And Republicans are openly acknowledging they have a much weaker hand post-election. One of the top Conservative thinkers, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, criticized his party on Sunday morning for its obsession with defending tax cuts for the rich. Kristol advised Republicans to take President Obama’s deal to immediately pass a tax cut extension for 98% of Americans while allowing the top tax rate on the richest 2% to go up. Kristol said, “It won’t kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires…the Republican party is gonna 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 Republicans?”
Kristol is right – though he’s forgetting the pledge of allegiance the Republican Party has sworn to anti-tax master and millionaire K-Street lobbyist Grover Norquist. But if Democrats hold firm and let everyone’s taxes go up after January 1st, then Norquist’s pledge is irrelevant and Republicans won’t have a choice but to extend tax cuts for the middle class. Everyone needs to keep an eye on what happens over the next few weeks. And Democrats in particular need to remember they have the upper hand in this fight and they should not compromise on their principles. That means no grand bargain that shreds Social Security, Medicare, and social welfare programs for the poor.
As President Franklin Roosevelt said in 1940, “the Democratic Party has received the support of the electorate only when the party, with absolute clarity, has been the champion of progressive and liberal policies and principles of government.” It’s time for the Democrats to be that Party again.