Economist Dan Mitchell writes that “The No-Tax-Hike Pledge Is an IQ Test for Republicans.” And that’s always a dangerous thing when you’re dealing with the Stupid Party:
Eugene Robinson is one of the group-think columnists at the Washington Post. Like E.J. Dionne, he is an utterly predictable proponent of big government. So it won’t surprise you to know that he wants taxes to go up and he’s a big fan of Obama’s class-warfare agenda.
He’s also a very partisan Democrat and wants the GOP to lose. Again, that’s not exactly a stunning revelation.
So when someone like Eugene Robinson starts offering advice to the Republican Party about tax policy, a logical person instantly should be suspicious that he’s actually trying to advance his own ideological and partisan agenda. . . . In this spirit, Mr. Robinson wants the GOP to abandon the no-tax-hike pledge.
And of course, so does Barry O, Charles Krauthammer adds:
[Obama is] not trying to fix our fiscal issues and problems. He’s trying to destroy the Republicans by insisting that there is a split among the Republicans on this issue which has held them together, the same way it destroyed President Bush Sr. when he went back on the pledge he made. This is a political attack on Republicans. There is no evidence right now that he has any interest in the real fiscal issue because he would have to talk about spending and entitlements and he isn’t.
Glenn Reynolds notes that when George H.W. Bush was talked into raising taxes by Democrats, he was “hailed as a conciliator for a day, then savaged brutally by the same press until he lost the 1992 election.”
And then further bludgeoned for violating his one promise from 1988 in television ads produced by the same party that had previously begged him to raise taxes. It’s a definitive example of Tim Matheson’s famous line from Animal House: “You f*cked up. You trusted us:”
The ads not only write themselves if the 2012 GOP folds as badly as Bush #41 — they’ve already been written.
Update: “What if the President Isn’t Bluffing,” Bryan Preston asks:
A recession in 2013 obviously comes on the calendar before the mid-term elections of 2014. If President Obama and the Democrats intend to cause a recession and blame it on the Republicans, their real game could be to use a spike in economic misery to take the House back and hold the Senate in 2014. They already face a daunting task in both; Republicans have a strong grip on the House and have to defend fewer seats than the Democrats have to defend in 2014. The Democrats need something to upset that plus deal with history: the party in the White House tends to lose seats in mid-terms.
I’m not saying that this strategy is without risks, or that it is anywhere near something that a responsible president and party would even contemplate. But we’re dealing with a president who despite his rhetoric is far out of the mainstream on policy, and is quite capable of ignoring public opinion in the short term to achieve his goals in the long term. He could trade some pain in early 2013 for 18 months to spin that pain as the Republicans’ fault, and present himself and his party as the only defense for Americans who have found themselves depending on government services to survive. The Democrats are a party without elder statesmen who ever think of putting the country ahead of their party.
So the president may well not be bluffing, and he may be willing to risk hurting millions of Americans in order to make them loyal to him.
Read the whole thing.