As debt-reductions talks continue, congressional Republicans appear to be guided by a single, overarching policy: under no circumstances can job creators millionaires and billionaires be expected to pay even a penny more in taxes.
Yesterday, an unlikely Republican ally urged his party to get over it.
Appearing on Fox News, Bill Kristol, a leading voice in Republican media, offered some advice to GOP policymakers yesterday: “Don’t scream and yell when one person says. ‘You know what? It won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.’ It really won’t, I don’t think.”
He added he doesn’t understand why Republicans “don’t take Obama’s offer” to return to Clinton-era rates on income above $250,000. Kristol asked, “Really? The Republican Party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic and half of whom live in Hollywood and are hostile to Republican principles?”
I suspect the odds of Republican lawmakers taking Kristol’s advice are small, but the significance of this is the way in which it frames the larger debate for the media, the public, and the political establishment.
Kristol, in this case, is conceding that the Democratic frame is correct: as part of a balanced agreement in which both sides make concessions, Republicans are going to have to accept higher rates on the wealthy.
If they don’t, there will be no deal, and more importantly, the failure of the talks will be Republicans’ fault. That’s not the liberal interpretation of events; that’s Bill Kristol’s interpretation of events.