In a stunning reversal, and only hours after he argued that Republicans would not give in, Speaker John Boehner caved on the issue of the payroll tax-cut extension. As if he were a newcomer with no political savvy at all, Boehner allowed himself to be cut up, diced, and served on the pizza of President Barack Obama. Boehner had the truth on his side, but he fell for the whining theatrics of those who lined up with Obama to beg the Republicans for a continuation of the extension.
Obama and the Democrats painted the debate as if it were Republicans who wanted to deny the continuance of the payroll tax cut. It was a masterful, but deceitful political ploy. On December 20th, you see, the House of Representatives had already passed a year-long continuance of the deal. For his own political gain Obama misrepresented the GOP … and once again, demonstrating a lack of political courage, the Republican leadership allowed it to happen with barely a fight.
Using average Americans as political pawns, Obama took his misrepresentation to the television airways yesterday. The tax-cut extension had to be passed for two months, he insisted, so that Joseph in New Jersey could have pizza night with his daughters. It was necessary so that Richard from Rhode Island continue to heat his home in the winter and to allow Pete in Wisconsin to visit his elderly father. All of this was a stake, it seemed, because the evil Republicans in the House of Representatives were holding up the bill preferred by Obama.
To his credit, Boehner started to grow some gonads, but he could not or would not sustain the political will to challenge Obama’s mischaracterization.
I recognize that the press was supportive of the Obama falsehood. I also recognize that it’s an uphill battle for Speaker Boehner. But let’s grow some political gonads and devise a counter strategy. The truth is always worth the fight.
In the end, this is one more example of something I’ve mentioned in an earlier post. Far too often the debate in Washington is framed by liberal Democrats from the start. Far too many times Republicans find themselves on the defensive, trying to catch up from behind. It’s a tactic that Obama uses with great skill. Like the Peanuts character Lucy, he is forever pulling the football from underneath the GOP. It seems they fall for it just about every time.
The dirty little secret is that this tax-cut extension means that less money is going into Social Security. It’s one more way that the Social Security timebomb is being ignored. The can is continually kicked down the road, as they say.
Relax, Joseph in New Jersey. Pizza nights with your teens are safe for a couple of months. Whether they’ll be able to afford pizza in their old age is another question altogether.