That’s what it amounts to — a full revolt against the Democratic leadership and the president:
In the House, 31 Democrats rebuffed their leadership on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, signing a letter calling for temporary extension of all the breaks and signaling a possible impasse in Washington’s bid to deal with the thorny political problem.
The letter provided the most dramatic sign yet of Democrat jitters over voting for the Obama administration’s plan to extend current tax levels for middle-class earners—families making less than $250,000—while allowing taxes to rise for higher earners starting January.
House Democratic leaders had hoped to use the tax cuts as a rallying cry in the run-up to the election, casting Republicans who favor extending all the breaks as obstructionists and allies of the rich. Instead, the party now faces long odds in passing its tax plan before the November elections. The 31 Democrats, plus House Republicans, come close to forming a majority in that chamber.
It’s remarkable when you think of it — each of Obama’s election gambits, be it immigration reform or class warfare, has backfired spectacularly.
As you can imagine, Minority Leader John Boehner is now greatly relieved after suggesting he might have to strike a deal if a partial extension of the Bush tax cuts was his “only option.” Presto: he’s got another option. (Boehner should be grateful indeed that House Democrats have helped rescue him from a mess of his own making.) And sure enough, his spokesman rushed forth to declare: “A growing bipartisan chorus is listening to the American people, who know the last thing we need in a struggling economy is a tax hike on small business.” Or a feckless compromise with an increasingly unpopular president. So now the minority leader is on board, demanding an up or down vote on the full extension of the Bush tax cuts.
This, or course, is a preview of what is to come after November: an invigorated Republican majority will be joined by Democrats who are no longer willing to carry water for the White House. The result may be a broad-based coalition capable of doing productive things, including repealing ObamaCare, restraining spending, and maybe even reforming entitlements.