In his column, “Boehner’s Self-Destruction,” Bill Press argues that John Boehner and the House Republicans committed political suicide in the payroll tax cut fight:
OK, enough already. I don’t want to hear any more whining from Democrats about how hard it’s going to be for President Obama to win re-election in 2012. Because the political landscape has just shifted dramatically.
Of course, it’s not going to be any walk in the park for Obama and Democrats. It never is, for either party. But, even with John Boehner caving in on payroll tax cuts, the political equation has experienced nothing less than a historic, seismic shift. And Democrats now enjoy a huge advantage. Think about it.
Ever since Ronald Reagan, Republicans marketed themselves as the party of tax cuts. In fact, 274 Republicans in Congress signed a pledge never, never, never to vote to raise taxes on anybody. But, once asked to cut taxes for the middle class, Republicans were willing to throw that pledge right out the window.
By initially refusing to allow members of the House to vote on the Senate plan to extend payroll taxes for two months – a plan co-sponsored by Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and approved by 89 members of the Senate, including 39 Republicans – Boehner effectively announced to 160 million American wage-earners: We changed our minds. Forget all that stuff we said about never raising taxes. Forget our pledge to Grover Norquist. Effective Jan. 1, Republicans were ready and willing to raise taxes on every American who draws a paycheck.