Now they are boxed in so no matter what they get the blame.
Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, who is retiring, joined a handful of other Republicans on Tuesday suggesting that Congress should pass the middle-class tax cut extensions now, then leave the fight over taxes and spending until later. Americans, she said, “should not even be questioning that we will ultimately raise taxes on low- to middle-income people.” Congress could take that off the table “while you’re grappling with tax cuts for the wealthy,” she said.
But any move toward compromise with Democrats on fiscal issues quickly comes under attack from conservatives as a surrender and unsettles the rank and file.
It is a dynamic that has haunted Speaker John A. Boehner throughout the 112th Congress, as he has repeatedly been caught between the imperative to govern and the need to satisfy the restive right. Mr. Boehner, of Ohio, has drawn fire this week for removing a handful of House Republicans who have defied the leadership from their preferred committee seats, a step he took to enforce party discipline.
Mr. Obama made clear on Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg News that he was not going to budge on raising tax rates on income over $250,000. “We’re going to have to see the rates on the top 2 percent go up,” Mr. Obama said in his first interview since his re-election, “and we’re not going to be able to get a deal without it.”
Allowing an extension only of the middle-class tax cuts is just one possibility, and Congress may never get to that point if an agreement can be reached or if another alternative can be found. And it would be a bitter pill for Republicans to swallow since they have repeatedly called for an extension of all the expiring tax cuts, saying any increases could harm the economy.
But Republicans also know they have a problem: many liberal Democrats are more than willing to return to the Clinton-era tax code, and to allow across-the-board spending cuts to take effect, which disproportionately affect the military, rather than compromise too much with Republicans after the strong Democratic showing in the elections.
“It’s a terrible position because by default, Democrats get what they want,” said Representative James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma, who admitted his party is boxed in.
Here is the solution. Let the damn taxes on the $250,000 level go up just like Obama wants and constantly say to the public Obama got what he wanted out of it. Then when the economy goes south just point to the Dems and Obama.