GOP Must Not Accept the Premise That Congress Has to Hike Taxes

The White House meeting today, the Republicans and the president on the debt ceiling. What always happens here has happened. You can’t avoid it happening. It’s how you deal with it if you’re the Republicans that matters. The Republicans are forced into reacting. Obama is the president. As such, in circumstances like this, the president sets the premise, and then the Republicans react to that premise. Now, there’s a big difference between reacting to it and accepting it and discussing it and debating it all within the context and confines of the premise as set forth by Obama. So what happens here, I think the Republicans need to stop reacting to all of this talk about revenue. I don’t know if you know this or not, but Reuters put out an abject lie of a story last evening around six or 6:30 saying that Jon Kyl, Republican senator from Arizona, had agreed to tax increases. He hadn’t, and they knew it.

They were taking an excerpt of some comments that Senator Kyl made on the Senate floor days earlier about something relatively unrelated to this, and they just ran with it. And a lot of people in the conservative blogosphere predictably started going nuts, and they started calling Kyl’s office and accused him of being a traitor. So Kyl’s office, “What’s going on here?” They looked into it. They found out that Reuters was just lying about it, so they put out their correction, and everybody backed off against Kyl. He was talking about revenues, but the kind of revenues that result from federal property being sold. He was not talking about tax increases. Reuters tried to make it look like the Republicans had secretly already agreed with raising taxes, and they had not. So this is the kind of thing that Republicans face.

In the meeting today — and this has also been reported in the press pretty much this way, this is an idea here of how misleading and dangerous this all is — in the meeting today, Obama is going to let the Republicans take the blame for cuts to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for raising taxes. That’s what he hopes is reported when this is over. And given that Reuters lied yesterday, what’s to say that the media won’t report it that way no matter what happens? That’s what Obama wants. At the end of this whole thing, Obama wants it reported that the Republicans secured their entitlement cuts, Republicans succeeded in cuts to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for raising taxes. That’s what Obama wants out of this today, and he wants a long-term deal. He wants some deal that they can go out there and say that there’s two to three, maybe even four trillion dollars of deficit reduction when there won’t be, over 10, 15 years, what have you.



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