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Dear Dems: Do NOT take GOP deal on tax cuts

This morning, NRSC chair John Cornyn signaled that he is open to a "compromise" under which all the Bush tax cuts would be extended "temporarily." Other GOP Senators seem to be signaling support for this deal, too.

Here's why Dems should not take this deal.

It will squander the Dems' last, best chance to make the central Dem campaign message stick. The Dems' core campaign message, the one upon which Dems are betting control of both houses of Congress, is that a vote for the GOP is a vote to return to the Bush policies that ran the economy into the ground. There is no issue more perfectly suited to amplifying and dramatizing this message than the debate over whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich.

Taking a deal would fritter away the last, best chance Dems have to drive their message home in dramatic, vivid fashion -- by staging a vote on whether to extend just the tax cuts for the middle class. This would bring a level of clarity that would take this out of the realm of Beltway white noise, forcing a straight-up choice between Obama tax policy and Bush tax policy. By contrast, if Dems take this deal, they're agreeing to an extension of Bush tax policy. Needless to say, this might muddle the Dem message a bit, since that message is: Republicans want a return to those awful Bush policies, and Dems don't.

We're finally seeing evidence that the core Dem message about Bush and the GOP is gaining traction. It doesn't seem like an accident that this is occuring even as the debate over the Bush tax cuts is dominating the news. Imagine how much staging a vote could enhance this dynamic. Taking the deal, by contrast, could undermine it.

But should Dems fear losing this vote? Yes, some 38 House Dems are demanding a vote on an extension of all the tax cuts. But how many of them would really vote No on a measure to only extend the tax cuts for the middle class?

Some would, surely, in order to avoid being labeled "tax hikers," or something. But the math in the House being what it is, they'd have to vote No in large numbers to sink the measure.

As for the Senate, the GOP will surely filibuster. Let them. That would drive the point home even more sharply.

And in case you didn't notice, the Democrats' current hand stinks. Right now, Democrats may be on track to lose the House. The Dem base is simply not engaged enough to help stave off big losses. It's hard to imagine anything else happening that would appreciably change the basic dynamics now in place.

As both Paul Krugman and pollster Stan Greenberg argue, staging a dramatic confrontation on this issue may be the last chance to draw a contrast between the parties that's sharp enough to put a dent in the fundamentals and limit losses.

Yes, Repubicans will attack Dems who vote for this as "tax hikers." But the current state of affairs is already shaping up as a disaster. No deal. Hold a vote.

By Greg Sargent  |  September 17, 2010; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems , House GOPers , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , economy  
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Comments

couldn't republicans argue that democrats are unwilling to compromise?

Posted by: eriklontok | September 17, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

So Republicans still want to add to the National Debt, in order to pamper Fat Cats, who created no new jobs, and still are not doing so, with the current Bush Tax Cuts.

That sure is a fine way for Republicans to be demonstrating how they have learned their lesson, and are now Fiscal Hawks.

Fiscal Hawks do not insist on borrowing vast amounts of money, in order to pamper Fat Cat Haves, who have not created any jobs, and are not investing in restoring the economy now.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The simple and correct approach is to:

1. Propose a bill to make permanent the current tax rates for those who make less than $250,000.

That's it actually. Let those who disagree vote against it.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | September 17, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

NO.DEAL.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: If everything you say is true - and it sounds correct to me - can you quickly explain why such a vote is not a slam dunk? What's really going on?

Posted by: sbj3 | September 17, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

We can not afford to add Four Trillion Dollars to the National Debt, just to pamper The Republicans" Fat Cat Pets.

They got their Bush Tax Cuts, and they created no additional jobs, but did turn an annual budget surplus, into a huge annual deficit.

Just Say No, To Republican Borrowing just to provide Welfare For Billionaires.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

So much for "Dems aren't the ones holding middle class tax cuts hostage".

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 17, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It is not complicated. Placate the Blue Dogs by allowing a separate vote for the GOP Tax Cut for Millionaires.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

This doesn't run out until Dec. 31 right?

If they hold the vote, say Nov. 5., the difficult vote for the blue dogs wouldn't have to take place yet.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 17, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: If everything you say is true - and it sounds correct to me - can you quickly explain why such a vote is not a slam dunk? What's really going on?

Posted by: sbj3 | September 17, 2010 1:36 PM |

...............

Forty eight Blue Dogs, running in Districts that were carried by McCain/Palin.

A majority of voters in those districts, think like Joe The Plumber, and oppose droping the Bush Tax Cuts for Billionaires.

Those 48 contests will decide who will take control of the House in 2011.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

sbj, as best as I can determine, the House wants to see what the Senate is going to do before making any decisions.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 17, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

No way mike ... make them vote now.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

LOL. Who are these idiot reports that yell out questions when they are already leaving the podium and walking away just to get their soundbite in?

What goofs.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 17, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

liam, I know that's your view, but I still don't see any evidence (not saying there isn't any, but I haven't seen any) that this is all THAT risky in these moderate districts.

They can say, "I'm voting for a middle class tax cut, because it's the only vote my leader will allow me to take," and blame the despised Nancy Pelosi for not allowing them to vote on the high end ones.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 17, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "sbj, as best as I can determine, the House wants to see what the Senate is going to do before making any decisions."

