Sometimes, people turn logic on its head. Sometimes, they turn logic on hits head and lift the body and bang the head repeatedly into the floor.
President Obama and his spokesman, Jay Carney, in league with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, today began a political game of brinksmanship with the payroll tax cut – all while accusing Republican of playing a political game of brinksmanship with the payroll tax cut.
The Senate last week passed a bill extending the payroll tax cuts for two months. The House today passed a bill doing it for a year. The House now wants to have a conference committee to iron out the differences.
THIS IS WHAT IS KNOWN AS REGULAR ORDER. That is, it’s the normal way of doing business. But the Senate left town after passing its version and ain’t coming back
The White House is throwing a massive hissy fit because the House didin’t do what was expected of it – that is, just pass the Senate version. I think there’s some truth to the White House claim that it thought it had at a least a signal from Speaker Boehner that he would do just that. But Boehner, whom senior Obama aides privately scorn as an ineffective, incompetent leader, suddenly figured out his caucus doesn’t like the idea, and backtracked.
Boehner often seems to have no idea what his caucus is thinking, because Boehner is a Washington insider, and his caucus is filled with people who were sent to Washington to screw Washington insiders.
But let’s assume everything the White House thinks about Boehner and House Republicans is true. It’s not, but lets assume it is. The fact remains that the only way to get a deal done now is to call the Senate back in. But Reid doesn’t want to interrupt the senators as they go about baking their Christmas hams, and Obama agrees.
Remember, it was the Senate, not the House, that violated Obama’s demand not to leave town until the payroll tax cut extension was complete. And it was not complete when the Senate left.
If Obama really is so deeply distressed about the prospect of payroll taxes going up at the end of the year as scheduled, he’ll demand the Senate get its collective ass back to Washington.
A deal could be reached fairly easily.
Unless – unless, wait a second – unless Obama thinks it’s more important to get a political advantage out of trying to blame Republicans for allowing the tax to increase.
And that two-month extension in the Senate bill is, BTW, just too priceless to give up. It means that Obama would get a chance in January to start bashing Republicans again on the issue while they try to negotiate a full-year extension.
Boehner’s change of heart was due to a principled group of Republican Tea Party members willing to stay in town to get a bill done. Obama hopes to turn them into savage payroll tax cut eaters. He may get some political gain. At your expense.