Green Room

The GOP’s costly fumble over the payroll tax extension

posted at 10:53 am on December 21, 2011 by

In Washington politics, appearances are everything, especially in the era of Barack Obama. No one understands this better than liberals. One of them, an associate political science professor named Thomas F. Schaller, wrote in a column at Salon:

The payroll tax fight provides the president a rare opportunity to pull together so many of the loose threads of his presidency. This is the opportunity for the former law professor to be an educator-in-chief about the growing disparities between those who derived incomes from wealth and those who derive them from work. It is an opportunity to prove that he can stare down and unmask the rump Republican national minority that pretends its House majority represents the public will. It is a chance to prove that Washington’s rigged game need not always result in the spoils of political victory going automatically, or at least disproportionately, to the economically spoiled. This is, in short, a moment for the president to demonstrate the resolve that earned his hopeful believers’ support three years ago, and it comes as he begins asking the electorate for another four-year lease on the Oval Office.

The sad part is that he is right. In the fight that counts—the battle to win public approval—the GOP blew it. In voting down the Senate’s two-month extension of the payroll tax before the Christmas recess, the House Republicans end up looking like the Grinch, an image that the Democrats will milk for all its worth.

Not that extending the payroll tax holiday makes any economic sense to start with. What the Senate bill would boil down to is an extra $150 in the pocket of every American family in 2012—period. The lowering of costs to employers, from 6.2% to 4.2%, would yield zero stimulative effect. This legislation is an example of the purest and most cynical form of politics at work.

As an added irony, the GOP alternative is to extend this tax holiday for a year, not just two months.

Instead, Obama gets to paint himself as a frustrated tax cutter—or, in the spirit of the holiday, gift giver—while the Republicans get branded as the party of a lump of coal. And all of this comes at a time when, in case you haven’t noticed, the president’s approval ratings have been ticking upward.

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“And all of this comes at a time when, in case you haven’t noticed, the president’s approval ratings have been ticking upward.”

Gallup: 42/50

RV poll and D+5

Relax pal

Eph on December 21, 2011 at 11:48 AM

I’ve seen three polls. One didn’t give the breakdown of those polled. The other two had D+5 to 9

Hard Right on December 21, 2011 at 12:44 PM

About that surge for Obama over this issue….it doesn’t exist.

Stop buying the garbage coming from WaPo and CNN polls that have a D+12 sample advantage. Rasmussen and Gallup do daily polling. They are the only 2 polls that can be trusted for consistency. And according to both of them, there has been no movement for Obama over the past week, when supposedly he’s “surging” in support over the payroll tax issue.

GALLUP PAST WEEK: (approve/disapprove)
12/10-12/2011 45 48
12/11-13/2011 43 49
12/12-14/2011 42 50
12/13-15/2011 41 51
12/14-17/2011 42 51
12/16-18/2011 42 50
12/17-19/2011 43 50
12/18-20/2011 43 49

He’s worse off now than a week ago.

RASMUSSEN PAST WEEK: (Index, strong approve, strong disapprove, overal approve, overall disapprove)

12/21/2011 -18 21% 39% 47% 51%
12/20/2011 -18 21% 39% 47% 51%
12/19/2011 -16 23% 39% 47% 51%
12/18/2011 -19 23% 42% 47% 52%
12/17/2011 -17 25% 42% 47% 53%
12/16/2011 -18 25% 43% 47% 52%
12/15/2011 -15 25% 40% 47% 52%
12/14/2011 -17 23% 40% 46% 52%

Essentially unchanged.

angryed on December 21, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Obama the tax cutter? Srsly? This is what everyone is saying Boehner blew it over? Lol!

Vlad the Career Counselor?

Hitler the Neighborhood Watch president?

Maxine Waters the Hot Chick?

Geez! Lighten up, Francis…

MTLassen on December 21, 2011 at 3:04 PM

In voting down the Senate’s two-month extension of the payroll tax before the Christmas recess, the House Republicans end up looking like the Grinch, an image that the Democrats will milk for all its worth.

Sure, but doesn’t this say more about an easily misinformed electorate which does not understand that the House Republicans were pushing for a one year extension?

I don’t get it. The Republicans were holding out for a twelve month deal, just as the President wanted, and they are the bad guys?

BigAlSouth on December 22, 2011 at 7:07 AM

“About that surge for Obama over this issue….it doesn’t exist.”

What do you expect from a lib-turd that dumps on Tebow?

Eph on December 23, 2011 at 9:49 AM