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The Democrats try Civil War

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 09 2010

Reaction to the tax compromise was swift and all over the map.

The left wing of Congressional Democrats is in close to open revolt while moderates try to explain that extending the tax rates for high income taxpayers was the cost of getting a second stimulus bill.  It is by no means clear that Democrats have the votes to pass the compromise in the House or the Senate.

Republicans, meanwhile, are keeping their promise to block all legislation until the tax compromise passes.  At the same time, they are facing dissent from the right wing, and it is not clear if they can provide enough votes in the House or Senate to overcome likely Democratic defections.

Still, common wisdom is that the compromise will pass, but that getting there will be uglier than health care reform.

Why will it pass?  Because the Democrats need the stimulus aspects of the compromise to avoid a second sweep in the 2012 election.

Why are Democrats angry?  The shouting is about the President's negotiating style, which the left wing calls "caving".  They may have a point, but it misses reality.  The Democrats are victims of believing their own press.

The 2008 election did not give Democrats the much reported "filibuster proof" Senate.  To get to 60, the Democrats had to count Conservative Democrats from red states (the obvious example is Ben Nelson, D-NB), a Socialist from Vermont, and an idependent from Connecticut who was elected as an independent with Republican financial support after losing the Democratic primary to a left wing insurgent.  Then there were the Senators who traded votes for constituent benefits (Ben Nelson, again, and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) are the two best known).

Hardly filibuster proof.  But the left wing believed the press and, after eight years of the Bush administration, had developed a case of exuberant overexpectations.  Rather than deal with the facts, many liberals are blaming the President for what they see are lost opportunities.  There is even talk of a primary challenge to the President from the left - sort of like Teddy Kennedy and Jimmy Carter in 1980, but without any chance of success.

Not that the Republicans are much better off.

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