But as Josh and you point out - it doesn't matter at all what the Senate does!

This just doesn't make sense. There must be a very real possibility that Pelosi would lose the vote. Or there must be some parliamentary maneuver that the GOP could pull in the House - Motion to Recommit?

Posted by: sbj3 | September 17, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

sbj, I agree it doesn't make sense. I think the House leaders should count the vote, and presuming they can win (which I think they can) then hold it.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 17, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree, the best idea is to have the vote now, as in soon. This is an important issue for us and I think we have the economics right. It's not only good politics but good policy as well. Sam Stein says it appears the WH isn't backing down. Why wait?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"The Obama administration is not budging from its position that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should be allowed to expire this year and is taking subtle jabs at conservative Democrats who argue otherwise.

In a briefing with a small group of reporters on Friday, a senior administration official encouraged Blue Dog Democrats in the House to remember that they have been the ones barking about exploding deficits for the past three cycles."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/17/white-house-reminds-blue-_n_721154.html

Posted by: lmsinca | September 17, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"It doesn't matter what the Senate does"

Really?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Can we assume, then, if the Dems don't vote for just middle-class tax cuts, they didn't have the votes?

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 17, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, Democrats are leaving out an important message which is that higher taxes on profits (AGI)increases businesses and people's desire to pay lower taxes by spending more on taxable deductions (employees, capital equipment, business expansion, etc), thus lowering their profits.

A solid case could be made that by increasing the tax rate, companies would be encouraged to spend more on tax deductible items that would actually lower their tax bill and in the process cause employment to increase. Currently, there is no incentive for companies or individuals to spend to lower their tax bill because the tax rate is so low.

The argument of raising taxes on those greedy rich is ineffective because everyone (including those who will never make it big) wants to be rich and see this argument as an argument against their deeply held desires and as class warfare. The argument instead needs to be based in economics where people can see the relationship among taxes, tax rates, and revenue vs profits.

Posted by: valkayec | September 17, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@cmc: "It doesn't matter what the Senate does"

"Really?"

Yes - see Josh at TPM:

"They don't need the Senate to back them up. This isn't a matter of saying legislators need to be brave and suck it up and do the right thing regardless of the consequences. This is something -- just holding the vote -- they should want to do for the most mercenary of reasons -- because it helps them politically and hurts their Republican opponents. The fact that it's good for the economy, good for the people struggling most in the recession, and good for the longterm health of the economy is just gravy on top.

"Strictly in political terms, even if nothing else happens, the Democrats (should) want to have that vote in the House. If the Senate acts and it becomes law, great. But still good for the Democrats even if that doesn't happen."

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/09/please_stop_the_stoopid.php#more?ref=fpblg

Posted by: sbj3 | September 17, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I still think there is a bigger discussion at stake here...the fate of the notion supply side economics is good for the economy.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | September 17, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I read that sbj and I generally don't see the logic. Nevertheless, Josh finishes with:

If the Democrats do this right they can do at least two and possibly four of the following: 1) get a good issue to take into the mid-terms, 2) sow divisions among Republicans between ones who want to duck a tough vote and those who want to hold out on principle, 3) get good policy that will help fight the recession and 4) make it vastly more difficult for the Republicans to push through extensions of the tax cuts. The first two are basically a lock. The second two depend on whether they're able to get the bill through the Senate.

Isn't #3 the ultimate goal?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The defining issue for this election must be basic, easily understood and constantly shouted out by every Democrat in America ….every day until the November elections. And if the Dems cave in and agree to a compromise like extending taxes for rich for a year of two...it mill dilute the message. The strong basic message for the Democrats must be:

Democrats support the middle class, Republicans support the very rich and powerful.

And this statement is factual not only for the issue of taxes, Republicans have diluted, delayed or killed off just about every piece of legislation that supports the middle class and poor in America. They have showed their disdain for health and safety regulation, unemployment insurance extensions, minimum wage, social security or any other “safety net” that supports the most vulnerable sector of American Society...the “bottom 98%! The main tenets of being a Republican is lower taxes and less regulation which both immensely benefit the very rich and severely hinders the middle class.

Its very apparent that the Republicans are obsessive in their support for the very rich...a sector of society that has a massive “safety net”. The elite upper 1% of America owns over $20 trillion in net wealth. This same sector owns more wealth than the bottom 90% of all America. They have an obscene level of wealth yet the Republican's main focus is on the most wealthiest in America Society.

A question to voters....who do you think is looking out for your financial interests? To me its a very easy answer since I am not a wealthy millionaire, but for the very rich in America, they strongly support the Conservatives/Teaparty/Repulican Party. I believe that the most important issue of this election is finally being debated and hopefully everyone is participating. In a democracy, we can succeed only if the right “facts” are being debated and that an “informed” voter casts their vote. If this doesn't happen, our democracy will fail!

Posted by: DominionDem | September 17, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Rick Scott:

"We know the stimulus has not created one private sector job."

PolitiFact:

PANTS ON FIRE!!!

http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2010/sep/17/rick-scott/rick-scott-says-stimulus-create-single-private-job/

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 17, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Vote on the Obama Middle Class Tax Cuts! Do it today! What is WRONG with Democrats? Don't they want to win!?

