Dear Speaker of the House John Boehner, I hate to break it to you, but I think it may be over.
You’ve lost the Wall Street Journal, who says you may end up helping the president get reelected after handing over the mantle of “election-year tax cutter.”† You’ve long lost the Senate Republicans, who are telling the press things like, “Are Republicans getting killed now in public opinion? There’s no question.”† And you’ve definitely lost Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who’s simply leaving you out dangling.
Sure, you can keep playing the game as long as you want to by yourself.† But appointing four Republicans to the negotiation conference who never wanted the tax extended in the first place probably wasn’t your best move. And when they are already talking about how much they don’t even want to be there, you’ve got an even bigger problem to solve.
But I suppose having House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at your back, pretending that the House GOP really wants to work this out and it’s all the Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama’s fault now puts a lot of additional pressure on you.† Plus, your party’s intense insistence that Democrats must be bluffing, since they have caved every other time this has occurred, probably gives you a bit of comfort.
Still, you won’t win.† Even MSNBC says so.† “[T]here are three reasons why the House GOP probably wonít win this fight, PR-wise, especially if the tax cut expires. Reason #1: House Republicans allowed the Senate to break for the Christmas holiday without explicit orders it would need to come back. In fact, Politico notes that the silence from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is deafening. Reason #2: The Senate passed its legislation by a bipartisan 89-10 vote, raising the question whether a conference committee could produce a deal that could get 60-plus Senate votes. Reason #3: The House GOP didnít allow an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill, suggesting that it could have passed if they did. Those three reasons will be hard for the House GOP to explain away if the tax cut expires after Dec. 31.”
So, enjoy your theater.† It’s about all you’ll get out of this “negotiation.”
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