The Corner

Voting Present

Senator Rand Paul’s proposal to have Republicans vote “present” on Democratic tax bills, thus letting the Democratic party “own” the results, strikes me as a very bad idea. It would look unserious because it would be unserious. (Vote for us! We’re the party that refuses to choose among available options!)

And it wouldn’t even achieve anything. If Republicans vote for a bill that extends the middle-class tax rates but allows the upper-income ones to rise, sensible people will know that the only reason any tax rates increased was because Democrats had forced them to. Maybe there are people who don’t understand that Republicans are against raising tax rates on high earners. If so, Republicans’ having voted “present” isn’t going to lessen their confusion.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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