Because Democratic Blue Dogs are blithering idiots, the Senate and the House have given up on the idea of voting now on extending the Bush tax cuts for just the middle-class and not the rich. Jonathan Chait calls this "the Curl Up In A Fetal Position Plan" as well as "political suicide," and he's right, obviously, on both counts.
But it's more than that. It means the battle to try to end the tax cuts for the rich is over, right now, and the GOP won.
Why? Because a partial extension of the cuts is not going to pass in a post-midterms lame-duck session, either. That's because the races for Democratic Senate seats in Illinois, West Virginia, Colorado, Delaware, as well as Kirsten Gillibrand's race to hold her seat in New York, are all special elections -- which means that the winners will all be seated for the lame-duck session, not in January 2011. Delaware looks solid for the Dems now, but Illinois, West Virginia, and Colorado are all tough races -- and Gillibrand's race might be tight as well. It's quite likely that the GOP's 41-59 "superminority" will be up to
And beyond that, what do you think -- that terrified, cowardly Blue Dogs are going to develop more political courage after an election cycle in which their party suffers losses than they have now? Give me a break. Even if Republicans fall short and fail to gain either house, they'll spin what wins they have as a huge victory and a huge mandate -- and Beltway conventional wisdom mongers will concur. And that will weaken Blue Dogs' spines even more.
So forget it. It's over.The rich won.
In comments, Chris asks:
So if nothing happens, the rich's taxes go up more than anyone elses. How'd they win?
But that's not what will happen. Obviously the GOP is going to shout and scream and throw feces and demand what it will deem one of two acceptable options: a permanent extension of all cuts or a one- or two-year extension. And one of these will pass. And if it's the temporary extension, the renewal will come up before the very Congress these midterms are going to elect, meaning it will be an even more Republican Congress than the one in the lame-duck session. So the tax cuts for the rich will be made permanent then.