Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Here's Ezra Klein, after noting that there's increasing GOP opposition to the tax deal, which, along with opposition by liberal Democrats, might scuttle the whole thing:

At this point, both sides have to seriously ask themselves: Who gets a better deal if the compromise framework collapses? Republicans know that Democrats -- and Obama in particular -- have more to lose if the economy takes another hit. The president said as much at his news conference. But they also know the tax deal is popular, and if they blow it up over something unpopular, like cuts for the very richest Americans, the public might turn on them. It's not an easy calculus, for either side.

So the question of whether it's risky to defy popular sentiment is difficult for Republicans?


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I'm posting last night's lead bit on Jon Stewart's show because it responds to what Ezra says about the "calculus" for Republicans. These are the folks who are blocking federal aid for sick and dying 9/11 first responders. Regarding popular sentiment, they think they're all but bulletproof. The clip also serves as a response to this quote from a Politico story published last night about possible Democratic attempts to tinker with the deal on the issue of the estate tax:

"Are Republicans really willing to hold up tax relief for millions of Americans, middle class Americans and others in order to provide a $25 billion hit to the deficit that benefits 6,600 estates at an average benefit of $1.8 million? We've never had that debate," [Democratic congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland] said on MSNBC Monday, according to a report in the Daily Caller.

Are they willing? In defiance of public opinion? Of course they are.

If Democrats think they can win by shaming Republicans, maybe they need to think again. Republicans think the gods have given them a special dispensation from negative consequences of unpopular acts. They don't think they'll be blamed if middle-class taxes rise, and if unemployment extensions run out. And they're probably right.


UPDATE: Anti-deal Democrats have thrown in the towel. Well, there were consequences for Democrats in not getting the deal done -- there always are. And there were probably not going to be any consequences for Republicans either way -- there never are.

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