During Tuesday’s news conference, President Obama took the offensive against his critics within the Democratic Party. The President argued that Republicans had made across-the-board tax cut extensions such a centerpiece of their agenda that it would be impossible to get a limited extension through the Senate. The risk to Mr. Obama and Democrats would be average Americans seeing whopping income tax increases, as all the cuts expired.
However, liberal critics of the President argue either that Republicans would’ve been blamed or that the threat of full expiration afforded him a chance to get more concessions than he did.
Given that Republicans made extending the tax cuts such a central part of their push, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where they would’ve backed down and allowed the upper income cuts to expire. Given the likely anger that would’ve hit both parties, it’s hard to know which one would’ve been hurt more.
Republicans would’ve attempted to portray themselves as standing on principle to avoid tax increases during a recession. Democrats would’ve attempted to portray themselves as standing on principle to raise more revenue for government services and deficit reduction.
Republicans would see it through their eyes and Democrats through theirs. Which one would’ve connected with independent voters?