Even George W. Bush’s top strategist Karl Rove thinks House Republicans overreached in reneging on the payroll tax cut deal. His advice: having lost the politics, Republicans should wait until (or to see if?) President Obama flies off to Hawaii on vacation, bash him and congressional Democrats for abdicating their duties, and then … pass the same Senate payroll tax cut compromise they could have passed on Tuesday.
“I think the Wall Street journal editorial today hit it on the nail,” Rove said Wednesday on Fox News.
The question now is how do the Republicans get out it? And there is only one way to get out of it. And that is, stay in Washington. Wait until President Obama gets on an airplane and heads to Hawaii and then hold a session of the House, vote the two month extension, and use it as an opportunity to beat up on the now long-absent Democrats and Harry Reid and the absent President and say, look, this is going to cause … not be good for the companies that have to write the paychecks because we have heard from the people who process payroll checks that this is gonna be a problem, and it is not good for the American people because we’re only giving them a two months not a year’s worth of confidence. Use it for political theater and then vote the extension and get out of town. They’ve lost the optics on it and the only way to win it is to just stick there and ruin their own Christmases and wait until the President heads off to Hawaii and then lambast the Democrats for having abdicated their responsibility to pass a year-long tax cut.
There’s a lot of brainstorming going on among Congressional Republicans about how to fail with dignity. They’re not floating any trial balloons just yet, but now they have Karl Rove’s two cents.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.