12.10.2010 0

Obama’s Political Empty Suit May Lead to Tax Compromise Christmas Tree

By Rick Manning

The depth of Obama’s political weakness and the amount of blame that his fellow elected Democrats assign to him for their historic losses in November were both revealed in a House Democrat vote on whether to support his tax “compromise.”

In spite of an impassioned Obama press conference, and sending VP Joe into the playing field, a count of the Democrats supporting the bill revealed that few supported the “compromise”. A few more only leaned to oppose it, and the rest of the Democratic House are against it.

The President of the United States officially doesn’t matter in this legislative process.

The Republicans were willing to compromise and struck a deal with the “leader” of the Democratic Party, but Republicans assumed that anyone in the Democratic Party actually cares what Obama thinks. Apparently by the expletives shouted in front of his name, House Democrats don’t think much of Mr. Hope and Change.

Learning that negotiating with Obama means that they will have to negotiate again with Harry Reid, Republicans have discovered just how dramatically the political dynamics have changed in Washington.

While this is good preparation for January, it is frustrating in a short term lame duck session with a massive tax increase staring the nation’s economy in the face.

Ironically, the Obama negotiated tax “compromise” is also running into trouble from fiscal conservatives who are rightfully incensed about the inclusion of ethanol subsidies and tax credits which has put the entire legislation under a microscope, plus a $56 billion extension of unemployment benefits. Tea party and fiscal conservative leaders are actively questioning whether during this Christmas season, the bill will follow the Washington tradition of hanging special interest ornaments all over it in an attempt to buy votes.

As Harry Reid desperately seeks votes in the Senate to reach the magic number of 60, it is likely that every subsidy promise to get one Senator will strengthen Jim DeMint’s ability to strip away two potential Republican supporters.

The tax “compromise” will be the first true test of whether Washington truly gets the message of the past election that business as usual is no longer acceptable to the American public, whether the orchestra is being conducted by a politician in a Democrat or Republican suit.

With Obama out of the action, the real choice for the Republican leadership is whether they can get a better deal for the American public before the tax increases occur, or after they have five additional Senators, and control the House of Representatives. That leverage point will drive the discussion between Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Reid.

The longer Reid waits, the more likely that McConnell will be unable to deliver Republican Senators in favor of any bill, creating a classic game of Washington chicken.

Everyone, but the hard left, understands that raising taxes on the nation’s job creators is disastrous for the economy and seals the unemployment fate of at least 15.1 million Americans.

Unfortunately, if a deal is created using the “politics as usual” formula that the ethanol subsidies represent, and the tax “compromise” becomes a special interest Christmas tree, Republican leaders will have grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory by betraying the wave that brought them to power before the new Congress is even sworn in.

Ultimately, whether the tax compromise passes or not, this lame duck process has revealed that Obama is the White House equivalent of the emperor who has no clothes.

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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