The GOP was always at a disadvantage throughout the health care discussions. Every time a Democrat looked shaky during an Obamacare debate they would always fall back on the two big emotional points that were winners. Health care has to pass because: (a) people are not able to get insurance due to pre-existing conditions and (b) people are being dropped from coverage because they get sick. The Democrats defined the problem around the country’s obligation to cure those problems.
It was a smart strategy because it was right (although, curiously, so far few people have signed up for high risk pools). The Republicans knew health care was a big issue more than eight years ago. Nevertheless they did nothing. They had eight years of opportunity to get out in front and define the problem and possible solutions. They wasted them. So now we have a 2000 page law that was passed, effectively, to meet those two obligations.
Now, as Yogi would say, we have deja vu all over again.
The Republicans want big spending cuts. They want cuts to programs near and dear to progressive hearts. They even want (the unthinkable) cuts to entitlement programs. Why? “Well because the deficit is eating us up. We’re taking in much less than we’re paying out.”
“Then why” say the Democrats, “did you extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy”?
No really valid response from the Republicans. Why? Because they know it was a stupid thing to do. They trapped themselves and now the Democrats have the same kind of advantage they had in the health care debates. Seriously rich guys like Warren Buffet and Bill Gross have said very publicly that taxes should be raised for the rich. The CEO’s of big companies (particularly banks) are flaunting their multi-million dollar incomes (don’t get me started on them). The media is constantly flogging a perceived growing divide between the rich and the poor.
So what does the GOP do? They get them a tax break. Arrrg!
The debates for the next two years are going to be framed around those issues, and Obama had a hand in it. Why do you suppose he agreed to extend the tax cuts?
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