This is the image Republicans want to embrace for 2012.
What's making the House Republican leadership feel so big in their britches is a little hard to fathom, but they seem convinced their fortunes are looking brighter. Right after they passed a budget that opens them up for attacks on their plan to end Medicare and slash all domestic spending to the extent that government would barely be able to function, they're speculating on escalating their tax fight.
Note that the budget they passed this week not only maintains the Bush tax cuts, it would give people making $1 million or more per year an average $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts in addition to the $129,000 they would get from the extension of President Bush’s tax cuts. It appears that Republicans want to run on this.
House Republican leaders are privately considering moving a politically hot debate on tax cuts to before Election Day, according to aides and GOP lawmakers who have been involved in conversations. It would be a high-risk, high-reward move for the party, focusing voters’ attention on its commitment to lower taxes but also potentially fueling Democratic claims that the GOP is looking out for the wealthy. [...]
Republican leaders are also weighing whether to take up a number of other tax credits and rebates—loopholes in the Tax Code known as tax extenders—that favor certain industries.
While GOP leaders are unlikely to move forward on an extension of the individual tax rates before November, there is growing support among rank-and-file House Republicans to force a showdown with Democrats and the White House over the other tax provisions.
They won in the last tax cut extension game of chicken, but this time it's different. This time we've got Republicans doubling-down on their effort to end Medicare, Republicans who have been badly bruised in public approval by their continual government shut-down threats. We've also got a Democratic party that's woken up to the potency of economic inequality as an issue, largely thank to the Occupy movement.
Democrats are ready for this fight. In the Senate this week it was over the big tax breaks Big Oil gets at taxpayer expense, and when they get back from recess, it will be a vote on the Buffett Rule, which would require millionaires who earn money from capital gains pay at least a 30 percent federal tax rate.
With Mitt "Moneybags" Romney the presumptive nominee for Republicans, they're going to be even more vulnerable on charges that they're the party for the 1 percent. But if that's the fight they want to have leading up to November, more power to them.