I've called my Dem Senator (Kerry) and Rep (Capuano) urging them to move the Obama Middle Class Tax Cuts to a vote immediately? What in the world in the holdup? Just f-ing do it!

ARRRGGGGHHHHHH

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@cmc: "Isn't #3 the ultimate goal?"

We all agree about the ultimate goal - good policy. But Greg and Josh are talking short term electoral politics, November.

I think the Dems will have to compromise during the lame duck session.

Posted by: sbj3 | September 17, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

iam, I know that's your view, but I still don't see any evidence (not saying there isn't any, but I haven't seen any) that this is all THAT risky in these moderate districts.

They can say, "I'm voting for a middle class tax cut, because it's the only vote my leader will allow me to take," and blame the despised Nancy Pelosi for not allowing them to vote on the high end ones.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 17, 2010 1:47 PM
...............

Greg,

Politics 101

Republicans will offer an amendment to extend the Bush Tax Cuts for all.

That would force the Blue Dogs to vote either for or against it. If they vote against it, then their opponents in all those districts that went for McCain/Palin will beat them over their heads: about having voted to raise taxes. You keep on persuading yourself about how easy it would be for those Blue Dogs to make the case, in their own districts. If it was that easy, they would already have done so.

Again, we are talking about Districts that preferred to have Palin as their VP.

When you find a way to persuade Joe The Plumber, then we will pass on that method to those 48 Blue Dogs.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I am not at all suggesting that there should be any delay in holding this vote, in BOTH houses of Congress. In fact, hold 2 votes, one on the Obama Middle Class Tax Cuts and a separate vote on the GOP Tax Cuts for Millionaires. Hold the votes today.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Furthermore, if the Dems wanted to make raising the tax rate more palatable to businesses, they could tie the higher rates to a temporary, 1 or 2 yr term limited deduction in employment taxes to be paid by the increased revenues on profits (see Roubini's op/ed in today WaPo). That would certainly bring businesses over...and make it much harder for Blue Dogs & Repubs to vote no.

Posted by: valkayec | September 17, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Liam, you write: "If it was that easy, they would already have done so."

I'm not sure of that. I think it's equally plausible that the blue dogs are concluding in advance that they can't win an argument if Republicans chant, "tax hike, tax hike, tax hike."

they could win the argument, but are too frightened to take it on.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 17, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Rick Scott:

"We know the stimulus has not created one private sector job."

PolitiFact:

PANTS ON FIRE!!!

http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2010/sep/17/rick-scott/rick-scott-says-stimulus-create-single-private-job/

Posted by: Ethan2010 | September 17, 2010 2:09 PM
.............

What we do "know for a s fact" is: The Bush Tax Cuts For Fat Cats have not created a single additional job. In fact it has cost us jobs, and cost us an annual budget surplus.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Things would be so much easier if those in Washington we're bombarded with a GOP-owned press corp, which creates a myopic right-wing echo chamber effect.

How many times have we seen a DC reporter correct a Republican when they claim this is a "Democratic Tax Hike" when that is a 100% demonstratively false claim?

None. That's how many.

I'm always at the front of the line to bash Dems' complete lack of messaging skill...but let's keep in mind that the current spineless state that we see from Dems is the result of 30 YEARS of a DC culture in which Dems are always challanged/attacked by the press for whatever they do, and the GOP gets free pass after free pass.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | September 17, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"let's keep in mind that the current spineless state that we see from Dems is the result of 30 YEARS of a DC culture in which Dems are always challanged/attacked by the press for whatever they do, and the GOP gets free pass after free pass."


That's because Republicans stand up for themselves and Democrats cower in fear. Nobody respects Democrats because they don't respect themselves.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

While they are at it, raise the tax rates on the financial elites!!!

Why are CEO's and investment clowns paying 20% on their cap gains (it's 15% now, and would revert to only 20%), while I pay >30%, making a tiny fraction of what they make.

Hedge fund managers are paying 15% now too, since they get pain 'dividends' for working, not wages.

I guess only suckers are paid in 'wages' today. Ugh, I can't stand the unfairness that the republicans have created. Really, a 15% tax rate for billionaires (and they don't pay into SS or medicare on that money, either.)

Posted by: rat-raceparent | September 17, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

they could win the argument, but are too frightened to take it on.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 17, 2010 2:33 PM

................

Greg,

Do me a favor. Find out how many of those Blue Dog seats were previously held by Republicans for a long time, and what was the margin of victory for Democrats in each of those Districts, for Democrats, when they all went for McCain/Palin.

It is easy for you to make sweeping generalizations about how those Democrats are just running scared; but I am willing to be that they have polled the issue in their own districts, and no what they are up against. In fact,most of them are probably already running behind their opponents, and can not afford to risk falling further behind, by voting against something that the majority of their districts are for.

I do not want to lose the House, because then, not a single piece of Democratic legislation will ever see the light of day. If allowing Blue Dogs to run on ambiguity, will allow us to keep the House, where we can take up the issue, after the election, then I am all for that.

After all; the Bush Tax Cuts are set to expire anyway.

