Oh Dear God. We are so screwed. I can't make heads nor tails out of this so-called strategy on the Bush tax cuts, no matter which way you slice it. But one thing seems obvious to me: the glee over Boehner speaking out of turn is wildly overblown. If they decide not to hold a vote in the House, his comments give cover to those GOP candidates in districts where extending the cuts is unpopular and the rest of them "holding the line" gives cover to those in conservative districts who want to extend them. And holding a vote will expose all those cowardly deficit Blue Dogs who run yipping into the corner with their tails between their legs whenever they are faced with any right wing opposition at all, so I doubt very much we'd see one. (This is a particularly egregious case since they all like to preen and pose about fiscal responsibility.) So, as I said, there's no margin in trying to be "strategic" on this since the Democrats don't have a good play except to do the right thing.
Certainly,whatever they decide to do, Democrats should not try to get too fine with this. They aren't just bad at 11 dimensional chess, they can't even play checkers. They should just make the right arguments to their constituents and leave it to Ben Nelson to filibuster everything.
Greg Sargent writes today that the Republicans are saying that they think they win if any discussion of taxes come up at all. Even the sound of the word is toxic:
I happen to know that Democratic strategists agree with them. I wrote about it last week:
After talking to strategists involved in charting the GOP's midterm game plan, I'm convinced the answer is this: Republicans are gambling that any argument about taxes -- details aside -- feeds the larger story they're trying to tell, about a Democratic majority that has gone off the rails with spending and government overreach, with nothing to show for it.
I happen to know that candidates are getting this advice from DC strategists, and many of them are rushing to take this issue off the table. They truly believe they will lose if they don't back tax cuts for millionaires even as they are being hammered on deficits. I think we can see where this all leads, can't you?
Poor Greg Sargent is trying valiantly every day to show that the Democrats don't have to back off their promise to let the Bush tax cuts expire. He's got the data, he's got the arguments, he's got everything you need to show that the majority of Americans, including most of the vaunted independents, aren't losing any sleep over the wealthiest one percent having to kick in a few more bucks in taxes.
But I think Gregg is missing the reason the Democrats are doing this. It's not that they think the people are against it. They see the numbers. They are afraid of even having a conversation in which the subject is raised. The logic is that if the word "taxes" even come up in the debate at all, Democrats will lose.
As I said before, if progressive taxation is now a dead issue like gun control and the death penalty then there's nothing more to argue about. It's over.