Score one for Mark Halperin: They really are having a collective nervous breakdown over this. In fairness, Menendez isn’t making a moral comparison, just a dimwitted analogy about the perils of appeasing bad behavior (a Democratic first!), but since the media would duly soil itself over a Republican using the same rhetoric, I encourage you to grind his face in this in the comments. One lingering question: If the New Year’s deadline for extending the cuts is what’s creating this terrible “hostage” situation, why didn’t our heavily Democratic majority deal with it earlier this year? And if the answer to that is that those darned Republican terrorists in the Senate would have filibustered, well, we’ll see how much Democrats learn to appreciate “terrorist” tactics when they’re back in the minority come 2013.

Whether they’re being spurred on by poll numbers showing a majority opposed to extending tax cuts for the wealthy or simple crankiness due to their looming loss of power in the House, Dems sure are in a feisty mood today. Claire McCaskill mumbled something this morning about taking up pitchforks if all the tax cuts are extended, which would be cause for an official MSNBC domestic-terror incitement alert had it come from the GOP. And Chuck Schumer — well, just check this out. Via Guy Benson:

Schumer, who handily won re-election this year, acknowledged the anger vented by tea partyers and others during the election but insisted that didn’t extend to upper-income tax cuts.

Voters “did say ‘repeal health care,’ they did say ‘reduce the size of government.’ But not a single one of them from the tea party or anywhere said ‘give tax breaks to the wealthiest,’” Schumer said in a rare moment of candor.

So the midterms were a referendum on repealing ObamaCare, by the Democrats’ own admission? There’s your tax-cut compromise, then: Republicans will agree to let the cuts lapse for households earning over a quarter mil in return for the left agreeing to torpedo our new health-care boondoggle, per the voters’ wishes according to none other than Charles Schumer himself. Make the deal, McConnell!