Speaker Pelosi has to have 218 votes for to pass the middle class cuts, so she has a number of extra votes that can be slotted to the Blue Dogs to vote with Republicans on an amendment to renew all the Bush Tax Cuts, and still win.

The question is; does she have enough Blue Dog votes, in Districts where the members feel the issue will not hurt them, in order to get to 218 votes, because she will not get a single Republican vote on our site.

That is how you should be digging into this, instead of just treating it in such a superficial reactionary manner.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Republican vote on our site.

Edit: that should read

on our side.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

sbj3,

Here is what going on is this: the political system is funded by the people who make a lot of money, or have control over lots of others' money. They hold every bill hostage until they get their cut. This is no exception, but regular practice.

It's just much more obvious now, because political incentives line up so obviously right before an election.

Look at the health care bill. Obama is criticized for making deals, but he knew he had to make them. And, it still barely passed. PHARMA held it hostage to get its cut, insurers got their cut via Max Baucus, so on and so on...

It's easy to criticize someone who deals with that reality and still tries to make progress (in this case, the admin), but the problem is our elections are SO TIED TO CORPORATE MONEY -- it is corrupt beyond hope.

Or, look at cap and trade. We were going to have to further subsidize coal and oil to get an energy bill passed -- because legislators would hold up any other bill, for those companies. It's absolute insanity.

Your choices are: 1) a party that deals with and negotiates with these interests, for the best possible outcome, or 2) a party that is wholy owned by the interests.

Posted by: rat-raceparent | September 17, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

NO, Liam-still!!!

"in case you didn't notice, the Democrats' current hand stinks" VOTE on just middle-class tax cut NOW!!!

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 17, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Cornyn is WINNING just by keeping this discussion going.


The American Public does not want to hear about the QUIBBLING of the democrats over tax rates.

It is the SAME OLD STORY FROM OBAMA: Obama's agenda is MORE important than the overall economy.

Again, the democrats can not see the forest through the trees.


Obama again is broadcasting that he would rather make his partisan points - (quasi socialist class warfare confirming) - RATHER than concentrate on what is going to get the OVERALL ECONOMY GOING.


I should get paid for this advice to the democrats - this is getting ridiculous.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 17, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

All, it looks like Christine O'Donnell may view homosexuality as an identity disorder?

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/does_odonnell_view_homosexuali.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 17, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse


Is there anyway we can keep on talking about the tax rates until... the day before the election???


This talk is hurting the democrats so bad.


The American People want to hear about the overall economy - and how we are getting to a recovery.

AGAIN, Obama is more concerned with his PARTISAN AGENDA.

This sounds like last winter all over again - the democrats just want to quibble among themselves about what THEY THINK IS BEST FOR THE DEMOCRATS - and the NATION IS WATCHING THEM - wondering when the democrats will wake up.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 17, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama should hire me - I could bring his numbers up 10 points if he would only listen.


Does anyone think that Obama WOULD listen to reason ???

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 17, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

Would you and Josh Marshall just get checked for Amnesia. After all, you appear to have forgotten how the Health Care Bill played out, and how hard it was for Pelosi to get to 218 votes for the bill.

Do you people not even recall how it was not going to pass until the guy from the Upper Peninsula was persuaded, at the last minute, to switch his vote, and it cost him his chance to run for reelection. Don't you think that his fellow Blue Dogs learned a lesson on how it turned out for him.

The Democrats did not gain their big advantage in 2008 by winning newly found Progressive Districts, where for some reason they always kept electing Republicans. The Dean Fifty States strategy, was to run Conservative Democrats against Republicans in Districts that usually elected Republicans. How else can you explain why 48 Democrats won in districts which were carried by the McCain/Palin ticket.

In the words of Will Rodgers; "I do not belong to any organized political party; I am a Democrat"

Running Conservative Democrats in Districts that could only be won by Conservatives is how we gained our House margin.

That is why Progressives are sounding like Left Wing Tea Bag Morons, when they start whining about how those Conservative Democrats are not voting like Progressives. They did not get elected as Progressives, and no Progressive candidates could have won in those Districts. That is why Howard Dean recruited those Conservative Candidates to run.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Great article by that renowned lefty economist Bruce Bartlett.

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Issues/Taxes/2010/09/17/Bush-Tax-Cuts-No-Economic-Help.aspx

According to Bartlett, the purpose of the Bush tax cuts was:

"its main purpose was simply to deplete the budget surplus, which had grown under President Bill Clinton to $126 billion in 1999."

and

"It’s hard even to find Republican economists who will defend Bush’s policies."

And this passage is classic Bush. In a meeting before the GOP rammed the Bush tax cuts down the throat of the American people, the following took place:

"The fact of the matter was that in this area of policy, this adviser was one of the experts, really top-drawer, and had been instrumental in devising some of the very language now used to discuss these concepts. He was convinced, he told Bush, that the president's position would soon enough be seen as "bad policy."

This, it seems, was the wrong thing to say to the president.

According to senior administration officials who learned of the encounter soon after it happened, President Bush looked at the man. "I don't ever want to hear you use those words in my presence again," he said.

"What words, Mr. President?"

"Bad policy," President Bush said. "If I decide to do it, by definition it's good policy. I thought you got that."

