I will spend a lot of time on the program today discussing “the deal,” but as Rush pointed out on his show this past hour, the GOP could have gotten so much more. President Obama would never have allowed taxes to go up on the middle class. Never.
What the D.C. GOP failed to grasp and what is now the source of anger among its supporters beyond the terms themselves is that for the past two years the D.C. GOP has been complaining bitterly and appropriately about being excluded from the process of governing. No sooner does the D.C. GOP get welcomed into the governing councils of the Beltway but they in turn exclude the people who sent them there, and not just the scores of newly elected representatives and senators who were not consulted on this “deal,” but the millions of people who worked and contributed to the victory of November 2.
All it would have taken was a a request for input on various terms from the Republican negotiators to the new members of Congress and an invitation to the public to weigh in. But the old guard took it upon themselves to decide for the rest of the country what should be in the deal, and in so doing reverted to the form that brought about the Gang of 14 and immigration fiasco.
If the GOP intends to wield their new power the way that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid did over the past two years, they will be shocked at how quickly the public deserts them. Springing this deal on their new colleagues and their supporters without any opportunity to comment on it is the GOP version of refusing to attend townhall meetings. Simply astonishing.
UPDATE: President Obama referred to the GOP as hostage takers just now, and is referring to the polls as on his side. Chuck Todd’s question about whether the president will now cave again and again leads to the president’s declaration that he hopes the GOP tests him. He points out that there are a “whole bunch of things the Republicans are giving up.” His additional statements that “I am happy to have that battle” and “I am happy to be tested over the next several months over our ability to negotiate with the Republicans” signal that Obama cannot again disappoint the left. The GOP had one moment of leverage, and they used it for the minimum they could have had, and they did so in such a way as to cut out their new colleagues and their strongest supporters.