Obama administration & Dems play Good Cop, Bad Cop with Norquist-worshipping Republicans


Pay no attention to the lobbyist behind the curtain

As LOLGOP pointed out this morning, there are Republicans who handily won re-election in their gerrymandered districts who do not fear the fiscal cliff. They can serve their two-percenter masters without fear that plunging our country into another recession will hurt their political careers in any way. But President Obama has a couple of things going for him. The first is that most Americans WILL blame the Republicans for “going there” if we do, indeed, go off the mythical cliff. Then there’s the fact that he won the election largely because he promised the super-wealthy would no longer be allowed to avoid paying their fair share in taxes.

Democrats are beginning to show some real spine in this debate. Politico reports today that many of them are ready to use their success on November 6th to restore some sanity to our budget.

Democrats in Congress, led by incoming Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, are much more aggressive in their approach to the fiscal cliff. The Washington Democrat has said that going off the cliff is one way to “get past” the impasse over fiscal policy on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Democratic Reps. Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Vermont’s Peter Welch have backed Murray.

Rockefeller led a liberal revolt before Thanksgiving by circulating a letter, along with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), insisting that any deal include $1 in revenue for every $1 in spending cuts.

Rockefeller said Monday that numbers like those in the White House report are concerning, but he urged Democrats to maintain a hard line on ending the Bush tax cuts for top earners.

“I do know this: Holding the line on raising taxes on the wealthy, that’ll probably raise taxes on about 7,000 families in West Virginia as opposed to everybody else,” he said.

The report that Rockefeller refers to is a White House report suggesting that raising taxes on everyone, including the 98% of us that aren’t fabulously wealthy, runs the risk of sending our economy right back into a solid recession. So, while they play “Bad Cop”, the White House is playing “Good Cop”, trying to find a way through this potential hostage situation the Republicans are once again instigating.

Even before releasing Monday’s report, the administration had been downplaying the idea that going off the cliff would be a win for Democrats. In a press conference earlier this month, Obama said failure to get a deal would provide Americans with a “rude shock” that could trigger another recession.

“It would be a bad thing,” he said. “It’s not necessary.”

Today, at the White House, he put the options in plain English:

Right now, as we speak, Congress can pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income. Everybody’s. And that means that 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses wouldn’t see their income taxes go up by a single dime. Ninety-eight percent of Americans, 97 percent of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up by a single dime.

Even the wealthiest Americans would still get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income. So it’s not like folks who make more than $250,000 aren’t getting a tax break, too. They’re getting a tax break on the first $250,000 just like everybody else.

Very reasonable. And it’s a good strategy. President Obama can afford to be seen as reasonable on this issue because, the fact is, he holds nearly all the cards. If the Republicans won’t budge, everyone’s taxes go up and the Republicans’ claim to be against tax hikes will be seen for the sham that it is. They are, as LOLGOP showed clearly earlier this week, only against tax cuts for their wealthy masters — the two-percenters.

I call the fiscal cliff mythical because it doesn’t exist. The instant taxes go up Congress can immediately pass a bill to restore any or all of them. House Democrats will simply put forth a bill that restores the breaks for the 98-percenters and force the Republicans to vote against it. Then, in the midterm election two years from now, we tell them how we feel about it if they DO vote against. That includes the tea partiers.

Don’t think the President doesn’t know this. On Friday, he will make his case in Pennsylvania.

On Friday, November 30th, the President will travel to Montgomery County, Pennsylvania to continue making the public case for action by visiting a business that depends on middle class consumers during the holiday season, and could be impacted if taxes go up on 98 percent of Americans at the end of the year. As we enter the holiday season, the White House continues to urge Congress to act to renew middle class tax cuts so families have a little more certainty at this critical time for our economy.

President Obama will tour and deliver remarks at The Rodon Group manufacturing facility in Hatfield, PA. The Rodon Group is the sole American manufacturer for K’NEX Brands, a construction toy company whose products include Tinkertoy, K’NEX Building Sets and Angry Bird Building Sets. The Rodon Group and K’NEX Brands, both third-generation family businesses, employ over 150 people at their Hatfield facilities.

Ironically, some Republicans think going off the cliff-that’s-not-a-cliff will benefit them.

Republican Rep. Tom Cole urged colleagues in a private session Tuesday to vote to extend the Bush tax rates for all but the highest earners before the end of the year — and to battle over the rest later.

The Oklahoma Republican said in an interview with POLITICO that he believes such a vote would not violate Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge and that he’s not alone within Republican circles. {…}

[H]e told POLITICO, Republicans should fight the president over tax rates for the top earners after everyone else is taken care of. That would rob the president of the argument that Republicans are holding up tax cuts for all but the top earners, Cole said.

“Some people think that’s our leverage in the debate. It’s the Democrats’ leverage in the debate,” he said.

Have no fear, though. John Boehner isn’t having it. So, as he and his bought-and-paid for pals in Congress worship at the altar of Grover Norquist and his decades-old “no taxes” pledge, the Democrats and the Obama administration can use the bully pulpit and some good old fashioned Good Cop/Bad Cop action to make their case to the American people.

It’s nice to have the upper hand for once, isn’t it?

Can I get an amen?

Norquist painting by Michael D’Antuono, used with permission. D’Antuono has this artist’s statement about his painting which can be seen with his other political art at ArtAndResponse.com.

Has Grover Norquist Put The GOP In An “Uncompromising” Position?
We’ve all been warned about the looming fiscal cliff. During the campaign, the Republicans would often point to a clock counting off to the moment of our economic apocalypse. That may be a bombastic way to hype a self-inflicted financial disaster. But it is true that if the Republicans and Democrats can’t come to some sort of compromise by December 31, we will be in a economic pickle of no one’s liking.

And there’s that word – compromise. It’s an important one. I even snuck it in the title of this blog. Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated Democrats do it. Unfortunately, 95% of the Republicans in office have signed a pledge to a lobbyist named Grover not to compromise when it comes to raising taxes. That means not agreeing to extend the Bush tax cuts for 98% of Americans if the top 2% don’t get to keep them. They’ll tell you that it’s because without the lower tax rate, “job creators” won’t be able to create jobs. It seems to me that the job creators created a lot more jobs without it under the Clinton administration than they have since. But the real reason is because if they renege on their pledge to the Great and Powerful Grover, he will not allocate any money to their next campaign. After all, they want to save jobs … their own. Unfortunately, that stubbornness has created the gridlock that has downgraded our economic status and stalled our recovery.

Since the election hasn’t really gone their way, the GOP are beginning realize that the people aren’t particularly fond of gridlock. As more people become aware of their subservient relationship with the lobbyist, some key Republicans are subtly starting to distance themselves from Grover. As an artist, I’ve tried to do my part to help that process along with my painting “Who The Hell Is Grover Norquist?” Do your part and pass it around. Let’s convince the Republican leaders to lead instead of following a lobbyist like junkies to their dealer. It might put them in a more “compromising” position.