let the Dems win on this. It personally effects most of them. They like their tax cut too.
@BTD: LOL, I only mock you for your eternal lack of discernment and tin ear for politics. Democrats can only win on this issue, even if they compromise for a couple of years. I do not look at it as a tribal conflict, but a relative victory in the neverending compromise of democracy and votes therein. And in this battle, it will be the congress personnel who will decide strategy, as best for them, because they are up for reelection and Obama is not. The calculus will be different in 012, but now it’s save thy own ass for dems in the House, especially. Obama can twist a few arms if push comes to shove, one way or another, but presidential politics is sometimes very different than congressional politics. And this is one of those times.
I’m not saying they will never vote against middle class tax cuts. I’m, saying make them vote against middle class tax cuts, if they dare.
And if they do, make it a central issue of the campaign.
What’s so hard about that?
Right. I got it all wrong for the past 6 years. John Cole is your North Star.
But that is besides the point really. You really don’t want to win on any issue is the point. Indeed, you would rather I be wrong then have the Bush tax cuts rolled back.
As I said, you are committed to losing on every issue.
I think Boehner dropped the ball. It was a mistake for him to declare an intention to settle for below $250K-only extensions.
Unless his long game is to make me that much MORE furious with the Dems when they still needlessly hand over too much in a compromise with themselves.
In that case, brilliant move.
@BTD: You are speaking tongues again, dude. And I have no idea what Cole’s position is on what should happen with these tax cut expirations as he isn’t the author of this post. I already stated dems cannot lose on this issue due to having the procedural advantage. Their full victory may not be realized for a couple of years, but it is assured. And in the meantime, I will let those whose jobs are at stake to figure the best way to save them/ They know their individual electorates better than you or I.
Poor progressives, can never get a clean victory to mount on the wall. Almost like we live in a democracy with yucky compromise.
@Mr Furious: If you ask dems what is their secret wish, I bet they will nearly all tell you let all the tax cuts die an unnatural death. But current politics in a recession necessitates at least trying to extend the mc ones, for now. The rich ones are dead, at some point of this Jan, or in two years, until Sarah gets sworn in 012 or 016, or the Mittster.
Wrong about everything you are. Sound familiar?
To be sure, your tune is changing on this issue, but it still makes no sense. What advantage will Dems have in 2 years on this issue?
Do you actually think anything through before you write it?
No thought the Republicans would dare vote against the stimulus…they did. No one thought they were dare vote against financial reform…they did. No one thought hey would dare vote against a jobs bill…they did. No one thought they were dare hold up unemployment benefits extensions or stop the 9/11 health bill…they did, and they paid no political price for any of it because any attempt to make it an issue in a campaign failed miserably because the mainstream media only allowed GOP spin through it’s filter.
You’re assuming this is framed as “Republican stopped middle class tax cuts” and not, what it will inevitably be, which is “Bipartisan coalition (Republicans and Blue Dogs) stop liberal tax hike”
What’s so hard about it? What’s hard is we don’t get to set the narrative, Rupert Murdoch does.
Cuz that’s not how it has to play. Unless of course you think we lose on every issue. In which case, why do you bother with politics at all?
Yes I do think we will lose on every single issue because until we take on the media, this IS how it has to play.
Why bother with politics? Because lives depend on it, and that’s why I’m sitting here trying to sound he alarm to take on the media and nobody fucking pays attention and lives in their little bubble where the media will stop being hired public relations offices for corporations and millionaires if Obama gives a rousing speech defending progressive position X
When the New York Times wrote their well-sourced story last week about Boehner and lobbyists, the first thing right wingers attacked was the New York Times.
Yes, that was new – the wingnuts attacking the NYTimes.
Let me ask you though, should we do anything but attack the Media? I mean, should we support the President on this issue? Or just wait and attack the Media instead?
Well I wasn’t aware supporting the President was an option after last week’s meta argument on other blogs where someone said “let’s back the President up” and the response was “eh, he’s supposed to do this anyway” “he’ll cave in the end” and my personal favorite “No because he didn’t do [insert liberal pipe dream here]”
But yeah backing the President up would help, you can do that while attacking the media.
The real question is whether the Blue Dogs (or, as McClatchy calls them, “moderate Democrats”) will vote for tax cuts for the middle class without tax cuts
for those who make over $250Kon income over $250K.
mistermix wrote: I like TPM.
i visit the site about one every three months.
this is their typical “determine the minimum content for a post”. then rinse and repeat.
More babble from you and utterly meaningless questions. I never said they would have an “advantage” I said due to the nature of the issue, of needing positive action by congress to keep the tax cuts from expiring, they will win the issue. And compromising on a short term extension now to extend both the wealthy and mc tax cuts will not change that, only postpone it. They only lose if they make them permanent/ And there is no chance of that for the wealthy ones, and little chance for the mc ones.
How on earth did you get through law school being so thick.
edit- and my tune has not changed, as I have been saying the same thing from several different threads on this topic recently.
@BTD: Stuck’s no he can’t analysis only applies until legislation passes. Then it’s all Obama’s doing
@Bill Murray: Good Varmint Cong