“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Those are the patriotic words last year from Senator Mitch McConnell, stating the goals of Senate Republicans. Not to create jobs and steer us out of the depression. Not to bring back our boys and girls fighting overseas. And certainly not to make sure that no one has to fear going broke in this country because they get sick or injured.
Since then, Republicans in both houses of the legislature have become, famously, “the party of No.” The President pointed this out on national television last week, saying that they are no opposing initiatives just because he is for them.
But now, that strategy is no getting the GOP leadership in hot water with some of their staunchest defenders for holding up the extension of the payroll tax cut, a tax cut meant to put money in the pockets of the middle and working classes.
The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, the Murdoch-owned paper-of-record for the financial world, for one, is not pleased. That section, known to be an almost separate entity from the rest of the paper, which is largely unbiased, is universally accused from people on my side of being … well, one of the more polite terms is “nuts.”
But the editorial writers ripped Speaker of the House John Boehner and the rest of the Grand Ol’ Party’s leadership "a new one" for allowing themselves to be played by the President, like a cheap fiddle:
If Republicans didn't want to extend the payroll tax cut on the merits, then they should have put together a strategy and the arguments for defeating it and explained why.
But if they knew they would eventually pass it, as most of them surely believed, then they had one of two choices. Either pass it quickly and at least take some political credit for it.
Good for them. Several prominent Republicans have also criticized Boehner, including Sen. John McCain and even Karl Rove.
Some progressive point to all this as proof that Republicans really are only interested in what’s good for the rich and that they want to kill the middle class. I’m not sure. If that were true, they couldn't be this inelegant about it.
But I do think it supports the idea that they want whatever the President doesn’t and vice versa – even if it harms the very people who they say they represent. I mean, some of the justifications for not keeping the tax break seem pretty tortured to me. Boehner actually said that “job creators” found the law extending the cuts “confusing.” Give me a break.
My only problem with all of this is that after they invetably cave and lick their wounds, the Elephants might actually learn a lesson from all of this. After they get their head handed to them during the President’s State of the Union Address next month, they might actually change their tactics, and they might be able to do this before the Congressional elections next year.
Because although the American public has proved that they aren’t the idiots the GOP made them out to be through all this, they have, in the past, proven that they do have a very short memory. I fear this, the season in which the Republicans showed their true colors, will seem very far away when Americans hit the polls next November.