Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The politics of debate

Yesterday, in a typical screed against popular liberals on the teevee, Somerby excoriated Maddow for saying "she did not understand" why Reid wouldn't put ending tax cuts for the rich up for debate. It was all perfectly clear, says Somerby, Reid didn't want to take the political risk to his and his colleagues' re-election -- the 30 second spots saying Dems are for raising taxes just before a mid-term was too great.

The trouble with that logic is that President Obama and Democratic leadership have been talking about letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest 2% for more than two years. Meanwhile, Republicans are telling voters that Dems want to raise their taxes -- that's what Rethuglicans always say at election time.

So sayeth the New York Times.

This particular failure to act was not about Republican obstructionism, of which there has been plenty. This was about Democrats failing to seize an opportunity to do the right thing and at the same time draw a sharp distinction between themselves and the Republicans.

President Obama has been steadfast — and basically correct — in calling to extend the Bush tax cuts for 98 percent of taxpayers and to let them expire for the top 2 percent. But by postponing a vote on the cuts, Democrats are increasing the likelihood of an eventual cave-in to Republicans, who are pushing for an extension of all the tax cuts, including the high-end ones.

We presume that Democrats, especially those in more conservative districts, are doing this in response to the anti-Washington insurgency on the right. But it’s hard to imagine that conservative voters will confuse them for Republicans, and punting on the tax cuts won’t score them any points with the Democratic base.

If Dems are to forestall electoral disaster in November, they need to raise the spirits of Democratic voters. This type of "timidity," as the Times calls it, won't do that.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com Site Meter