Friday, December 21, 2012

Plan B For KaBlewy?

Maybe the Tea Party Republicans thought they were voting on the birth control pill? After interminable back-and-forth posturing (called "Kabuki" for its overwrought dramatics) Republican Speaker John Boehner came forward with something that at least approximated a good tactical maneuver: Plan B.

What Was Plan B?
Plan B was a Fiscal Cliff proposal that would:

  • An offer to raise taxes on people making more than one million dollars per year by about 4.5%
  • An AMT Fix (a large exemption to the 'Alternative Minimum Tax'--the so-called Wealth Tax) which would have wealthy Americans pay less than today.
  • Permanent extensions to everyone else's low taxes.
  • Permanent "death tax" relief (the Estate Tax)
In short, it was a few thing Republicans wanted--and not much Democrats wanted--and the "tax hike" part of it (people making over 1MM) is 4x what Obama wants. Basically, the plan was just reasonable to look good (Hey, it's got revenue increases!) while claiming some decent ground for Republicans.

Oh, sure: it wouldn't pass the Senate. And the president threatened to veto it--but that was the point: make him do it. Take a plan that's not just a giant middle finger and make the president either sell out his base ... or sign on. Make the Dem-Controlled Senate look obstructionist for once. Expose the president's own playing politics.

Yeah, good idea. It didn't work.

What Went Wrong?
Do I have to tell you? The Tea Party went wrong:
“We didn’t have the vote to pass it,” Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters. “There was a perception that that vote last night was going to increase taxes. I disagree with that characterization of the bill but that was the perception out there.”
This sounds familiar, of course--but keep in mind that none other than Grover Norquist oakyed it. While I don't know the specifics of the vote-failure, I suspect it was a lot of people in gerrymandered districts who are (a) pretty safe and (b) decided their little slice of the pie was to retain the Party-Of-No no matter what. Well, they did: a bill that had no chance of seeing its way to law and would've forced Obama and the Democrats to look obstructionist was torpedoed by so-obstructionist-they-can't-help-themselves. It was, apparently, shocking:
There were audible gasps of surprise, especially from freshman lawmakers who didn’t see the meltdown coming. Boehner’s friends were shocked, and voiced their disappointment so the speaker’s foes could hear. “My buddies and I said the same thing to each other,” a Boehner ally told me later. “We looked at each other, rolled our eyes, and just groaned. This is a disaster.
Yeah. The NRO opines:
If part of what President Obama was after was Republican humiliation and disarray, it’s going better than even he could have hoped.
The Omnivore's Opinion
 The greatest achievement of America's Founding Fathers was not the creation of a perfect document (slaves being 3/5 of a person, for example) but rather the extent of the grand compromise among disparate quarters which created something that was not only greater than the sum of its parts but was also the greatest nation on the face of the planet.

To reject compromise on ideological principal when compromise will prevent a near-certain disaster isn't laudable: it's sabotage. A lot of conservative voices think "the people" were ignorant for voting in Obama a second time--that they were easily bamboozled and were low-information button pushers bused (probably to more than one polling place) and then bought with cheap cell phones. Some of them believe this literally.

If those Obama voters are in stupid column though, it's an all out race-to-the-bottom against the hard-line Tea Party voters who are voicing their new motto: Let. It. Burn (that's "let America Burn" in case you didn't know). It appears that if the burning isn't going fast enough, these patriots have some electoral gasoline ready--you know, just in case.

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