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Liam, you seem to forget that it was the Blue Dogs that made the health care debate the mess it became. If they don't want to vote with the party, on the party's big initiatives, eff em, they deserve to lose.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats have been following the Appease-The-Republicrat strategy since Inauguration Day and they are on the verge of getting decimated. Maybe it's time to try standing up for something. Just for a change.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

cmccauley60

I prefer to have those seats on our side, because it keeps Republicans in the Minority, where the can not obstruct everything.

If you would prefer the opposite, then that is your choice, It is not mine.

I knew what sort of broad coalition Howard Dean was striving for, so I can live with it, becuase(once more) we never would have won the House, by running progressives in 48 districts, that went for the McCain/Palin ticket.

I am a liberal, but I am also a pragmatist.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"Do me a favor. Find out how many of those Blue Dog seats were previously held by Republicans for a long time, and what was the margin of victory for Democrats in each of those Districts, for Democrats, when they all went for McCain/Palin."

Great point, but that would make Greg and other members of the media actually do some work. I suspect that many of these so-called Blue Dogs (DINOs) came into office either during the Dem wave of 06 or the general election of 08.
The marginal Dems need to be swept out.I'd rather have a house with 220 who really are Dems than 235-240, about three dozen that are squishy. Ideological purity should not just be a characteristic of the GOP.

Posted by: filmnoia | September 17, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Being a pragmatist isn't the same as being a defeatist. Reality can be altered. Change can happen. But we must FIGHT for it. The Democrats' Liberal philosophy is superior to the Corrupt Conservatism offered by the Republicans. But the GOP has the power and they aren't surrendering it voluntarily. Power must be seized and you do that by standing up proudly for what you believe and persuading other Americans that you are better than a party which has decided to run with an array of certifiable lunatics as candidates.

Just like the public option, the polls and the politics are on the Democrats' side. Let's see if they've learned anything. And that most definitely includes the President. Obama cannot let this go on much longer. If the Dem Caucus can't get it together today Obama should just declare that he will veto Tax Cuts for the Rich. Congress will present Obama's Middle Class Tax Cuts in a second or else ALL the taxes are going up for everyone.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Tell me how you can guarantee that we would be able to get 220 ideologically pure Democrats elected, who will vote in lockstep on every issue. There are not that many decidedly liberal districts in the entire nation, and what you are calling for would scare off moderate swing voters.

Any seat that I can keep out of the hands of Republicans, I am all for; because I do not want them to get to control the House, under any circumstances.

You people live in a Fantasy world, where all your dreams come true. I live, as a life long liberal, in the world of political reality, or as JFK put it: "politics is the art of the possible" and as Tip O'Neill put it: "All politics is local".

Anyone who thinks that liberals can win in Red Districts where Blue Dogs won, the last time out, is Delusional.

And as Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson used to say: I would rather have those Blue Dog districts inside our tent, rather than having Republicans from those districts outside our tent, pissing into it.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"because I do not want them to get to control the House, under any circumstances."

Yet the course you are proposing will guarantee exactly that.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Like I am going to take advice about not being a defeatist, from some clown who keeps telling us that he has already quit, is not going to vote, and has already started calling for a third party. Right; that guy is in no way a defeatist!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

No one is looking for idealogical "purity" Liam but being a Democrat has to stand for something and I don't think it ever has stood for tax cuts for millionaires.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"I would rather have those Blue Dog districts inside our tent, rather than having Republicans from those districts outside our tent, pissing into it."

You really don't get it. The problem is that the Blue Dogs are pissing INSIDE the tent and that is far worse than any damage the GOP can do from outside. Republicrats and the Democrats kowtowing to them are WRECKING the Democratic Party. The Democrats are about to get walloped. Please open your eyes to current reality.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

And the Republicans are ALREADY gloating about the Democrats' incompetence:

"The chairman of the Republican effort to retake control of the U.S. House predicted Congress won’t enact any tax-cut extensions until after November elections when Democrats will be forced to accept tax relief for the wealthiest Americans as well as the middle class."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-17/sessions-predicts-bush-era-tax-cut-extensions-will-pass-after-elections.html

The sad thing is he is probably right. It will be criminally stupid political malpractice by the White House and the Democrats if they foul this up.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

And one reason you should listen to me is BECAUSE I am not a Democrat. My assessment of the Dems' political "strategy" is not biased; it is objective. Following your preferred course, the Democrats are failing miserably and Obama's presidency is in serious danger. Wake up.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse


No one is looking for idealogical "purity" Liam but being a Democrat has to stand for something and I don't think it ever has stood for tax cuts for millionaires.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 3:50 PM

..............

You are smarter than that, so stop with the sophistry.

They are just trying to find a way to get reelected in Districts where a majority of their voters think like Joe The Plumber. You remember that clown. He was against providing tax breaks for the working class at expense of Fat Cats ,even though he did not own a pot to piss in.

Take Appalachia, as an example; that part of the country keeps voting Republican even though they have never done a damn thing for them. All they do is deal out the triple G. Cards, God, Guns, and Gays, and those poor people vote against their own interests, every time.

You are not going to get Blue Dogs to commit political suicide. The odds are against them already, so they are not about to hand their opponents another vote, that is unpopular in their home districts, to use against them. You can cry about it all you want to, but that is not going to change a thing.

