This is why Democrats consistently lose the message battle—theirs is not cohesive and it’s too convoluted and complex for non-political junkies to understand. One “senior House leadership aide” tells Talking Points Memo that there won’t be a vote on extension of the Bush tax cuts, another says there may be a vote after all. Make up your mind.
After John Boehner’s alleged “misstep” on Sunday when he said he would vote for an extension that didn’t include those making over $250,000 a year “if that were the only option” it would appear that Democrats have an opportunity to make Boehner put his money where his mouth is, so to speak.
Not so simple when one of those “senior House leadership aides” says Democrats don’t want to “force his hand” by scheduling a vote on the extension, they just want to use it as a campaign issue. Dumb de dumb dumb.
“You don’t need a vote in the House to say the party is blocking tax relief for the middle class – you can just point and say, ‘Look! Senate Republicans blocked it,'” the aide said. “If Republicans killed a tax cut, that could be potentially game changing for Democrats in both chambers.”
Wrong. Here’s where Democrats get too cute by half and get too far into the political weeds with their message. The average voter who doesn’t follow this stuff every day doesn’t know and doesn’t care about how the Bush tax cuts were written by Republicans with an expiration date, and that if they are allowed to expire it will actually be Republicans who have raised taxes.
The average voter doesn’t get, and doesn’t care about, all the intricacies of who did what and why. They don’t know and don’t care about parliamentary procedures and filibusters. They know this—Democrats are in charge of both Houses. If nothing gets passed, taxes go up on everybody. Therefore, Democrats raised their taxes. Nobody wants taxes raised, so throw the bums out, which is the simple to understand Republican message.
If Democrats would use their head, and if they really wanted to take advantage of the apparent “rift” between Boehner and McConnell on this issue (I say apparent because it’s not really a rift, it’s a kabuki dance designed to set a trap which Democrats are stepping into) they would introduce a simple piece of legislation in both Houses. The Bush rates remain in effect for people making under $250,000 and go up for those making over that amount. Make Republicans go on the record as being in favor of tax cuts for rich people, a simple message that everyone can grasp.
KISS. And for once, get everybody on the same page. Please.