The Republicans really screwed the pooch on this one. In what was a great opportunity to demonstrate that they aren't just tools of the 1%, the Republican party could have stood on their own principle of cutting taxes whenever possible.
Instead, in blind hatred of the President, they demonstrated that they actually have no firm principle. For decades, the Republican mantra has been that tax cuts pay for themselves. Yet, Republican Freshman were completely willing to discard 30 years of Republican philosophy for two reasons.
The first, and worst reason, was their inability to allow anything remotely like a win for the President to occur without inflicting maximum pain. The second reason was their petulance and fear regarding their inability to cut more than $12 in federal spending despite their vaunted campaign promises.
Why am I writing all this? Because there's more to this than meets the eye, I think. And because the study of failure is the only way to breed success. Join me below the "cloud of evil" for more dissertation.
The simple explanations we've heard from Washington so far are insufficient. I've heard that there was miscommunication between Boehner and McConnell about what the legislation should be. I've heard that Boehner was caught unaware of what his Freshmen wanted. Neither of these explanations make sense given how simple the terms of the deal were.
There's a better explanation, I think. It lies in the difference between the Senate and the House. A Senate seat is worth much, much more than a House seat. There are far fewer Senators. The term is 6 years. Any Senator can put holds on legislation and raise hell on the floor if they wish. The biggest difference, though, is that to a certain degree, the Senate takes care of its own, party aside.
It is always referred to as the more collegial of the Chambers. Joe Lieberman and John McCain got to be such BFFs there that McCain was miffed when he couldn't have Joe as his running mate. He was so pissy that he rashly chose a complete moron.
Approval ratings for Congress at the moment are historically low. That has 33 Senators worried about losing their extremely choice seats. Simply put, that won't do. So when it looked like there was support for something that might make Americans hate Congress a little less, the Senate ran after it in all possible haste.
Indeed, Mitch McConnell was so moved by an 89-10, truly bipartisan, extension of the payroll tax cut that he couldn't help but hand out high-fives. In his eyes, this was a good day on the Hill: the Senate had agreed to something in near unanimity, and Senate status quo might be maintained.
The Senate acted in its own interest. I suspect as well that Senators in general aren't too happy with the Freshmen in the other Chamber. And I wouldn't be surprised at all to learn that Mitch McConnell knew the tenor of the Freshmen and went for the big win in the Senate to chastise the House.
And if John Boehner lost some face in the deal, well, Speakers come and go, now don't they?
The title of this diary comes from a Something the Dog Said diary where he got into Julius Caesar mode about Boehner's fall. In the ensuing foolishness, it was wisely noted that he was indeed an Orange Julius.
"Yon Cantor has a lean and hungry look"
"Et tu, Mitch?"
So, while this was mostly just wordplay and the rot of a Liberal Arts education bearing its poisoned fruit, it got me to thinking. Maybe, just maybe, there was more to this problem of Mr. Boehner's than miscommunication.
Conjecture? Of course.