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Would the Washington Post Please Shut Down Today?

Greg Sargent on Why America Cannot Remain Great Unless the Republican Party as We Know It Vanishes from the Stage

Greg Sargent:

The Morning Plum - The Plum Line - The Washington Post: Tea Party conservatives dislike taxes, but they dislike Obama even more: Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner announced that House Republicans won’t support the Senate’s deal to temporarily extend the payroll tax cut for over 150 million workers. The compromise prompted an uprising among the House GOP’s Tea Party wing…. Is denying Obama a victory — one that would help the economy, which could make Obama’s reelection prospects a shade brighter — a higher priority for them than even cutting taxes?

Conservatives have a variety of explanations for opposing the compromise. One is that it’s only two months. But as Ezra Klein and Steve Benen point out, they won’t agree to a clean year-long extension, which is why the shorter-term one had to be negotiated in the first place. Another claim is that the Senate deal isn’t really a compromise, as GOP Rep. Tom Cole put it. But Republicans got their number one priority — the Keystone XL pipeline — included in the deal, while Democrats dropped their number one demand, i.e., that the extension be paid for by a millionaire surtax. Senate Republicans overwhelmingly supported the deal. If this deal isn’t a compromise, then the word has lost all meaning for conservatives, which may be the real story here.

A third reason is that a two-month extension is bad politics for Republicans. On a conference call, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy reportedly argued against the compromise partly because it would allow Obama to again browbeat Republicans into extending the tax cut during his State of the Union address in January. Such balanced priorities!

This latest impasse reveals just how extreme, intransigent, self-indulgent and hostile to basic norms of governing the Tea Party wing has become. It’s as if compromise itself must be opposed, for its own sake, regardless of what any particular compromise contains. This is another case in which the public is seeing with total clarity the disastrous results of giving the Tea Party a seat at the governing table…

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