Sunday, November 11, 2012

GOP threatens more gridlock

While the pundits and lesser politicians play point the finger of blame for Tuesday's resounding loss at the polls, didn't take long for our D.C. Republicans to start demanding President Obama compromise with them. And by compromise they mean cave into their every demand.

Speaker Boehner sternly warned his troops, the rules of the game have changed. But he's mainly talking about the optics of obstruction. Raising the tax rate on the top income earners is still very much off his table. Hell, he couldn't deliver that under any circumstances. His own caucus would kick him out in a heartbeat. It's still going to come down to a game of poker's bluff, but this time the GOPers don't have any aces up their sleeve.

Meanwhile, apparently remaining clueless, Mitch McConnell makes the GOP's intent explicit.
"Let me put it very clearly," says the five-term Republican senator from Kentucky. "I am not willing to raise taxes to turn off the sequester. Period."
And by that he means raise taxes by a lousy 4% on the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Which, of course, includes him. He fails to mention the Senate has already passed a bill extending the Bush era tax breaks for the other 98% of Americans. So is he just self-interested or actually this clueless?
But don't Messrs. Obama and Reid think they've just been given a mandate to raise those tax rates? "Yes, well, we Republicans in the House and Senate think we have a voter mandate not to raise taxes."
President Obama campaigned on raising those rates. Republicans and their paid pundits can try to spin it as a narrow victory all they want but Obama won by a wider margin than any candidate in recent history. The mandate is clear. And so is the root of GOP intransgience:
As Mr. McConnell walks me to the door, he adds: "You know, he doesn't own the place."
Neither do you Mr. McConnell. Neither do you. One can only hope that this time, Harry Reid walks his filibuster reform talk and drives that point home.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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