"The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play. Republicans have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter, although he's spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2012. This should be impossible."Let's stipulate to two things: first, that having been out-maneuvered by Harry Reid, John Boehner and the Republican House caucus have some egg on their faces; and second, that a lot of voters are going to be pissed off when their paychecks suddenly get a little lighter after January 1 if the standoff between the House and the Senate isn't resolved. Do either of those assumptions really give the Democrats a leg up in the next election?
I'll grant you that they're yet another reason for voters to disapprove of Congress as a whole. But Congress doesn't appear on the ballot, individual congressmen and senators do. And Obama will be be running not against Boehner or the Tea Party caucus, but against the eventual Republican presidential nominee. Moreover, virtually everyone who will be on the ballot is on record as favoring, and if they're already in Congress as having voted for, an extension of the payroll tax holiday.
Is it really plausible, then, to think that an appreciable number of votes in congressional elections are going to turn, one way or other, ten months from now on the House's refusal to pass the Senate's bill, even if it means a temporary interruption of the payroll tax holiday? And are voters going to hold the pig-headedness of Republican congressmen against the Republican presidential nominee eleven months from now?
I submit that you just have to ask the questions to know the answers, and they aren't the ones you're hearing from "informed sources" and political pundits.