Ezra thinks that Democrats should not antagonize Republicans over splitting the Bush tax cuts when we will need them to pass unemployment insurance and lift the debt ceiling.
Ezra watches DC a lot closer than I do. He lives there and by now he’s interviewed people whom I just know as pixels on a
phosphor screen LCD TV. So maybe I’m wrong about this. Still, it seems to me that Democrats would be crazy not to go with the bird in the hand every single time. Would Dems really get more cooperation if they play nice? By now everyone can see that Republicans don’t negotiate in good faith. If you take away the tax cut issue because you need their help with something, they’ll hold some other issue hostage instead. When they needed an excuse to bail on Obama’s bipartisan brunch they made one up out of thin air. Pretty much the only thing they want is to hit Democrats with one bitch slap after another. If unemployment insurance runs out, so what? Poor people vote Democratic and a double dip will mostly hurt Obama.
The right strategy for Democrats right now is to win any damn vote they can while they still have a coin in the machine.
Apologies to Ezra, whose post I read wrong. Ezra was actually saying that Democrats may be better advised to shelve the tax cuts until they get more important things done first. In theory that seems like a pretty good idea. The cuts’ expiration date gives Democrats substantial negotiating leverage. It also inverts the usual dynamic where Republicans hold some important thing hostage and Democrats get blamed if the hostage dies. On the other hand, the plan assumes that anyone will seriously think that Democrats would let the cuts expire if they don’t get their way. Not only do I seriously doubt that (insert Will Rogers quote here), but I would expect instant defections if Reid or Pelosi even brought the strategy up in public.