Advice for the Republicans

Many are urging Republicans in the House and Senate to reject the tax compromise that was negotiated by the party’s leadership. Maybe I’m missing something–that is always a possibility–but that advice strikes me as seriously misguided.
Substantively, as I’ve written, the deal is an excellent one for the GOP, given that there are three parties involved in the negotiations–the President, the House and the Senate–and we don’t control any of them. Meanwhile, from a political standpoint, the deal is sure to be popular with independents and many other voters. True, that will give President Obama a bump in the polls, whether large or small remains to be seen. But if the deal is blocked by Republicans, so that everyone’s taxes go up on January 1, the political blowback would be considerable.
Presumably the idea is that we could negotiate a better deal in January, when the new Congress convenes. Possibly so. But the Democrats will still control the Presidency and the Senate; Republicans will still have only a blocking position, which is what they have now. So I don’t understand why we should expect a better deal next month.
On the other hand, if the Republicans are willing to go along with the compromise and the deal falls through because hard-line left-wingers in the Democratic Party stop it, and everyone’s taxes go up in January–well, that is almost too good to be true. The Democrats would be exposed as a party so spiteful that they would rather penalize everyone than forgo the opportunity to raise taxes on the “rich”–i.e., for the most part, the successful, the middle aged, and two-income families. On that scenario, public anger at the Democrats, already pretty intense, is likely to boil over, and it may well be that we could get a materially better deal in the new Congress, on top of the political benefit.
So maybe someone can explain why blowing up the compromise that Republican negotiators agreed to is a good idea, but I can’t see it.


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