If Speaker Pelosi can find a way to get to 218 yes vote, while allowing the most endangered Blue Dogs to vote against it, she will. She has done so in the past.

Let the Woman do her job, without every liberal blogger berating her, and screaming : "is it soup now" every few minutes.


Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

to cmccauley60

Can't you do better than third hand unsubstantiated inuendo? Come now "senior Administration officials"? Somewhere in hades jack Anderson is smiling.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 17, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

You completely miss the point, Liam. If the GOP is doing nothing for Appalachia then a Democrat that blocks the Democratic agenda is also doing nothing for Appalachia. If your only concern is that the Democrats can elect the Speaker of the House but that Speaker cannot hold a vote on middle class tax cuts, where is the benefit?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, skip, I wonder why they couldn't get that staffer to go on the record with that little story. I'm sure Bruce Bartlett and Ron Suskind just made it all up.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

cmccauley60

You miss the point. If those Blue Dogs had not won, the Republicans would have won the House and none of the bills, that were passed, in the past year and half, would have been passed.

They gave us the majority, and Pelosi got a lot things passed, that would not have been passed otherwise. You surprise me with how myopic your political views are. They won districts, that only Democrats with their political philosophy stood a chance in.

It was either win those Districts with them, or not have control of the House. It is that cut and dried. Until you locate forty or more liberal districts, that are currently in the hands of the Republicans, that is the best we can do.

I can live with that; because I do not believe in letting the unobtainable be the enemy of the obtainable.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"This doesn't run out until Dec. 31 right? If they hold the vote, say Nov. 5., the difficult vote for the blue dogs wouldn't have to take place yet. Posted by: mikefromArlington"

Suppose your finance advisers tell you that we are going to need to raise taxes on just about everybody. But you promised in your campaign, "No tax increase on anyone making less than $250,000 per year. How do you get it.

Obama knows how. Let all the stalls, and the posturing, and the position taking play out at ordinary Congressional speed.

Nothing actually gets done, and you get your tax increase without breaking your promise.

Cute, no?

AND, Obama and the DNC have a really cute fillip on the process. They make the Republicans run on absurdist positions that make them out to be the enemy of everybody who makes less than said $250,000.

This is perhaps one of the slickest campaign positions anyone ever found.

Posted by: ceflynline | September 17, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I understand what you're saying Liam and I think you've also said that if Speaker Pelosi can get to 218, you'd agree she should hold the vote on Obama's Middle Class Tax Cuts. But my point is that she should not under any circumstance allow a vote on a bill to extend all of Bush's cuts.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"sbj, as best as I can determine, the House wants to see what the Senate is going to do before making any decisions. Posted by: Greg Sargent"

Your ear is closer to the Capitol Hill ground than mine, but I think this may just be a whole lot closer to an orchestrated event that you thing. Every Dem gets to posture in a way that maximizes his chance to hold his seat, (you can keep putting off the vote to deal with immediate problems), but as long as it doesn't get resolved the Republicans get to cut each others' throats over what to accept and what to demand.

They CAN'T take Boehner's suggestion, especially since at he point he made it they made it impossible.

This is an issue that a common sense republican would get off the floor of Congress with a vote on just the LT$250k version so they don't hurt themselves further.

But they CAN'T because they are so currently stuck in postures that a master Yogi could never attempt, and they don't know how to get out of them.

Letting the top tax rates revert is a perfect news filler for the next two months, and the D's will allow anything that keeps it fermenting to keep it fermenting.

Posted by: ceflynline | September 17, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

More evidence that staying the course -- appeasing the Republicrats -- will be disastrous for Democrats:

"Labor leaders, alarmed at a possible Republican takeover of one or both Houses of Congress, promise to devote a record amount of money and manpower to helping Democrats stave off disaster. But political analysts, and union leaders themselves, say that their efforts may not be enough because union members, like other important parts of the Democratic base, are not feeling particularly enthusiastic about the party — a reality that, in turn, further dampens the Democrats’ chances of holding onto their Congressional majorities."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/18/us/18labor.html

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

and then this:
=========
Yeah, skip, I wonder why they couldn't get that staffer to go on the record with that little story. I'm sure Bruce Bartlett and Ron Suskind just made it all up.

=============================

I'm not at all sure that they didn't. Why should anyone believe these guys? unnamed sources is the oldest trick in the book and the credibility of most journalists these days is in the porcelain punchbowl.

It is simple prudence to doubt the veracity of any story that has as its "proof" such unsubstantiated statements. The is especially true given the number of lies the press spread about Bush. The evil that they did will live long after them. Between the nonsense on the networks and journolist revelations Americans are right to be very skeptical.

If they can't name names, there is no reason to believe a word of it.

I firmly recall Bush saying that if the government had a surplus it was collecting too much tax. I agree.

The spending problem wasn't Bush, it was congress. Look at the acts of contrition that the republicans are chanting now. They know that they blew it last time they had a majority. Let's see if they can stay true to conservative principles this time.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | September 17, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse


I understand what you're saying Liam and I think you've also said that if Speaker Pelosi can get to 218, you'd agree she should hold the vote on Obama's Middle Class Tax Cuts. But my point is that she should not under any circumstance allow a vote on a bill to extend all of Bush's cuts.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 4:43 PM |

..................

