Setting the Trap

Oh my goodness, here are some Republicans trying to help Obama pass his tax cut bill. How bipartisan of them:

You may recall Crossroads GPS – the shadowy third-party group that doesn’t disclose its donors, which spent tens of millions of dollars running campaign ads in the midterms, largely against Democratic candidates. President Obama repeatedly railed against the group, which was founded with the support of GOP guru Karl Rove.

In order to maintain its tax status, the group needs 51% of its expenditures to be issue-related, instead of campaign-related.

And it has begun – with $400,000 for a one-week radio buy for ads to run in the congressional districts of a dozen House Democrats, to encourage them to vote for the tax compromise negotiated by President Obama.

Now I suppose it’s possible that a Rove sponsored group is doing something that that they know won’t benefit the Republican Party politically, but it would be the first time in history that such a thing has happened. Karl Rove is a political animal. Putting Republicans in office is his raison d’etre. The idea that he would try to pass a bill that he thought was bad for Republicans is ludicrous.

They want this bill because it will reward their wealthy constituents to be sure — the estate tax deal alone is better than they could have dreamed. And they are happy to extend middle class tax cuts too because they want to starve the beast. They love the payroll tax cut because they knew they will probably never raise it back up, which will make the social security projections look worse than ever and give ammunition to the destroyers. And, yes, they are happy to extend unemployment insurance at Christmas time because they can pretend that they are human beings.

But mostly they love this deal because it gives them their favorite issue to bludgeon the Democrats with over the next two years: “they promised to raise your taxes!” They know the Democrats won’t actually do it but like an overfed cat with an injured mouse, they just like to torture them for their own (and their voters’) amusement.

Here’s movement zombie Ralph Reed dancing on the head of a pin on Spitzer Parker last Friday setting up the play:

SPITZER: Ralph, I want to start with you. Senator DeMint, a very conservative and increasingly powerful voice has come out vehemently against this, saying it is a budget busting tax cut, we can’t afford it, a cave to special interests.

First, where do you stand on the so-called compromise? I don’t view it as a compromise. Why do you stand on it? Do you agree with Senator DeMint?

REED: Well, I think, like Senator DeMint, Elliot, I would much prefer just a clean bill where you simply extend the Bush tax cuts. And I would prefer that we not extend them for two years.

(CROSSTALK)

SPITZER: Which means so not the unemployment benefits and some of the other tax –

REED: Not the other stuff they weighed it down with. Now you know –

PARKER: Wow, you’re hard core.

REED: Well, thank you very much. I’ll take that as a compliment.

But you know I — look, I was on the Hill during the Reagan tax cuts. And that was what Reagan wanted. He simply wanted the rate reductions, no baubles, no Christmas ornaments, just pass my bill.

That’s unlikely to happen. So, you know, we’ll see what happens. I mean it’s kind of a moot point right now to the extent that the House Democrats have said they may not even bring it to a vote.

SPITZER: Well, let me put you on the — given Senator DeMint’s critique that it’s a budget busting bill, because of the loss of $4 trillion of revenue over 10 years — two years, you know, about $1 trillion, how do you respond to that critique?

REED: Well, again, I’m in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts. I favored originally the Bush tax cuts being permanent.

SPITZER: Right.

REED: So — and I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea for us to be sitting here basically two or three weeks from the end of a calendar year and 26 million small businessmen and women and job creators and entrepreneurs having no idea what their tax rate is going to be.

I mean, we have a very weak economy. We have the longest and deepest recession in the post World War II period. The real estate market is still flat on its back. This thing is not over yet. We’ve got 15 million Americans out of work. And what this is, is this is just showing Washington isn’t — is broken and Obama can’t lead and that’s not good for anybody.

Sure, Romney and the teabaggers are all “against” the tax cut deal. But keep in mind that like Reed, they say it’s because they believe the tax cuts are not permanent and there’s too much “pork” — like unemployment insurance. They want to be on record being for permanent tax cuts and against unemployment insurance, but none of them are calling for this bill to fail and the big teabagger class isn’t in congress yet so they don’t have to vote for it. It’s the best of all possible worlds.

One final note. Here’s the boyish demon seed Ralph Reed with a little piece of advice that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up:

REED: Here’s what Clinton did that Obama should do. I’m not saying it will guarantee his reelection, but he should do it. He should recognize that what happened on November 2nd is a wave. It’s coming. OK, you can’t stand on the beach and yell at it and make it go away. It is on top of you. It is either going to hit the beach, ride up and then recede, or it will break you.

And there are certain elements of this, the Bush tax cuts being permanent, fiscal restraint, lower spending, and a forward strategy of freedom and the war on terror that he ought to concede, because if he doesn’t, it will break him.

I’m sure Ralph just wants to be helpful, aren’t you?

“I want to be invisible. I do guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag. You don’t know until election night.” –Ralph Reed, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 9-Nov-1991

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