Now that President Obama has put tax increases on the table in order to balance the budget, his media are going to put even more pressure on Republicans to comply.
A fine example of this happened on CNN's "John King USA" Thursday when the host actually asked Sen. Rob Portman (R-Oh.), "Should Republicans now have the open mind and the courage to maybe lose their jobs like President Bush did for the good of the country and at least say entering the conversation, 'We won't flatly, ideologically, reflexively rule out any tax increases?'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
JOHN KING, HOST: Senator Portman, you have a somewhat unique voice in this debate because you're in the Senate now. You served in the House. You were George W. Bush’s budget director. You also served as a policy adviser back in the day to George H.W. Bush. I want to take you back to that experience. Go back, imagine it's 1990 when George H.W. Bush brought Democrats, brought Republicans to Camp David, to Andrews Air Force base. Is our deficit debt crisis now worse than then or not as bad?
SENATOR ROB PORTMAN (R-OHIO): It's far worse. And it's far worse because of the fact that between Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, we currently have about a $100 trillion unfunded obligation going forward. That wasn’t the case then. Our deficit as a percentage of our economy was also lower and our debt, our national debt, was lower as a percent of the economy. So it's more difficult now for us to deal with the issue. It's also more important that we show leadership to do so. I would draw this interesting comparison because you mentioned the 1990 budget agreement and the risks that then President Bush took. If you recall that that came back to haunt him in the 1992 election campaign.
KING: He lost an election. Let me interrupt. Because he lost an election, the President of the United States who happened to be a Republican at the time broke his “Read my lips - no new taxes” pledge. And you’re right. There was a consequence to him. He lost the election. You could make an argument that Bill Clinton never would have balanced the budget were it not for the tax increase given to him by a Republican President George H.W. Bush.
Should Republicans now have the open mind and the courage to maybe lose their jobs like President Bush did for the good of the country and at least say entering the conversation “We won't flatly, ideologically, reflexively rule out any tax increases?”
The idiocy on display here boggles the mind.
First off, who is John King to say that raising taxes at this moment is "for the good of the country?"
An Associated Press poll released hours before King made this statement found "62 percent say they favor cutting government services to sop up the red ink. Just 29 percent say raise taxes."
As such, according to this AP poll, less than a third of Americans support higher taxes to balance the budget putting King in a very small minority.
Beyond this, claiming the budget would never have been balanced in the '90s without Bush 41's tax hike ignores that a Republican Congress forced Clinton to cut taxes in 1997, and that it was spending restraint along with non-recurring tax receipts associated with the tech stock bubble that led to that decade's eventual surpluses.
Honestly, have you ever heard anyone credit George H.W. Bush's tax hike for causing budget surpluses five years after he was out of office?
As for Republicans risking their jobs to support a tax increase, doesn't that mean their constituents in their respective states or districts would be opposed to such a move? The just-released AP poll suggests so.
With that in mind, Republicans doing such a thing would be going against the will of the people. Exactly why would they do that?
In reality, what King should have asked is, "Should Republicans now have the open mind and the courage to maybe lose their jobs like President Bush did for the good of Obama, Democrats, and people like me in the media who think that would be good for the country regardless of what the polls say?"
That's a question that makes much more sense.