McConnell is engaged in ‘outright extortion’ over millionaire tax cuts

The state of the Krugman is Not Pleased about Republican gangster tactics:

“Nice middle class you got here,” said Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader. “It would be a shame if something happened to it.”

O.K., he didn’t actually say that. But he might as well have, because that’s what the current confrontation over taxes amounts to. Mr. McConnell, who was self-righteously denouncing the budget deficit just the other day, now wants to blow that deficit up with big tax cuts for the rich. But he doesn’t have the votes. So he’s trying to get what he wants by pointing a gun at the heads of middle-class families, threatening to force a jump in their taxes unless he gets paid off with hugely expensive tax breaks for the wealthy. …

[T]here’s an even bigger issue here — namely, the question of what constitutes acceptable behavior in American political life. Politics ain’t beanbag, but there’s a difference between playing hardball and engaging in outright extortion, which is what Mr. McConnell is now doing. And if he succeeds, it will set a disastrous precedent.

Notice that this is the Senate. Here’s the reason John Boehner (“The Tan who would be Speaker” in Joe’s formulation) can cave to Obama in the House — in a plan to turn House seats red with populist cred. If the game is fixed, it’s fixed in the Senate.

Krugman lays the blame for this situation in several places. Then he adds: “The deeper answer lies in the radicalization of the Republican Party, its transformation into a movement willing to put the economy and the nation at risk for the sake of partisan victory.”

“Radicalization of the Republican Party” … almost sounds like that “revolutionary force” someone wrote about in 2003.

The column is a good read, with a nice history lesson folded into the middle. The fact that he ends by calling for the administration not to cave, almost suggests that he’s worried they might.

I’m not sure they will; they’ve put themselves very far out there on this one. But just in case, I’ll add my small voice as well — You’re holding four aces; don’t fold.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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