Morning Jay: GOP To Obama: Read Our Lips!
6:00 AM, Jul 13, 2011 • By JAY COST
Pity poor John Boehner: He really, truly is fine with hiking taxes by $800 billion, but his political coalition – hijacked by those deranged Tea Partiers – has moved his party so far to the right that he just can’t agree to such a hike! This is the 10-cent version of Dana Milbank’s latest column, and indeed the evolving opinion of the media, who are set to blame the lack of a long-term budget deal on the radicalism of today’s Republican party.
It’s nonsense. The tax hike on the table is a terrible deal for the Republican party, which would be utterly foolish to sign on to it. This conclusion does not require us to assume that the GOP has gone off the deep end, as the media does, but rather to follow a simple, three-step argument. First, a tax hike is contrary to seventy-five years of public promises from the GOP, and cannot be adopted lightly. Second, this tax hike is not part of a package that will solve our long-term deficit problem. Third, there is no point in dealing with Obama now on our long-term deficit problem. So, Republicans need to get the best deal on spending that they can, then take their argument on deficits to the voters next November.
1. It is contrary to seventy-five years of public promises from the GOP.
Quoting the late Robert Novak:
An overstatement, perhaps, but not by much. Cutting taxes is as close to a raison d'être that the modern Republican party has, and in case anybody is under any delusions about where the party has been in the last seventy-five years on the issue of taxes, consider this sampling of planks from GOP platforms since 1936:
The suggestion here is not that no Republican has ever agreed to raise taxes. Ronald Reagan and George Bush (41) both did. The point is that opposition to tax hikes is an enduring position of the Republican party, and in fact essential to its modern identity. Thus, any Republican-backed agreement to hike taxes should have some very good reasons to justify it.