If she introduces a bill to cut taxes for the Middle Class only, Republicans will have to be allowed to offer amendments. Guess what their first amendment will be, and then Blue Dogs will be forced to vote on it.

Politics 101. Do none of you actually know how this game is played, and that in fact John Boehner was just trying to bait Democrats into that trap. Pelosi knows what could happen, so she will not introduce any bill, before the election, that she does not have the votes to both pass, and to defeat all amendments, that Republicans would offer.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Are these the kind of Dems you want to get elected, Liam?

MSNBC's Chuck Todd chatted with Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) by this morning, and to his credit, Todd raised a question many in the media haven't bothered to ask.

TODD: Yesterday, the Census came out and said one in seven Americans are living below the poverty line. Do you look at that story today -- you know, you open up your USA Today, right, and you see that story -- and you see Washington is debating the tax rates for the wealthy, and you sit there and say, isn't that a disconnect in America right now?

BAYH: It is a disconnect, Chuck. What we need to be focused on is growth, how do we create jobs, how do we expand businesses. That needs to be job one right now. And all these other issues involving, oh, fairness and things like that can wai

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_09/025724.php

I know that Bayh isn't running for re-election but is this the kind of BS we should be hearing from Democrats?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

And how about this, Liam:

If Pelosi offered one bill to only extend the middle class cuts, Republicans could use procedural maneuvers to force a separate vote on extending tax cuts for the rich -- a vote Pelosi might well lose.

Likewise, if she brought two bills to the floor -- one to extend the middle-income cuts and, one to extend the cuts for the wealthy -- both might pass. That's an outcome she wants to avoid.

Fortunately for her, there's a way out. The House rules allow the Speaker to offer legislation under what's known as suspension of the rules. Under suspension, time for debate is limited and no procedural hijinks are allowed -- but a two-thirds majority of members on hand is required for passage. It's a process often used to fast-track non-controversial legislation, and occasionally used when the majority wants to avoid tough procedural votes forced by the minority.

Pelosi could offer two bills under suspension -- one extending tax cuts to the first $250,000 of income, and one extending cuts to income above that level. The latter legislation would almost certainly fail to reach the two-thirds threshold required for passage. The question is: what about the former?

Theoretically, almost all Democrats and Republicans support extending tax cuts to the middle class. But Republicans have intimated that they'd try to block efforts to pass a bill that only extended middle-income cuts, in favor of a bill that extended tax cuts for the rich, too. Under suspension, though, legislation requires 290 votes, and there are only 255 Democrats. That means Republicans would cast the deciding votes -- either in favor of the Obama plan to extend tax cuts to middle-income people, or against it. In the most literal sense, Pelosi would be calling their bluff.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/09/how-nancy-pelosi-might-win-the-fight-over-bush-tax-cuts.php?ref=fpb

I say, call their bluff Speaker Pelosi!

Posted by: cmccauley60 | September 17, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"Do none of you actually know how this game is played"

That is remarkable hubris from one whose preferred course has led the Democrats to the brink of disaster.

"Republicans will have to be allowed to offer amendments."

Says who?

"Guess what their first amendment will be, and then Blue Dogs will be forced to vote on it."

So what. You are assuming that these districts will punish someone who votes to cut taxes for everyone but The Rich. What are you basing that assumption on? The fact that the Republicrats say so. That's it. First, they may well be wrong. Second, they may only be saying that b/c that's what they want to do anyway, being Republicrats. Third, they are undermining the entire Democratic Party by preventing it from energizing the base voters who will decide the midterms. That hurts ALL Dems, not only Republicrats. REAL Democrats are going to lose b/c Dem Leadership is kissing Blue Dog as*se yet again. That will further rot the party from the inside and accelerate losses in 2012.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

The basic argument not to extend tax cuts to the "rich" is that they will not spend money into the economy - part of the reason why they have money to begin with - but will actually save it. Well, that's how real money is created for lending - SAVINGS and who will borrow that money? Yes, the middle class who haven't saved enough to buy the things they want, like a car, a house and that killer 712" flat screen t.v. for the kids' room. Wake up people - there is no free ride. Taxes hurts the american economy in a huge way - it removes money from the market and diverts it to government whom we all know has a stellar track record when it comes to spending other people's money. Snap out of it already! The real antidote for all of our problems is to attack poverty at the root level: children born into it. SEED, The Harlem's Children Zone and even Obama's "Promise Neighborhoods" program which is modeled after the HCZ. Educate yourselves about u.s. monetary policy, political history and remember: when a government giveth, a government will taketh away.

Posted by: frmkt | September 17, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Bayh has always held that viewpoint. It was the best that we could do from the very Red State of Indiana. Again; it kept a senate seat out of the Republicans hands, which allowed us to pass bills, that we would not have otherwise been able to do.

When it goes back to Republicans after November, and we will no longer be able to raise sixty votes, you will become more nostalgic about the benefits of having had the seat held by Bayh.

I wish you would stop asking me is it what I want. That has nothing to do with it. I am liberal both on social issues, economic issues, and foreign affairs. What I want has nothing to do with it.

