The Campaign Spot

Sweet Deal? Raw Deal? Biden’s Big Bleeping Deal?

A few highlights from the deal talk in today’s Morning Jolt:

At Red State, Moe Lane is ebullient: “We won. It looked that way earlier in the day, and it’s now confirmed.  The ‘deal’ will be that the White House ‘delays’ raising taxes for two more years in ‘exchange’ for getting a thirteen-month extension on unemployment benefits*.  That last is problematical, but given the Democrats’ moral weakness thus far the GOP might still be able to keep pushing a little and get offsets in federal spending elsewhere to make up the difference.  Besides, it’s Christmas: the optics are bad.  Even if we don’t get that, everybody who matters is going to breathe a huge sigh of relief.  The Democratic establishment will have a fig leaf for their cowardice and the Right will have successfully kept the Other Side from delivering another kick to the groin to the US economy; it’s not perfect, but it’ll keep things from getting worse until 2012.

By the way, ‘deal,’ ‘delay,’ and ‘exchange’ were all in scare quotes because this wasn’t really a deal; more like the Democrats finally admitting that they didn’t have the guts to raise taxes in the middle of a sour economy.  And the White House isn’t delaying raising taxes; even assuming that Obama’s in a position to raise them in 2012 he won’t dare do it then, either.  And it’s not an exchange; as noted above, the GOP can give ground on this topic readily enough, particularly if we can take the opportunity to gut some useless spending elsewhere. In other words, it’s pretty much all over except for the gloating.”

At the American Spectator, Phil Klein sees some strategic value in the GOP concession on unemployment benefits: “The clear strategy of the White House in the coming two years is to try and force Republicans to take stances on issues that would highlight the differences between these groups and drive them apart. One potential issue for the White House to exploit is extending unemployment benefits, a measure which many conservatives (rightly, in my view) object to, but which is more popular among the broader population. Republicans were likely to eventually cave on this issue anyway, because they’re wary of being portrayed as uncompassionate and extreme, a caricature that haunted Newt Gingrich and House Republicans after the 1994 GOP takeover. Under normal circumstances, Republicans’ caving on unemployment benefits would probably trigger a backlash on the right, but now that Republicansseem to have agreed to an extension as part of a larger deal to extend the Bush tax cuts, that criticism is likely to be a lot more muted. Now, instead of the attention being on Republicans, all of the focus is going to be on Obama’s more significant capitulation. Basically, one way or another, there was going to be an unemployment extension, but Obama has now made it a lot easier for Republicans to justify it to their base.”

I am sure it will not surprise you to know that the folks at Daily Kos overwhelmingly believe that the better move for Congressional Democrats at this point is to let ALL of the tax cuts expire, “to show Republicans that Democrats, for once, are willing to play hardball in negotiations, thus improving their position for the epic fights of the next two years.”

And then we STEER OUR OWN SPACESHIP DIRECTLY INTO THE SUN to teach the other guys a lesson. Remember what I told you yesterday about those who wish to rule a Kingdom of Crap?

When I hear some grassroots conservatives arguing that Republicans should have held out for better terms, I wonder if they think that avoiding a January 1 tax hike was among the primary goals for GOP negotiators. I think, as among the Kos crowd, there may have been a sense that “after Americans see smaller paychecks, our negotiating position will be stronger” mentality.


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