Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Agony of Victory

Earlier today, the House of Representatives held a vote to extend the Bush tax cuts only to those making less than a quarter of a million dollars a year. All but 3 Republicans voted against the measure because the tax cuts did not extend to the wealthiest Americans. Cheerleaders for what passes for the left in this country are calling this a victory. By voting to raise everyone's taxes if the rich don't also keep their cut, they say, the GOP is showing their true colors. Their base, who voted them in based on promises of lower taxes, is bound to take notice.

Call me a cynic, but I don't think this is the victory some people believe it to be because, let's face it, the GOP base is not swayed by reality. Soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner (who, for the record, said during the recent elections that he would vote for this exact measure if he had no other choice) has already called the vote "chicken crap," and there's a good chance that will be enough to convince the right that House Republicans made a wise, brave decision. If the GOP base happens to demand some reason for why their elected representatives voted in direct opposition to the purported party line, Fox and friends will drag out trickle-down economics and talk about how they really voted against raising taxes for "job creators."

The Republicans know this, which is why progressives should look on today's vote as a defeat, not a victory. If anything, today's vote is proof that the GOP knows it can do whatever is necessary to enrich the wealthy without fear of losing votes when the next election comes around. As long as the GOP spin machine keeps rolling, the bases will continue to vote against their own self-interest, no matter how blatantly the GOP screws them over.

To the liberals who are calling this a victory, I think the words of Winston Wolf are appropriate here: "let's not start sucking each others' dicks quite yet."
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