I am trying to get you to see past what you want, or what I want, and to deal with what is actually obtainable, when we can only maintain a majority by hanging on to those seats that we gained in the last election, by applying the Dean plan, to run Conservative Democrats in historically strong Republican Districts and States.

Would I like if all those places loved to elect Liberals, instead of Conservatives. Hell yes. Will they do that in the next twenty years. Hell no; so again, I am being pragmatic and settling for having Conservative Democrats in those seats, instead or having Republicans in them. Odds are that Republicans will probably take back most of them, but I see no reason to make it harder for the Conservative Democrats, that Howard Dean Recruited, by forcing them to walk the plank, just to make you or I feel better.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I am coming to think, Liam, that you are no Liberal at all. You are Republicrat who spouts Liberalism to keep your street cred but every time push comes to shove you back the Republicrats. You might be an agent provocateur, ensuring that Democrats cannot unite around Liberalism and urging that Democrats must always sacrifice both principle and sense and act like Whipped Dogs.

See how easy that is?

Posted by: wbgonne | September 17, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

frmkt

Your whole argument about the benifits of Tax Cuts for Fat Cats has already been destroyed by The Bush Great Recession.

The Fat Cats got those Tax Cuts, and yet no net jobs were added.

The Clinton years saw 22 million jobs added, before those Fat Cats got their Tax Cuts, and an annual budget surplus was obtained, which was going to pay down the national debt.

After The Bush Tax Cuts, all of that was reversed.

Those Fat Cat still had those Bush Tax Cuts for the past two years, after The Economy crashed, and they have just sat on all that money. They have not invested or made loans, that would help pull our Economy out of the ditch, that the Republicans drove it into.

Republicans pretend that they have learned their lesson, and have now become Fiscal Restraint Hawks.

How the hell is demanding that the country borrow another Four Billion dollars, to pay for keeping those Bush Tax Cuts for Fat Cats, supposed to be an Exercise In Fiscal Restraint?

Get real. Republicans have sold their souls to the Billionaires, and couldn't care less about the size of the national debt, or how many middle class families become impoverished.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

WoeBegone,

You just admitted that you are "not a Democrat" Neither is Karl Rove. I will give as much credence to your advise, about how Democrats should operate, as I would to Karl Rove giving us such advice.

Posted by: Liam-still | September 17, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

"Get real. Republicans have sold their souls to the Billionaires, and couldn't care less about the size of the national debt, or how many middle class families become impoverished."

Neither do democrats... I believe we are stuck in a broken system with no real choice but to choose our poison. For the record: look up SRP - service release premiums - retained by banks while funding a home loan. Obama and Republicans allows that practice to continue w/o full disclosure to the borrower, who in most cases are the un-informed middle class. It hurts them the most. any un-informed consumer is hurt the most but the fact remains that those who seek protection from the gov't should actually seek protection from them. We can go back and forth spewing out facts from both parties and you will see that they both borrow and spend with abandon all the while, hurting the middle class in the process. there is a solution to all of this madness and it's attacking poverty at the root. there's where money should be spent.

Posted by: frmkt | September 17, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"Taking a deal would fritter away the last, best chance Dems have to drive their message home in dramatic, vivid fashion -- by staging a vote on whether to extend just the tax cuts for the middle class. This would bring a level of clarity that would take this out of the realm of Beltway white noise, forcing a straight-up choice between Obama tax policy and Bush tax policy."

Greg, you have to be crazy! There are about 137 people in the country selfless enough to vote this way, and all their electric cars will be out of charge on election day.

This is the type of policy result you get when a room full of "advisers" and other college professor types do what Christine O'Donnell says God doesn't want you to do with yourself!

All those who understand that leading your party in one last beautiful "Charge of the Light Brigade" is not a good thing please raise your hands.

Executive leadership says right now we put seats ahead of principle and make a deal on the tax cuts. Of course if we had any real executive leadership, the health care legislation would never have been as polarizing as it was, and Gibbs wouldn't have a job, and the administration woudn't get a twitch every time somebody says "Fox News", and so on and so forth!

Posted by: 54465446 | September 17, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

. . . on and one more thing, executive leadershipt would have realized that sometimes having a big brain, and being incredibly inarticulate go hand in hand! (Christina Romer, Tim Geithner etc.)

Posted by: 54465446 | September 17, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

cmccauley60 wrote:

"Fortunately for her, there's a way out. The House rules allow the Speaker to offer legislation under what's known as suspension of the rules. Under suspension, time for debate is limited and no procedural hijinks are allowed -- but a two-thirds majority of members on hand is required for passage. It's a process often used to fast-track non-controversial legislation, and occasionally used when the majority wants to avoid tough procedural votes forced by the minority."

You must have been involved in the health care legislation! Usually, it's only in the movies and tv where the serial killer tells the police "watch I'm gonna kill again right in front of your eyes!"

Posted by: 54465446 | September 17, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

QUESTION:


IF THE 2001 AND 2003 BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE

WEALTHY WERE SO GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY....


WHY IS THE ECONOMY IS SUCH BAD SHAPE??


Posted by: DAinCA | September 20, 2010 4:45 AM | Report abuse

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